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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Why is the Parking Authority charging all these fees?

There's a little secret that goes on in Coconut Grove. It hurts many businesses.

What is it? The Parking Authority makes businesses rent parking spaces that don't exist. They actually decide how many spots a business is required to have and the business has to pay a fee each month as a waiver for the spots they don't have.

So in an urban setting, like the Grove, where there is not much parking, a restaurant is required to have parking spots, which of course don't exist. But to do business with the city, they have them pay a waiver fee based on the amount of spots they should have.

The requirement is something like one spot for each 300 square feet for food service places and one spot for each 100 square feet for other type businesses. Food service can eliminate some square footage with the kitchen area and places where customers don't go, like the bathrooms, storage, etc., but many don't know that and they are charged for total square footage. Either way, this is disturbing.

If a business wants outdoor tables, that is more money paid to the Parking Authority per month. And if the business does not want to pay the fee? Their occupational license is revoked.

They charge $240 per spot up front for the parking spots and then charge about $90 or more per spot per month. I feel as if Tony Soprano is running this operation, but our City Commission is in charge of the five member board of directors.

I know of two restaurants that are on the verge of going under because of these fees. When asked what they needed the money for, the Parking Authority told one restaurant "future projects." Are any of these projects the arts and cultural things they sponsor? You would be amazed where the money goes -- to festivals and things! Every restaurant owner that I asked said that they have no clue where the money goes and the Parking Authority is very vague about it when asked. They actually have the restaurants terrorized, and the restaurants are afraid to talk about it.

Why is the Parking Authority sponsoring festivals and things as if they are Budweiser or Verizon? You know I am all for the arts, but I am not in favor of the Parking Authority paying for it.

One restaurant actually has their own parking lot and they are being forced to purchase four more spots per month on the street out front.

One of my favorite restaurants is in danger of closing. They want them to rent 10 spots per month!
Comm. Marc Sarnoff told me he would have his office look into some of the issues regarding one restaurant that is being hounded, they may be able to help them with square footage issues and things like that.

I have contacted the Parking Authority and asked them to explain how this works, since I have only gotten the restaurant owners' side of the story. I have not received a response yet from the Parking Authority. Maybe I just don't understand it and maybe they need to do this for a reason. I'll let you know what they say when they get back with me.

That is one reason why the Roach Coach Lady is despised. She comes into town, scoops up a lot of business, has no rent to pay or employees or insurance or extortion to pay. And the restaurant owners are left paying for everything. It's amazing we have any restaurants around here at all.

Parking Authority responds here.

The Miami Parking Authority's Annual Report for 2008 is here.
Financial Reports are here.

Graphic by Harry Emilio Gottlieb for the Grapevine

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cristabals, may have spelled wrong, on Commodore Plaza had to pay $600,000.00, up front, cash. The Temple, on MarFarland, I may be off a little here, but I think it is about $1,300.00, monthly.

April 08, 2009 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Jobie Steppe said...

Perhaps now you can begin to appreciate why I tried to get into court so artist could sell their art on public property without having to pay fees and fill out permits and forms. This is why the galleries got together and put code enforcement on my case. To date this has cost the taxpayers $65,000.00, in attorney's fees. But, Code Enforcement has backed off wanting to avoid a court appearance, so hopefully us artist can earn some money without this extreme overhead.

April 08, 2009 11:23 AM  
Anonymous that guy said...

This is extortion in its purest form. It's just that it has been going on for so long, and the control is so absolute, that businesses have no choice in the matter. I know of several who struggle with this regularly and get nothing in return. How can the parking authority make businesses pay for spaces, then make the customers of those businesses pay to park there? It's a scam and needs to stop.

If anyone's ready to do something about this, I'm on board. The one good point that Jobie has regularly made is that the best way to get results in disputes with the city, is to sue them. Sounds to me like this is a perfect opportunity, because they will not stop on their own. The only way to effect this kind of change is to go at them directly.

Oh, and they will revoke your occupational license on the spot for failure to pay this, and send officers to ensure that your establishment is shut down. It happens.

April 08, 2009 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know whats interesting about the authority, they are not run by the city. They govern themselves with Noriega (spelling?) running the show.
With the new administration coming I think there will be big changes with the authority.

April 08, 2009 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A class action suit against the MPA by Grove Citizens for any number of reasons. 1. for the obvious 2. for funneling funds from the Grove to events that have nothing to do with the Grove. 3. dealing behind doors we do have a sunshine law 4. shabby maintenance of their facilities in the Grove 5. none compliance in regards to contractual agreements concerning the Grove.

April 08, 2009 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, its pretty ridiculous. I personally know that Temple pays about $3000 a month for the "spaces" that dont exist and hey have had trouble with the same issue.

April 08, 2009 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a class action lawsuit should be filed against the authority should be filed not because of the above reasons but because they way they manage themselves, new trucks every year. High raises and they give the city virtually no money.
And you bet this should be a city wide thing against them.

April 08, 2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grape, city code Nazi's will be cracking down on us for this exposure.

No Tony Soprano does not run the scam , it is super aggressive Arthur (Arturo) Noriega the 5th. First of all the "FEE" is illegal, it should be called a TAX. It is not a tax because they can no way in hell pass this type of scam through legislature without getting some legislators in to the action. Why share the pie when the in crowd can get away with it.

April 08, 2009 3:06 PM  
Blogger Pogonip said...

Businesses paying for parking spaces and not getting them should have a good basis for a lawsuit. "Future projects" doesn't fly, does it? That's pie in the sky.

You need parking to run a business, you're paying for it, and not getting it. That's wrong.

April 08, 2009 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That guy" is right. We're getting boned by the MPA but its been going on for so long and Miami citizens are so complacent with getting boned by the City that getting this to stop is going to be an extremely tough task. I, for one, have also had enough. If a class action suit is the way that we citizens can fix the situation then by all means Im hopeful that can happen and that I can be a part of it.

April 08, 2009 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Jobie Steppe said...

Luckily, my first wife was an attorney and left her law books with me, which I found interesting reading, literally. Code enforcement simply lied, for example called my art "debris" instead of art----which it may well be. 9 grown adults in the tribunal at city hall would not let me introduce documents or make statements in my defense and literally called the police and forced me out of the meeting and found me guilty. I sued, pro se and about one year later they have filed for 4 extentions and placed a $23,000.00, lien on my home. Now it's all working against them.
I've seen this from the inside or a law suit, court room and three judges have spoken and given code enforcement and their attorney's till the 28th of April or I win. Cost to date for the taxpayers is about $65,000.00. My complaint ask for $10-million. We can clean this mess up with one simple straight forward class action complaint for almost if not zero cost other than a filing fee. A real community action to get back our tax dollars.

April 11, 2009 7:16 PM  

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