As kiteboarding grows in popularity, Miami Beach proposes rules to regulate the sport

“What we want to do is to continue to let this very much growing activity flourish,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored the legislation. Samuelian said the new rules were developed with input from local kiteboarders to “make sure this wonderful activity happens in a way that is not disruptive.” The proposed rules passed unanimously during an initial vote in September.

November 13, 2018 | Miami Herald | As kiteboarding grows in popularity, Miami Beach proposes rules to regulate the sport

519 ft Tower for 500 Alton Road Passes First Reading

Instead, they were more interested in the other components of the agreement such as size of the park and the hotel use. Planning Director Tom Mooney said City staff believed nine hotel units “is much more manageable” than the Planning Board’s recommendation of 60 units or 20% of total units whichever is less.  Prior to second reading, he said staff could get “an idea of what the operation of those units will be.” Gelber and Commissioners John Alemán and Ricky Arriola said they would support well defined “amenity units” with Alemán suggesting a provision that the number couldn’t increase over time. The other four members of the Commission, Mark Samuelian, Micky Steinberg, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, and Michael Góngora said they opposed any hotel uses so, for now, the provision was not included.

November 17, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | 519 ft Tower for 500 Alton Road Passes First Reading

Crime in Miami Beach: Is Perception Reality?

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said, “First, I believe that this perception of increased crime – and I think we’re all on the same page – is a serious concern. People have to feel safe and we’re getting more of this than we like. That’s why we need to do something and I think what the Chief laid out is a potential path forward.”

He acknowledged the UCR crime data which consists of victim reported violent crimes is down double digits, a rate that is “almost identical to Miami and Florida.” While he said, “one is too many,” he noted the “serious reported crimes are down but we’re also hearing more from the community.”

“I think the focus on the Entertainment District and Ocean Drive is appropriate,” Samuelian said. He echoed Rosen Gonzalez that he didn’t want to take officers from other areas but said, “I like many of the ideas that I heard.”

November 3, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Crime in Miami Beach: Is Perception Reality?

Mayor Names New Panel on Ocean Drive

Mark Samuelian, the other Commissioner named to the group, has spent a lot of time focusing on Ocean Drive since his election along with Gelber. “I’m really excited about what we’re doing on Ocean Drive and where we’re heading and I think this Panel is going to be a very important contributor. I think it’s fair to say that what we want to do is really enhance the overall experience and environment on Ocean Drive.”

Samuelian also cited progress including the adoption of his menu ordinance requiring disclosure of restaurant meal and drink pricing prominently displayed. “That has really, I think, begun to elevate the game of some of the operators. Some of the operators with problems with customer service are no longer operating or are not operating with sidewalk cafés,” he said.

He also noted the off-duty police program operated in conjunction with the Ocean Drive businesses for a pilot period, the recent noise ordinances sponsored by Gelber, and the plans for the Business Improvement District.

“All those things are steps in the right direction,” Samuelian said, “but I still think we have more to do.” The new panelists, he said, will consider ideas that have been considered before as well as “some new ideas about how do we take Ocean Drive and bring it back to its glory,” a place where tourists have a good experience and that residents want to frequent.

Like Arriola, he noted the potential of the G.O. Bond to infuse significant investment into the area to upgrade the infrastructure and improve public safety.

“I think Ocean Drive really is the heart of Miami Beach in a lot of ways. It’s certainly the place that’s recognized, that a lot of people come to. I recognize the importance of it.” That said, Samuelian added, “I was not comfortable with the experiences that certain customers were having. I saw it with my own eyes and ears. I heard it. And I saw it online and I was not comfortable… We have a lot of good operators on Ocean Drive but I think it’s fair to say we had some bad apples.”

November 2, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Mayor Names New Panel on Ocean Drive