March 21, 2012

Meeting Held by Teleconference


            The meeting was conducted via teleconference beginning at 2:00 P.M.  Members present were:  Jack Humburg, William S. Reha, Barbara Page, Catherine Powell, and Bob Gerwe.  It was noted that there was an error in the Agenda and that Application # 4 should be Alan Waserstein, not Loews.  The Agenda was corrected.  Applications for waivers from accessibility code requirements were reviewed as follows:


1.      The Upside Down Fun House, 1455 NW 107th Ave., Doral, FL 33175:


The applicant, Francisco “Franky” Miguez, Jr., appeared telephonically before the Council.  The applicant is requesting a waiver from providing vertical accessibility to all levels, and from grade level to the entry door level, of a proposed new amusement structure with an estimated cost of $250,000.  Access to the entry door will be 6 feet above grade, and will be gained from stairs.  The interior floor angle is 5% in the travers axis, and 6% at the length axis.  The applicant asserts that the requirement to make all levels of this structure accessible would negate the entire concept of the project as amusement, and would render it nonviable as an enterprise.  Estimates of $30,000 and $31,000 for a lift were submitted.  The project is under design, and the local building official has referred the applicant to the Commission before submitting the plans for review by the building department.


Recommendation:  Deny, because the federal requirement of accessible public entrances cannot be waived by the Commission.



            2.  Key Auto Company, 4660 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32256:


The applicant did not appear before the Council.  The applicant is requesting a waiver from providing vertical accessibility to the second floor offices and conference room of an existing automobile dealership that is undergoing renovation.  The project consists of 1) upgrading building finishes, at a cost of $308,000, and 2) installing new exterior signage, at a cost of $210,580.  Estimates of $147,502 and $166,938 for installation of an elevator were submitted to substantiate the applicant’s assertion of disproportionate cost.


Recommendation:  The Council noted that there is really no need for a waiver in this case because the project consists of work that does not fall within the definition of “alteration” in 206.5 of the 2012 Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction, and thus does not trigger the requirement to provide vertical accessibility.  However, since the Building Official has referred matter to the Commission for a waiver, the Council recommends that an Order be issued containing an advisory that a waiver is not necessary, but is being granted to the extent that it is necessary because the Building Official has requested it.


3.   CHJ Ventures L.L.C., 7120 S.W. 47th Street, Miami, Florida 33155:


The applicant, Carlos Castellenos, did not appear before the Council.  Jorge Azze, architect, attempted to participate in the teleconference but was unable connect successfully.  The applicant requested a waiver from providing vertical accessibility to the second floor of a 2,352 square foot office unit in a warehouse.  Work has previously been performed on the unit and the owner has applied for an amnesty permit to bring it into code compliance since the previous work was unpermitted.  Estimates of $22,622, $28,373, and $42,754 were submitted as documentation of the cost of making the second floor accessible.  The matter was deferred from the January 31, 2012 Commission meeting because the cost and extent of the previous unpermitted work had not been provided, nor was it known whether that work was performed by the current or a previous owner.  The applicant subsequently provided that information.


Recommendation:  Grant, on the basis of disproportionate cost/extreme hardship.


4.  Alan Waserstein, 1225 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33139:


This application previously came before the Commission on December 6, 2011, at which time a waiver was granted for two of the three buildings for which waivers were requested.  The third building, #1225, was deferred to the Council meeting on March 21 to enable the applicant to provide further information about the costs and structural difficulties of installing an elevator.  The applicant did not appear at the Council meeting, but has been in contact with staff and requested that the Council further defer the matter to the next meeting.


Recommendation:  Defer to the next Council meeting.


5.   Selby Gardens, Children’s Rainforest Garden – Tree house and Canopy Walk features, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236:


The applicant, Ryan W. Sollars, appeared telephonically before the Council.  The applicant requested a waiver from providing vertical accessibility to two features in the new children’s garden.  The cost of the project is $1,750,000.00, and is new construction.  According to the applicant, the project is in the plan review stage; no permit has yet been certified.  An estimate of $76,755.00 for the installation of two lifts was submitted.  The applicant stated that ramping is not feasible in this case due to waterfront setbacks, and asserts that installation of two lifts will create a financial hardship.


Recommendation:  Deny, because the federal requirement of accessible routes cannot be waived by the Commission, and the project does not fall within any of the exemptions to § 553.509, F.S.