Biscayne Park Village Commission Votes on Variance for Gates

In a decision that has garnered community interest, the Biscayne Park Village Commission voted on a variance application for the installation of manual driveway rolling gates at a recent meeting. The meeting delved into a range of topics, with the variance request dominating the discussions due to its implications for public safety and community aesthetics. The debate was nuanced, involving the weighing of the urgency of safety concerns against the potential impact on the village’s character.

The variance request was made by a homeowner identified as Simon Fidel, who cited the significant number of vehicles passing through Griffin Boulevard as a safety hazard and an impediment to the use of his property. Fidel’s request to install two manual driveway rolling gates was backed by detailed testimony, images of the property, and a narrative about the challenges posed by high traffic and trespassing. The applicant’s presentation aimed to provide an overview of the issues surrounding the variance, including safety, property rights, and public welfare considerations.

During the meeting, the commission conducted a quasi-judicial hearing where witnesses were sworn in. This process allowed for public input, with members of the community speaking in favor and against the application. The commission underscored the importance of basing their decision on substantial evidence related to the village’s code and not on generalized opposition.

Several residents voiced their support for the installation of gates on their properties, highlighting instances of feeling unsafe due to increased foot traffic and the potential risk of trespassers. One resident suggested the addition of speed bumps to mitigate traffic problems, while a personal injury litigation attorney emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety over aesthetic concerns.


Conversely, opposition to the variance brought up concerns about the precedent it might set within the community. Individuals argued that the gates could negatively affect the open, green character of the village and that traffic on Griffin should be considered without altering the frontage of properties. Concerns were also raised about the need for driveway gates and the potential liability to the village if a gate was denied and an accident occurred.

The Planning and Zoning Board provided insights into their decision-making process, discussing the balance between allowing reasonable use of the property and safeguarding substantial property rights without causing detrimental effects on public welfare.

The commission ultimately voted 3 to 1 against recommending the approval of the variance application. The discussion among the commissioners included alternative measures, such as placing a potted plant in the middle of the driveway, modifying the driveway layout, or closing one entrance on Griffin. They debated the implications of allowing a gate on one side of the property, with considerations of aesthetics and practicality.


In another matter, the commission addressed a variance request for a fence on Griffin Street. The core of the debate was whether the applicant had met the necessary criteria for variance approval. The discussion included skepticism over the urgency of the applicant’s situation, the appropriateness of a six-foot metal fence, and potential alternative solutions. Ultimately, a motion to approve a six-foot fence on Griffin Street was passed with a majority vote of 4-1.

The meeting also encountered a procedural hiccup when it was discovered that the public notice for a variance request for a swimming pool setback was incorrect. The commission deferred the hearing to ensure proper notice and to avoid potential legal challenges, despite the homeowner’s request for an expedited process.

The meeting concluded with a discussion on the organization of the agenda, emphasizing the need for separate public comments for each quasi-judicial hearing based on the village attorney’s recommendations. The commission voted to amend the agenda accordingly and adjourned following the resolution of agenda items.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Jonathan E. Groth
City Council Officials:
Veronica Amsler, , Art Gonzalez, , MacDonald Kennedy, , John Holland,

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