Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 132164
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File Number: 132164 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 13-104 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: PARKING CHARGES ON VEHICLES RE: DISABLED PARKING PERMIT Introduced: 10/29/2013
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/5/2013
Agenda Date: 11/5/2013 Agenda Item Number: 7D
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 30-388.2 OF THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CODE PROVIDING THAT, CONSISTENT WITH STATE LAW, PARKING CHARGES MAY BE IMPOSED ON VEHICLES DISPLAYING A DISABLED PARKING PERMIT OR LICENSE TAG AT ANY COUNTY AIRPORT OR SEAPORT UNDER SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT THAT SUCH CHARGES MAY NOT BE IMPOSED FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES AS DEFINED IN SUCH STATE LAW; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 131987]
Indexes: DISABLED
  PARKING
  PERMITS
Sponsors: Sally A. Heyman, Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 11/5/2013 7D Adopted P

County Attorney 10/29/2013 Assigned Thomas P. Abbott

Economic Development & Port Miami Committee 10/10/2013 1F1 Substitute Amended Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendment(s) P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty read the foregoing ordinance into the record. Commissioner Heyman, the sponsor of the item appeared before the Committee; and explained the intent of the foregoing proposed ordinance and noted the administration of the Miami International Airport (MIA) and Seaport was in support as well. She pointed out that MIA and Seaport were the only airport and seaport in the state of Florida that offered free parking to all disabled persons. The Inspector General had issued a report detailing many instances of improper or fraudulent uses of these free parking spaces, specifically at the airport and the majority of the fraudulent use was by employees and construction contract employees. Commissioner Heyman noted that every other county in the state followed the Florida Statute that allowed users who had toll exempt tags for special vehicles, to be exempt from paying tolls or for parking at any venue. The toll exempt statute would remain effective and the amendment to the substitute would allow two hours of free parking at MIA and the Seaport to people that had a county issued disabled parking permit placards. Commissioner Diaz opened the public hearing. Mr. Damian P. Gregory 11342 SW 163rd St Miami, Florida appeared in opposition of the foregoing proposed ordinance. He noted he felt this was not the proper way of preventing fraudulent use of the disabled parking permits. He expressed his concern regarding this ordinance creating unintended consequences. Mr. Gregory pointed out that although he was able to afford a vehicle that is retrofitted for his specific needs with a lift and hand controls, others were unable to afford these modifications to their vehicles and under this ordinance those persons would not be able to park for free any longer. He requested that Committee members considered the economic hardship this may cause to those that lived on a fixed income. Mr. Ernie Martinez 6660 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, Florida, Disability Advocate, Center for Independent Living appeared in opposition of the foregoing proposed ordinance. He noted that an amendment was needed to the ordinance which maintained the spirit of humanitarian benefits for the most vulnerable population, people with disabilities. He noted MIA needed to offer better accommodations to its employees with disabilities. He suggested that the ordinance be amended to include paid internships, stipend internships, more employment, better public notice campaigns regarding people with disabilities, public notices of MIA’s Advisory Committee’s for people with disabilities as well as other services to better accommodate those with disabilities. Mr. Jackson David 2350 NW 91 Street Miami, Florida noted that he was in opposition to the foregoing proposed ordinance. Upon hearing the amendment he felt that it was an attempt to stop fraud but in fact would punish everyone with disabilities. He asked that the Committee amend the ordinance to include more than two (2) hours of free parking to disabled persons. Mr. Alan Rigerman 17910 NW 84TH Avenue noted that he was in support of the foregoing proposed ordinance. He requested to address the entire commission in a public hearing regarding the issues surrounding the disabled parking. Mr. Art Noriega, CEO, Miami Parking Authority 40 NW 3rd Street Miami, Florida noted he was in support of the foregoing proposed ordinance and stated this was an issue that has been discussed for quite some time; the abuse was ongoing and enforcement was difficult. He noted the financial incentive provided motive for those obtaining fraudulent or illegal disabled parking permits and removing the incentive would help. He pointed out that Jackson Hospital needed to be included in this ordinance in the future. Seeing no one else come forward to speak Commissioner Diaz closed the public hearing. Mr. Juan Kuryla noted that the foregoing ordinance would have a positive financial impact on the Seaport. Commissioner Diaz noted that this was a difficult subject and that he was supportive of the foregoing proposed ordinance. The noted that he wanted to work with the County Attorney to draft legislation to place more penalties on usage of fraudulent handicapped parking permits. Commissioner Jordan asked for clarification regarding the difference between the current ordinance versus the foregoing proposed ordinance. Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty explained that the amendment to the substitute made three changes as follows: it changed the Whereas Clause from $3.7 million to $4.1 million of increased revenue; it added the Seaport and the Airport for two hours of free parking; and the amendment to the substitute also add some subsections to make the ordinance more reader friendly. Commissioner Jordan expressed her concern regarding the comments put on the record by Mr. Damian P. Gregory and the unintended consequences he pointed out. She noted that every disabled person did not have retrofitted controls on their vehicles. Commissioner Jordan stated if the intent was to cut down on misuse of the disabled parking permits by individuals who did not have any disabilities, she inquired if this could be accomplished by having attendants match drivers licenses with the permit to see if the numbers matched upon entry of the parking areas. Mr. Ken Pyatt, Deputy Director, Miami-Dade Aviation Department explained that currently drivers licenses were checked against patron’s disability parking permit placards upon entry of the airport parking garages; if the placard did not match the driver’s license the patron was charged to park. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s comments regarding if driver’s licenses were matched against the disabled parking permits then why was fraud still happening and whether the Seaport had the same practices as the airport, Mr. Kuryla explained that yes the Seaport followed the same practices as the airport in regards to disabled parking; upon exiting the terminals if the driver’s license did not match the sequence of numbers on the disabled parking permit placard the driver was charged the full price of parking. Commissioner Jordan commented that if the placards were being matched to driver’s licenses and patrons had to pay the daily rate of parking when the placard did not match the license then there should be no financial loses because the people with faulty placards were being charged. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s comments Mr. Pyatt explained that the $4.1 million represented the amount that had not been collected due to free parking for persons with valid disabled parking placards. He further noted that in 2008 the Inspector General (IG) conducted an investigation and discovered that within a two week period more than 200 employees were witnessed parking in disabled parking spaces. Due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws the IG’s staff did not check the permits to see if these employees held valid disabled parking permits; however, he noted, some of the employee’s did not appear to be disabled but may have non-visible disabilities, which did entitle them to the placards and the parking spaces. Mr. Pyatt noted although airport employees had a designated area to park, disabled employees with valid placards were entitled to park at any disabled parking space at the airport, which ultimately lead to customers competing with employees for the disabled parking spaces near the terminals. Commissioner Jordan inquired whether employees that had valid disabled parking permits should be treated differently from any other disabled person. She noted that, in an effort to verify the employee’s disabled parking permits, the department should have some type of clearance for parking specifically for those disabled employees. She also inquired whether this would be forbidden due to legal reasons. She expressed concern that airport employees that had disabilities maybe equivalent to customer’s disabilities were being punished by having to park long distances away from their work sites. Mr. Pyatt noted that the disabled parking permit placard entitles persons to park closer to their destination. He noted this was the same procedure at the airport if you are designated to park in the employee parking lot the disabled parking permit placard will allow you to park in a spot very close to the bus stop that shuttles employees to their work places. Commissioner Jordan inquired whether a policy could be established at the airport where any employee holding a disabled parking permit could have designated parking spots only within the employee parking lot. She noted that it seems the issue was with employees parking in handicapped spaces meant for customers. Responding to Commissioner Jordan’s inquiry Assistant County Attorney Thomas “Tim” Abbott responded that this type of policy could be adopted if that was the only concern. Responding to Commissioner Zapata’s inquiry regarding how Broward County handled disabled parking at its airports and seaports, Commissioner Heyman responded that they charged everyone for parking at its airports and seaports. Responding to Commissioner Zapata’s inquiry whether this legislation would be adopted county wide, Commissioner Heyman noted this legislation only included the airport and the seaport and that Miami-Dade was the exception offering free parking to those with valid disabled parking permits. Commissioner Zapata noted this was a good policy, he had mixed feelings regarding the substitute, however he was in support of the foregoing ordinance. He further noted the focus should also be on fraudulent use of the disabled parking permits. Commissioner Heyman noted that it was only fair to allow people that have physical challenges or to have someone that is dropping them off the two-hour concession to this ordinance due to the dynamics of United States Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (TSA). She noted no longer will people holding disabled parking permits be able to park for free to travel on their five to ten day cruises or the four to five months for snowbirds who park free of charge as well. Commissioner Heyman noted her intention was to have spaces available for people that actually needed them and free versus paying which made a huge difference in availability. She noted that employees could park in the designated employee parking area for free rather than coming to the passenger/customer parking lot and pay. Commissioner Jordan agreed with Commissioner Heyman’s comments. With regards to her prior comments she noted that in an effort to prevent employees from taking spaces for passengers and customers, she believed that creating a policy that required employees to park in the designated employee parking lot should be put in place. Commissioner Jordan pointed out that due to the unintended consequences to the elderly or those that did not have a retrofit vehicle she was divided on the foregoing ordinance. Commissioner Diaz asked that the administration at the airport and seaport look for solutions and better ways for employees that had disabilities to park and get to their work sites easier. He noted that the disabled parking permit situation needed to be addressed county wide. Hearing no further comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 30-388.2 OF THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY CODE PROVIDING THAT, CONSISTENT WITH STATE LAW, PARKING CHARGES MAY BE IMPOSED ON VEHICLES DISPLAYING A DISABLED PARKING PERMIT OR LICENSE TAG AT ANY COUNTY AIRPORT OR SEAPORT UNDER SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT THAT SUCH CHARGES MAY NOT BE IMPOSED FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES AS DEFINED IN SUCH STATE LAW; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY

WHEREAS, Miami International Airport is the only airport in Florida that offers free parking to all disabled persons; and
WHEREAS, if free parking at Miami International Airport was not offered to all disabled persons, Airport revenues would increase by approximately [[$3,700,000.00]]1 >>$4.1 million<<; and
WHEREAS, if free parking at the Port of Miami was not offered to all disabled persons Port revenues would increase by $800,000.00; and
WHEREAS, the Office of the Inspector General has issued a report detailing numerous instances of improper or fraudulent uses of these free parking spaces; and
WHEREAS, the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport are two of the largest economic engines in Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, increased revenue at these facilities provides a competitive advantage in these facilities remaining national leaders in air and sea traffic,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 30-388.2 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows: 2
Sec. 30-388.2. Free public parking for the physically disabled.

[[Any]] >>(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) below, any<< motor vehicle which is qualified to park in a specially marked parking space designated for the physically disabled pursuant to Article II of this chapter shall be permitted to park in any public parking space in Miami-Dade County without incurring a fee for parking. For purposes of this section, the term “public parking space” shall mean a parking space provided by Miami-Dade County and each municipality within Miami-Dade County, and each agency, instrumentality and authority thereof.

>>(2)<< >>Notwithstanding<< [[anything in the Miami-Dade County Code to the contrary, however,]] >>subsection (1) above,<< >>the Aviation<< [[Department]] >>and Seaport Departments<< >>shall be entitled to charge and collect parking fees for the use of any County airport<< >>or seaport<< >>parking facility, including facilities providing temporary, short-term, or up-close parking sites,<<[[and the Seaport Department shall be entitled to charge and collect parking fees for the use of any timed parking spaces in a parking garage, facility, lot, or space, including temporary, short-term, or up-close parking site]] >>by vehicles that display a disabled parking permit or license tag issued under Sections 316.1958, 320.084, 320.0842, 320.0843, 320.0845, or 320.0848,<< >>Florida Statutes,<< >>as such sections may be amended from time to time,<< >>except that any such vehicle exiting an airport or seaport parking facility less than two hours from entering the facility shall not be charged parking fees<< [[but any]] >>. Any such vehicle exiting the facility more than two hours from entering the facility shall be charged for the entire time the vehicle uses the facility.<<

[[but]]>>(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2) above,<< >>no parking charges shall be imposed by the Airport or<< [[the]] >>Seaport<< >>Departments<< >>upon any vehicle with specialized equipment, such as ramps, lifts, or foot or hand controls, or for utilization by a person who has a disability or whose vehicle is displaying the Florida Toll Exemption permit.<<

Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
Section 5. This ordinance does not contain a sunset provision.

1 Committee amendments are indicated as follows: Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] are deleted, words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< are added.

2 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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