City hall bars a Christmas tree sale
By Meisha Perrin
An Oktoberfest and a Christmas tree sale are for the moment banned in Brickell because the target area around 1001 S Miami Ave. is suffering from event fatigue, according to city Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
His concerns prompted Miami's commissioners last week to bypass a resolution to waive the limit on events for the property in the heart of Brickell's nightlife area.
Besides, Mr. Sarnoff complained, commissioners should never have had a shot at discussing the issue without his prior approval because the area is in his territory.
The resolution by the department of planning and zoning would have allowed for various events on the property beginning Sept. 15 and ending Dec. 31, to the tune of two events allowed per business per year.
It would not, however, according to zoning administrator Barnaby Min, automatically have approved all permits: each still would have had to be reviewed case by case. It would simply have waived the timeframe to allow the property to actually apply, he said.
For the district commissioner, however, the fact that the resolution was placed on the agenda without his recommendation was just as much a concern to him as the area's supposed event fatigue.
"Why is it that we are bringing this in front of a full commission, when the district commissioner has not even suggested it might be a good idea?" Mr. Sarnoff asked during the meeting.
But according to Mr. Min, the department did reach out to Mr. Sarnoff's office and was directed to speak with Chief of Police Manuel Orosa to get an idea of his concerns — concerns that included street closures, redirecting traffic and how events affect the restaurants that are not part of the event.
Without a resolution in place, the property wouldn't be able to apply for any event whatsoever, some of which include an Oktoberfest and the sale of Christmas trees, Mr. Min said. And with the support of the Chief Orosa, the department felt comfortable placing the resolution on the commission agenda.
"I don't want to stand in the way of anybody's Christmas tree at all," Mr. Sarnoff said. But "how can I get my hesitancy taken away from me?"
The property has already had two events this year, but would like other events in October and November, according to supporting documents.
While businesses are entitled to some event closures, Mr. Sarnoff said, he just doesn't feel they should be entitled to an unlimited number.
"I feel like what we have in place is correct."
Taking no action on the resolution means it's not approved and, unless it's placed on another agenda, won't be approved.
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