Barbara K. Bisno, Esq.

1000 Venetian Way, #603 Miami, Florida 33139
Telephone: 3053742566 Facsimile: 3053742564 Email:

January 24, 2012

BY HAND The Honorable Tomas P. Regalado Mayor City of Miami 3500 Pan American Drive Coconut Grove, FL 33133 Re: Miami City Commission Agenda Item FR.2 on January 26, 2012 Dear Mayor Regalado: First, all the best to you, your family and City colleagues in this New Year and well beyond. Second, I write with grave concerns regarding the above-referenced ordinance, which is scheduled for first reading during this Thursday's City Commission meeting. I have attached a copy (marked "A") for your convenience. Given the City's persistent history of "authorizing" the unlawful erection/ installation and operation of signs (in exchange for payment of significant sums of money to the City by a litany of sign companies) that manifestly violate the governing regulations of our community - contained in the Sign Code of Miami-Dade County - I hope that you fully understand and appreciate my concerns: 1. The ordinance as drafted is remarkably vague. It "authorizes" permits for signs at certain, unnamed City-owned venues. But there is no reference to, or acknowledgment of, the very many rules and regulations already existing for all kinds of signs; as in, height, spacing, setback, hours of illumination, programmability, and so forth. As constructed, this very broad "authorization"

creates enormous opportunity Code ..

for mischief and further violations of the Sign

2. The Agenda Item Summary Form, a copy of which I have attached (marked "B") for your convenience, offers a rationale for this ordinance: "To mitigate the effects of the dire economic situation, and assist City-owned venues ... 11 This is as scary as it is plainspoken. Once again, it appears the City wishes to convert public lands and buildings into money-making ventures by partnering with sign companies. (See, for example, prior approvals for companies to install billboards in City parks.) I am reminded of a front-page Miami Today article last September 15, a copy of which I have attached (marked "C") for your convenience, regarding the proposed installation of a programmable sign on the venerable Gusman Theater in downtown Miami, similar to the media mesh already illegally installed on the County-owned American Airlines Arena. It would seem that Thursday's ordinance and last September's Miami Today article are absolutely aligned with one another. I also have attached (marked "D") a cogent letter to Miami Today's editor, published last September 22, explaining why the programmable sign proposed for the Gusman Theater would violate at least two provisions of the governing Sign Code. 3. For your further convenience, I have attached a copy (marked "E") of the 10 minimum criteria for a programmable sign to be legal anywhere in Miami-Dade County, including the City of Miami. These regulations were adopted in 1994 by ordinance amendment to the County Sign Code, and these regulations continue to be the governing law for programmable signs everywhere in the County. I have highlighted the two provisions referenced in last September's letter to Miami Today's editor. 4. Because opportunities for the public to be heard during Miami City Commission meetings, regarding sign regulations and the rampant violations, are so severely restricted, let me take this opportunity to be clear about the applicability of the County Sign Code to the City of Miami. There seems to be more than a little confusion at your end, with many of your City colleagues insisting that County sign regulations no longer apply to the City of Miami. Nothing could be further from the truth. The County Sign Code applies countywide pursuant to the County's Home Rule Charter powers. It contains seven divisions. Division 5 prohibits commercial signage (such as billboards and murals) in proximity to expressways. In June 2007, the County Commission amended the Sign Code to allow municipalities to

opt out only from Division 5. The City of Miami did so in September 2009. All of the other six divisions of the Sign Code continued in full force and effect within the City of Miami, as well as in every other municipality in the County. For your convenience, I have attached a copy of a letter (marked "F") written to me on February 17, 2011 - after the City of Miami opted out of Division 5 - by the director of the County's Planning and Zoning Department, the final arbiter of the Sign Code and its application. I have highlighted portions of the text most contrary to those who wrongly assert that the City of Miami is fully liberated from the County Sign Code and/ or assert that the many programmable LED billboard faces "authorized" by the City Commission in recent years are legal they most certainly are not. 5. More recently, County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro introduced an ordinance seeking to amend the County Sign Code to allow - in the future - municipalities to shed virtually all County sign rules ... a concept that many of your City colleagues wrongly assert is already the law today. Commissioner Barreiro's ordinance, a copy of the relevant portion of which (marked "G") is attached for your convenience, would have mandated only the protections of Division 6 (Metrorail transit zone) and Division 7 (South Miami-Dade Busway) be continued within municipalities; otherwise, cities could opt out of all of the requirements of Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 - just as they already can opt out of Division 5. Remarkably, the ordinance died a stunning and public death last July 13 when not a single one of his commissioner colleagues on the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee (INLUC) would second Commissioner Barreiro's motion for approval. For your further convenience, I have attached a copy (marked "H") of an email issued by the Office of County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, in response to constituent inquiries regarding the effect of the rare lack of a second to Commissioner Barreiro's motion at INLUC. That email communication accurately reported that Divisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 continue to apply - fully and completely - to every city within the County. The Miami Herald's coverage of that INLUC meeting, a copy of which is attached (marked "1") for your convenience, also got it right ... and, yet again, sadly ticked off the many ways that the City of Miami's chronic bad behavior regarding outdoor advertising has raised the ire of local, state and even federal officials. Mr. Mayor, you may not make legal by municipal action on Thursday that which is illegal by the still-governing Sign Code of Miami-Dade County. Please stop the foolishness. My best regards. 3


Barbara K. Bisno 1000 Venetian Way #603 Miami, Florida 33139 7863904134 Attachments cc: The Hon. Francis Suarez, Chairman, Miami City Commission The Hon. Marc D. Sarnoff, Vice Chairman, Miami City Commission The Hon. Frank Carollo, Member, ~~~it)!: Co.IIUUission The Hon. MicheUe Spence-Jones, Member, Miami City Commission The Hon. Wifredo "Willy" Gort, Member, Miami City Corrunission Mr. Johnny Martinez, P.E., City Manager Julie O. Bru, Esq., City Attorney The Hon. Carlos A. Gimenez, Mayor, Miami-Dade County Mr. Jack Osterholt, Deputy County Mayor Mr. Charles Danger, Director, County Permitting, Envirorunent and Regulatory Affairs Department Robert A. Cuevas, [r., Esq., County Attorney Craig Coller, Esq. Assistant County Attorney Thomas Robertson, Esq., Assistant County Attorney Ms. Myriam Marquez, Editorial Page Editor, TIle Miami Herald Ms. Martha Brannigan, Staff Writer, The Miami Herald Ms. Patricia Mazzei, Staff Writer, The Miami Herald Mr. Charles Rabin, Staff Writer, The Miami Herald Mr. Andres Viglucci, Staff Writer, The Miami Herald Mr. Michael Lewis, Publisher, Miami Today Ms. Jacquelyn Weiner, Staff Writer, Miami Today Mr. Tim Elfrink, New Times Ms. Beatriz Baldan William D. Brinton, Esq. Mr. Greg Bush MurrayH. Dubbin, Esq. Mr. Peter Ehrlich Ms. Barbara Falsey


Mr. Herb Frank
Ms. Sallye Jude Mr. Nathan Kurland Mr. Ernest Martin William S. Pollak, Esq. Ms. Grace Solares


File Number: 12-00030

illuminated. The permit shall be reviewed and approved by the city manager or hislher designee and the structure shall be integrated in ·the architecture, as determined by the director of the department of planning and consistent with the operation of the underlying venue.





Section 3. If any section, part of section, paragraph, clause, phrase or word of this Ordinance is declared invalid, the remaining provisions of this Ordinance shall not be affected. Section 4. This Ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days after final reading and adoption thereof.{2} APPROVED AS TO FORM AND CORRECTNESS:


{1} Words and figures stricken through shall be deleted. Underscored words and figures shall be added. The remaining portions are now in effect and remain unchanged. Asterisks indicate omitted and unchanged material. {2} This Ordinance shall become effective as specified herein unless vetoed by the Mayor within ten (10) days from the date it was passed and adopted. .If the Mayor vetoes this Ordinance, it shall become effective immediately upon override of the veto by the City Commission or upon the effect date stated herein, whichever is later.

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City 01Miami

Page 2 012

File Id: 12·00030 (JleTSlon: lJ Printed On: 1/1312012

AGENDA FILE ID: Date: QlILQ/2012 Requesting



Public Facilities District Impacted: Citywide


Commission Meeting Date: Ql/~12012


Lnw Department
Matter ID No.


D Resolution

(gJ Ordinance

D Emergency


0 Discussion


o Other __
Subject: Ordinance Amending Chapter 2lArticle rx by Adding Se~tion 2-779 Purpose ofItcm: An Ordinance of the Miami City Commission amending Chapter 2IAlticle IX of the Code of the City of Miami, Florida, as amended, entitled "Administration/City-Owned Property, more particularly by adding Section 2~779, entitled "Signs on City-Owned Property;" containing a repealer provision and a severability clause; furth~r providing for an effective date,



Budget Impact: AnaJysis

Is this item an expenditure? If so, please identify funding source below,
General.Account No: Special Revenue Account No: Project No: Is this item funded by Homeland Defense/Netghborhcod -





Start Up Capital Cost: Maintenance Cost: Total Fiscal Impact: Final Approvals

Cll' Grants


Budget_- __ ~~~ .



!flJ,l;"1l or "'.~~~.


D ept, Director-=~r_--"""'-::-f-7'1"_''i'-:-City M !lunger-I--': >'-O'1F.=.:;.~41I~~'-.,.,....:·.;...- .....:.._' __ ·~
Page 1 ofl



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Advertising screen may wrap front of Gusman .

headed for new management Oct. I when, after much delay, the City of Miami is to hand over operations to nonprofit trust Olympia Center Inc., founder Herman Echevarria said in an interview last week. Before Mr. Echevarria stepped forward, the Gusman faced possible closure after Miami ended its $478,000 subsidy of operations for fiscal 20 II. "That pl ace is an institution," Mr. Echevarria said. "Closing it down, I think, is a disgrace." The Olympia Theater opened in 1926 as a venue - for silent films and' vaudevi lle, remaining a popular venue through the late 1950s. It was saved from destruction a first time in the early 19705. by philanthropist Maurice Gusman, who donating it to Miami in 19.75. Its future was again threatened with the


city's move to cut funding. Then in March, Miami commissioners OK'd tum ing oyer managemen the 01 y rnpia trust, which plans 10 fund the facility in part via 50 trustees pledging $10,000 for five years. However, Ms ..Echevarria insisted the trust take a ver wi thou t a fisca I 20 I ! deft ci t now estimated at $400,000. ln a letter publ i shed in Miami Today Sept. I, Miami Mayor Tomas Regaladocalled Mr. Echevarria's insistence that the trust not inherit debt "fair," adding "We plan to fulfill the request," Mr. Regalado did not respond to multiple interview requests. Mr. Echevarria said he couldn't say how the city would pay for it. Once management changes hands, Mr. Echevarria plans to begin phasing in ideas aimed at. generating revenue and ensuring the theater's long-term survival. "J'm trying to find [revenue sources] that are forever," Mr. Echevarria said. Among.his planS.:,_ ..--,-. .To Install a screG:'l'il visible from he E.tll'~'d~ 111 j sib'le ft'Oo} wi th}n .tbe bhealer bllt v slInil,ar 10 tl:Hlt,Jt the AmemcanAlrl me a;,ren~ A samRlejmag-e s)lOv@,..the screen eEJ\mr

Ing tllree JiloClr~DuLaQJIt:aJly'. II's estimated to cost $1.6 million, Mr. Echevarria said. Images shmlll'l on th~ screen would be used as a marKeting tool for theater performa nee s, inc Iud ing broadcasts of shows . ha J:!ening inside. It Gould a:ls1'.l di, Ja a(J\l-ertisemenfs. IIJAttracdng visitors downtown with cial events, closing off traffic to streets near' I the Gusman for art shows and concerts . • Operating three buses 6 p.m.-2 a.m, ! or.3 a .. ., shuttling visitors-to downtown m MIamI and the Gusman from nearby parking facilities and Brickell, Bayside Market- ' place and Midtown . • Selling building sponsorship rights, allowing the theater to be named after a corporation with a lO·year contract. Mr. Echevarria said a price hasn't been set. .Converting the affordable hOUSIng units above the theater - after pending legal action is resolved - into a boutique hotel or artists' studios. . -Giving the Gusman's lounge an up- . sea le revamp. "I envision that corner [where the G lisman sits], in a way, sort of I ike a mini Times Square."





Miami Today is ~n independent voice of the community, published weekly at 710 Brickell Avenue, Miami, Florida 33131. Telephone {305} 358-2663

This proposed monstrosity may very increase the number of jobs in America, well violate other provisions of the gov- try this. erning law, the county's sign code. But 1. The housing/mortgage problem two major violations should be enough to 'must be solved. Why not have the govshelve this very bad plan. We shall see. ernment reward banks that will reduce Eston "Dusty" Melton the principal on existing mortgages, allowing the owners to remain in their homes and therefore continuing a cash flow a the bank. 2. Remove tax loopholes for both Listening carefully to President individuals and corporations, reducing Obama's presentation of the American Jobs Act before a.Joint Session of Con- tax rates as well, thereby creating a and fair system that will gress, I was amazed to see sitting in the transparent balcony, as a guest of. the First Lady, most likely increase revenue for the with most Americans Jeffrey Immelt. Mr. Immelt is not only government, the CEO of General Electric but the head agreeing to this change in our tax strucof the President's Job Council, whose ture. 3. Penalize US corporations that send role is to increase the number of jobs in jobs overseas and reward those that America. The irony here is that Mr.Immelt has invest in manufacturing jobs right here moved 20% of GE jobs to China and is in the good-ole USA with a tax-free now prepared to move the aviation divi- break for at least a ten-year period. Those new jobs will pay taxes to offset sion there as well. I f you want to reduce our debt and the loss from the corporations plus allowing the pricing of the products to , compete with foreign offerings. Roger Shatanof

rniarn Itodaynevvs.



Try a three-point jobs act


N"",... AdvellJsing
Classllioos SLIt=ripliooS Reprints

To contact us:
(30S) 358-2663 (05)3Sg..100S (30S) 356-1008, (305) 358.266:3 (305) 358·2683

Edit", Bnd Publish., I Mlch"el Lowls \f<ccPresOdentlC,llnnon Bolancourt·Lowlu


• a I L CIiii 1:- C'"

MIAMI TODAY (15511: 0889-2295) Is published weokly rDr S120 per veer: ulrmall: 10 EUlOPO $0190per year. thO'Amoricna 51110per year, Pubtlsl'\~tI by TOd3)1lintorpri"'Ot;! Inc., 7'0 Bflcl(:oUAvonue. ~.llamJ. FIDrida 33131·2610, USA. Periodlc.l. poslago pold Miami. FL. POSTMASTER: Sond oddr ... Chango, 10 MIAMI TODAY. 710 8RICKElL AVE. MIAMI. Fl 33131·2610.


'§ 3~-96


(3) Any signs which use the word "stop" or "danger" or imply the need or requirement of stopping, or which are copies or imitations of official. signs. Red, green or amber Cor any color combination thereof) revolving or flashing light giving the jmpression of a police or caution light shall be prohibited.

chasing or rotating lights are prohibited. Signs may be illuminated by exposed bulbs, fluorescent tubes, interior lighting, or by indirect lighting from any external source. Indirect lighting, such as floodlights, shall not shine directly on adjacent property, motorists or pedestrians. Illumination shall be such that it will provide reasonable illumination and eliminate glare and intensity


which might pose safety hazards to drivers and
pedestrians. Revolving and rotating signs shall be illuminated by internal lighting only. (Ord. No. 85-59, § 2, 7-18-85; Ord, No. 94-99, § 1, 5-17-94)


Sec. 33·96.1. Automatic signs.




Subject to the following mandatory conditions, Automatic Electric Changing Signs ("ACS"), shall be permitted in EU and lU districts, seaports, airports, sports stadiums, racetracks, and other similar uses as follows:

With the exception of airports or seaports, the subject ACS shall be located only on a major or minor roadway as depicted on the adopted Comprehensive. Development Master Plan Land Use Plan map, A detached ACS shall be surrounded by a minimum of twenty-five (25) square feet of landscaped area. A plan indicating such landscape area shall be submitted to the Director at the time of building permit application. The content of the ACS shall be limited solely to the promotion of products or services offered 0.0. the premises. The only fixed message shall be the name of the company possessing a valid Certificate of Use and Occupancy for the subject premises. The applicant for an ACS shall file of record a declaration of use, on a form prescribed and approved by the Director, which will govern the operation of the ACS and contain. penalties for abatement and removal of the ACS for violations of the declaration of use and the provisions 2, 5-17-94; Ord. No. 95-21S, § 1,



An ACS shall conform to all sIgn size, placement, setback, and quantity limitations as provided elsewhere in this chapter and shall comply with all building code requirements. Incandescent lampslbulbs in excess of 9 watts are prohibited in an ACS. Incandescent lampslbulbs in an ACSshall not be exposed but shall be covered by a translucent lenses or filters.




Cd) An ACS shall be equipped with an. automatic operational night dimming device. (e) The following operating modes are prohibited:

Flash - the condition created by displaying the same message intermittently by turning it 00. and off, on and off, with rapidity, or any other delivery mode that creates a flashing effect. Zoom - the look or condition created by expanding a message from a central point to its full size,

(0. rd.N~§ 12-S-9~,

Sec. 33-97. Maintenance

of signs.

(a) [R.equired.] All signs shall be properly main-


-tained in a safe and legible condition at all times.
In the event that a use having a sign. is discontinued for a period of forty-five (45) days, all signs

Supp. No. 20



and Zoning

Carlos Alvarez, Mayor

111 NW 1st Street > Suite 1210 Miami, Florida 33128-1902 T 305-375-2800

Ms. Barbara K. Bisno, Esq. 1000 Venetian Way, #603 Miami, Florida 33139 RE: American Airlines Arena Signage and Digita! Billboards Ms. Bisno, We are in receipt of your letter dated December 17, 2010 related to the digital sign installed on the west wall of the American Airlines Arena and digital billboards along expressways. Our interpretation of the issues remains consistent with the findings of my letter to you dated October 26,2010. The following summarizes my assessment of this matter: Regarding the American Airlines Arena (AM) Media Mesh The sign is permitted under the regulations for Automatic Electric Changing Signs (ACS), as outlined in Section 33-96.1 of the County's Sign Code. As outlined in the letter from County Attorney Robert Cuevas, the sign content is restricted to on-site activities, promotions and products allowing the sign to be classified as a Class B (point-of-sale) sign. Pursuant to Section 33-82 of the County Code, the City of Miami is responsible for enforcement of the County's Sign Code provisions within its boundaries. The ACS regulations were adopted during a time when incandescent lighting was the predominant technology but they do not preclude the use of more modern technology such as light-emitting diode (LED). The American Airlines Arena meets the locational requirements for an ACS sign; it is located on an 11.02-acre site with frontage along a major roadway. The AAA Media Mesh meets the code requirements (size, height, etc.) for ACS signs outlined in Section 33-96.1 of the County Code. Regarding Digital Billboards Sign Code regulates signs along expressway's protected

Page 2 February 17, 2011 American Airlines Arena Signage and Digital Billboards

If you have additional questions about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Joni Armstrong-Coffey, Assistant County Attomey Alex Munoz, Assistant County Manager Charles Danger, Director, Building and Neighborhood


INLUC Agenda Item No. 2(A)


Honorable Chairman Joe A Martinez
and Members, Board of County Commissioners


July l3, 201)


R A. Cuevas, Jr. County Attorney


The accompanying


was prepared and placed on the agenda at the request of Prime

Sponsor Commissioner Bruno A. Barreiro.


Agenda Item No. Page 2 nunnnum of 5 gross acres or contains a minimum 300,000 square feet of non-residential building area,« of

4 (B)

Section 2. amended Section

County, Florida,

33-82 of the Code of Miami-Dade


to read as follows:
Sec. 33-82. Short title and applicability.

Section 3.

of this ordinance

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision

is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity. Section 4.

It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners,
of this ordinance, including any sunset provision,

and it is hereby shall become and

ordained that the provisions


From: "Arias, Ruben J. (Office of the Mayor)" <RJARl:\S'{lllliamitimiL'.l!l1\> Date: 1!1¥<z2,~011 6:38:33 PM EDT To: "BaroaraC. Bisno" <barhuruiI.1rpro!.!rcSSl{ urnuil.corn> Subject: RE: Thanh: you Dear Resident, As a result ofthe Miami-Dade Infrastructure and Land Use Committee Meeting on Wednesday, July 12, 20 I I , Ordinance I 10635 was not passed- the SigB G€)oe1emainsiaS is.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Planning and Zoning Department regarding this issue. They can be reached at (305) 375-7800. Thank you for expressing your concerns with our office,

29th Floor Miami, FL 33128 (305) 375-5071

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