FYI Miami: December 10, 2020
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
OUTDOOR DINING EXTENDED: Coral Gables restaurants and businesses will be able to continue using vacant lots, parking lots and relaxed outdoor dining options through June 15. Originally set to expire Jan. 15, the city commission on Tuesday extended the date to create economic opportunities for businesses impacted by the pandemic. Along with the extension, special event permits that provide a streamlined process for approval have also been extended to June 15. Restaurants wish to continue to take advantage of this opportunity, said Mayor Raul Valdés-Fauli, who is being treated for the virus. “We are doing everything possible for our businesses by granting our city manager the authority to relax current standards during these difficult times,” he said.
DINING AL SIDEWALK: A Miami Beach pilot program that allows restaurants with city approval to expand outdoor seating onto public rights-of-way could be extended until next March 31 if commissioners pass the consent-agenda item this week. The program, which began in May as a response to the pandemic and allows restaurants to mitigate the loss of indoor seating, has already been extended once and is currently set to expire Dec. 31.
CONSTRUCTION DECLINE CUSHIONED: The value of new construction begun in South Florida was down 10% in October, a decline cushioned by a 63% increase in nonresidential construction even while residential construction starts, which accounted for two-thirds of new construction, fell 46%. For the first 10 months of this year, total construction starts have fallen 27% in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties area. Over those 10 months, nonresidential start values are down 35% from the same period of 2019 while residential starts are off 30%. The total value of all new starts in the region this year now exceeds $10.8 billion.
TOWING TABS: A resolution on the Miami Beach City Commission’s agenda this week will ask staff to use “all available means” to ensure that the two towing companies that operate in the city, Tremont Towing Inc. and Beach Towing Services Inc., begin accepting credit and debit cards as payment. According to the resolution, the city has waived competitive bidding agreements in favor of these contractors for nearly 25 years, and in October nonprofit Miami Beach Union adopted a resolution urging the city to ensure “transparency and fairness” when it comes to towing services, including accepting cards as payment in addition to cash. “No one loves to get towed,” Commissioner Mark Samuelian told Miami Today, and residents and tourists alike can get stuck if they’re not carrying enough cash to get their car back.