Keys Airport to Get $750,000 Federal Grant

Monroe County's Marathon Airport will receive a $750,000 federal grant to improve air service, the Department of Transportation and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's office announced Thursday.

The money comes from the federal Small Community Air Service Development Program, which is doling out $19 million nationwide to help 68 small communities in 29 states.

The grant will be used to encourage Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines to use the airport as a connection to other major airports, said Ros-Lehtinen, who worked with Sens. Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez in supporting the airport's grant application.

CORAL GABLES SPECIAL ZONING WORKSHOP PLANNED

Proposed changes in the Coral Gables zoning map have caused enough of a stir that city commissioners have decided not to schedule a public hearing on the issue and instead opted for a special workshop to analyze the impact they would have.

Mayor Don Slesnick went so far as to suggest that proposed revisions -- at least where the change creates more density -- are not in line with the elected leaders' intentions.

As part of the city's rewrite of the zoning code, the planning and zoning board earlier this month recommended that the city commission approve dozens of proposed changes to the zoning map to make it consistent with the land use plan, as required by state law.

In some areas, those changes would increase the density on the zoning map -- which raised flags on the commission.

Commissioners still may decide to have a public hearing on Sept. 27, but said they wanted to have the workshop before then.

The city is finalizing the rewrite and Planning Director Eric Riel has scheduled three meetings next month to address the rest of the articles that have either been deferred or unresolved. They include parking and driveway requirements, landscaping standards, signage and political signs, trucks, affordable housing and the North Ponce master plan.

COCONUT GROVE MIAMI'S V-DAY PLANNED OCT. 27

The expression ''V-Day'' is commonly associated with cherubs and hearts. But about four years ago, the V took on a new meaning.

Inspired by Eve Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues, V-Day became a global movement to stop violence against women and increase awareness about women's rights.

This year, Miami's V-Day will take place Oct. 27, with a production of Ensler's play read by prominent local women, including County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, Haitian-American activist Marleine Bastien and Hunter Reno.

The event will benefit Casa Valentina, a local project spearheaded by the Women's Fund of Miami-Dade County to create affordable housing for young women who age out of the foster care system.

Wednesday night, activists will gather for an event kick-off party at the Oxygen Lounge in Coconut Grove. Admission is free, and there will be a raffle and a preview of the play.

MIAMI BEACH PUBLIC HEARING ON HOMELESS FACILITY

Residents opposed to a facility that will serve the formerly homeless in North Beach will get a chance to express their views in a public hearing.

At the end of a contentious meeting held Monday at the North Beach Youth Center auditorium, Carrfour Supportive Housing agreed to apply for a conditional-use permit for its Harding Village development, to be located at the old Paradise Hotel at 8540 Harding Ave.

The old motel will be converted into 92 single-room occupancies with 74 of those units reserved for individuals who previously lived on the streets of Miami Beach.

Many residents have expressed anger that the agency had slipped through the cracks by avoiding the conditional-use permit because services would not be provided on-site. The permit requires a hearing before the city's Planning Board.

At the end of the meeting, Carrfour's attorney, Carter N. McDowell, said that, as a gesture of goodwill, Carrfour would apply for a conditional use permit, which will allow it to offer services on the site rather than just provide housing.

No date has been for the Planning Board hearing that is part of the conditional-use process, but it is expected to take place at the end of September.

DORAL EXPRESSWAY TOYOTA TO RELOCATE

A household name in the South Florida automotive industry is moving from its longtime location in West Miami-Dade to a new facility in Doral.

During a Doral City Council meeting Wednesday, Expressway Toyota presented site plans for a new location, along Northwest 12th Street and 97th Avenue, an area known as ''dealership row.'' The Toyota dealership is currently located at 150 NW 79th Ave., near Mall of the Americas.

Council members unanimously approved plans for the project.

The proposed building will sit on a 9.4-acre site within the International Corporate Park.

MIAMI GARDENS ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER NAMED

Former Tallahasee lobbyist Renee Farmer is the new assistant city manager in Miami Gardens.

Last week, City Manager Danny Crew appointed Farmer, 28, as his newest assistant city manager, joining the current team of Horace McHugh and Christoper Steers. And she says she's thrilled about building on the two-year-old-plus city.

As part of her portfolio, Farmer will help oversee municipal departments such as police and public safety, parks and recreation, and the city's future housing program, replacing William Green who left in the spring to work as a consultant in real estate development, Crew said.

Some key projects for farmer will include a HUD plan and a study of the police department, whose interlocal, three-year contract will expire in December 2007.

Miami Herald




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