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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Asleep at the job?

A friend complained to the City about illegal signage recently and he included me in the emails. It makes me question the competence of our city Zoning Department.

The case is about an illegal sign, advertising a condo. The sign is on South Bayshore Drive and the condo is a block away, back on the water. You cannot see the condo from the sign and one good reason is because the condo has not broken ground yet, but even so, even after it's built, you would not be able to see the sign from the condo and vice versa.

The developers purchased a house on the corner of South Bayshore Drive, just for the purpose of planting a sign out front to advertise their condo in the back. It started with a huge marble or stone sign dug deep into the ground, right on the front lawn. The sign was at least 6 feet x 3 feet. The neighborhood were incensed. After contacting the Zoning Dept. for quite awhile, the sign was finally removed. But it took effort. The zoning people would claim to come out and not see the sign. But you could not help but see the sign. I truly believe they just don't leave their offices to inspect complaints.

I have had this issue with potholes which I've reported to 311, using their app. I posted photos with the address and I would get a form letter every time saying they went out, could not find the potholes and the "case is closed." The Case is Closed! They don't follow up, they just close the case. They have done the same with these illegal signs.

Back to the house and sign - after the large 6 foot marble sign was finally removed, a smaller sign was placed, but that was removed because it was illegal. The developer has been claiming to zoning that it's a 30 day temporary sign, and rather than inspect it, zoning just takes their word. The 30 days signs could be the type you use to sell houses or advertise a political candidate.

Now there is a "for sale" sign on the property, the type you would see on properties being sold, only they are allowed for 30 days and they must be on the property that is being sold. But this sign has been up for months and it is on the house property, a block from the actual property it is advertising. Imagine if I was selling my house and I had a sign on the lawn of all of my neighbors pointing to my house, sort of like a garage sale sign, but only permanent.

My friend has been going back and forth with zoning and they have used the same excuses as they always have - "the inspector went out and did not see anything." I think if they really would go out and open their eyes, they would see things.

My friend received an email and it said something to the effect, "We will go out and measure the sign to see if it conforms to Miami21." The issue was the illegal placement and the length of time that it is there, not the size of the sign. That's when I got involved, I really laid into the City in that email string, but it just frustrated me to see that they use the same excuse on every complaint - "No such thing." As if we are seeing things and when they arrive, the thing is not there. To be honest, the sign does not bother me, what bothers me is when they return emails that say, "There is nothing there." Every email comes back saying that. Every. Single. Time.

One time I literally had to print out a Google map of a pothole and put a big red X on the spot. That may have helped. I guess it did, the pothole is fixed. But I'm sure many cars were ruined until they city got their act together and fixed it. There are two right now on a street I drive through often. Big ones, both about 1 foot wide x 1/2" foot deep. Two right next to each other. I reported it Monday, let's see how long it takes for them to be fixed.

Here is an image of the potholes. If you hit these hard while driving, they will do damage.




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