Highland Beach Commission Approves Key Property Variance

The Highland Beach Town Commission meeting encompassed several topics, with the approval of a variance request for a property split being a primary focus. The commission also discussed important updates on the fire rescue implementation, building department recertification, and the contentious Milani Park project, along with deliberations on environmental resolutions, parking challenges, and public concerns regarding contractor representation and HOA issues.

In a unanimous decision that marks a notable change to the local real estate landscape, the commission approved a variance application by Frank and Laura Torano for the creation of a lot with a minimum lot width of 68.6 feet, less than the required 80 feet, for a single-family dwelling in the residential multi-family low-density zoning district. The town planner, Ingred Allen, presented the background and details of the application, mentioning that the Board of Adjustment and Appeals had recommended approval of the variance. Allen also discussed the variance criteria and responses provided by Laura Torano. The commission did not have any questions following Allen’s presentation, and the meeting continued without any further public comments received on this agenda item.

The project’s approval came with a sense of urgency as the deadline for the commission or Mr. Rubin to give consent was set for Friday. Missing this deadline would have delayed the parcel split by another year. This decision will likely pave the way for further property developments within the town.

Another major development discussed at the meeting was the progress report on the construction of the fire station. The fire chief shared updates on the fire station’s construction progress, which included the installation of an elevator, paving of the north parking lot, and the completion of interior work. The staffing positions were almost fully filled, leaving only three vacancies. The purchase of emergency vehicles and equipment was also in progress. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new facility was scheduled.

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The building department’s recertification program update was also a point of attention. It was reported that 42 buildings were due for Milestone inspections, out of which three had received their certifications. The department was making concerted efforts to review and process the remaining reports, with some buildings requiring resubmission due to missing or incorrect verbiage. Furthermore, the department was taking measures to address non-responsive associations through code cases and direct communication.

The Milani Park project remained a issue, with the mayor set to meet with the County Commissioners to discuss the town commission’s vision for the park and to understand each commissioner’s stance. The commission’s primary focus was on selling the property and reinvesting the proceeds into projects of public purpose. During the meeting, discussions and public comments highlighted the town’s opposition to the park project, concerns about misrepresentation of the town’s position, and the need for better communication and understanding with the county. Residents voiced their opposition to the park and their disappointment in the representation of the town’s position, while others stressed the importance of safety, preservation, and traffic issues related to the proposed park.

On the environmental front, the commission deliberated on a proposal for a resolution supporting the use of tethered bottle caps to reduce beach litter. This initiative was inspired by similar legislation in the European Union and was aimed at alleviating environmental concerns regarding bottle caps littering the beach. The commission weighed the potential environmental benefits against the impact on recycling and the practicality of implementing such measures.

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Parking challenges were also addressed, with discussions on the potential loss of parking spaces due to construction and the consideration of multi-level parking structures as a solution. The commission evaluated the costs and practicality of constructing such facilities, highlighting the need for a strategic approach to managing parking needs.

The topic of noise pollution and environmental preservation came up with the commission considering the mandate of electric leaf blowers and lawnmowers. The potential benefits of such a policy were discussed in terms of reducing noise levels and environmental impact.

Public feedback during the meeting included concerns about an HOA talk link and issues related to Becker and POA. A community member urged the commission to review the information provided and sought reconsideration of the commission’s judgment for improved relations.

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The commission also tackled the subject of contractor representation in the Surfside settlement, with suggestions to review all contractors as part of the recertification process being met with resistance. Nonetheless, the commission unanimously approved the authorization to negotiate with the top five ranked firms for continuing professional consulting services, showing a commitment to maintaining high standards for town projects.

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.

Mayor:
Natasha Moore
City Council Officials:
David Stern, Evalyn David, Judith Goldberg, Don Peters

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