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Miami-Dade County addresses the elimination of enclaves in several sections of Chapter 20 of the County Code, which governs annexations. For example, Sec. 20-3.1 prohibits the filing or consideration of a boundary change when the boundary change creates a new enclave. Additionally, Sec. 20-7 requires the Board of County Commissioners, in evaluating the appropriateness of a petition for boundary change, to consider several factors including whether the proposed annexation has contiguity and does not create any unincorporated enclave area.
The City of Coral Gables is considering annexation of the Little Gables, Ponce-Davis and High Pines neighborhoods. Annexation is the process by which a city extends its boundaries to include a new area with the aim of providing improved services and ensuring enhanced safety and health programs.
There have been some inquiries regarding the process of annexation and the level of services the city provides. Below we list some facts that address frequently asked questions regarding the services that our city’s residents benefit from.
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Coral Gables police and fire-rescue response times are among the best in Miami-Dade County--considerably shorter than most municipal and unincorporated areas of the county. The Coral Gables Police and Fire Headquarters is less than a mile from Little Gables compared to the eight-mile distance from the Miami-Dade district station that polices the area. The above photo is of the new Police and Fire Headquarters, a $68 million state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2020.
Coral Gables’ full-service police operations include a dedicated 911 communications center, marine patrol, traffic enforcement, a crisis management team, a youth resource unit, and neighborhood safety aides. Coral Gables has 4.66 officers per one thousand residents, well above the national ratio of 2.33 officers.
The department is accredited by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., considered the Gold Standard in Law Enforcement. Coral Gables Police average a less than 3-minute response time to emergency calls.
Neighborhood Safety Aides
Neighborhood Team Policing is fully supported by Police Command Staff to address and engage in all matters concerning traffic, crime, and quality of life, while building collaborative and interactive relationships with the residents. Each section of the city is policed by zone patrol officers and is assigned a Neighborhood Safety Team Leader (“NTL”) officer. In addition to zone patrols and NTLs, each area of the city is assigned a Neighborhood Safety Aide (“NSA”). NSAs are civilian employees of the police department who focus on quality of life issues, become intimately familiar with their areas, and even get to know residents by name.
The department is one of only 113 accredited ISO Class 1 Fire Departments in the U.S. The Coral Gables Emergency Fire-Rescue (including emergency medical services) average response time is 6:40 minutes.
In addition to traditional fire suppression, the Coral Gables Fire Department provides advanced and basic life support for medical emergencies, rescue operations, emergency management, public education and fire prevention/safety programs. They serve the city from three fire stations with a fourth, adjacent to High Pines, at 1345 Sunset Drive, scheduled to break ground this year.
Services and Amenities
The Community Recreation department has been nationally accredited through the Commission of Accredited Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) since 2001 and has successfully been reaccredited every five years.
Residents receive reduced rates and priority access for the use of city facilities and programming including the War Memorial Youth Center's programs, summer camps, golf and tennis, the Coral Gables Golf & Country Club, the Venetian Pool, and the Adult Activity Center.
The city has over 60 parks and green spaces, provides accessible recreation for all, and is committed to continuing the development and renovation of neighborhood parks. Future parks projects for the proposed annexed neighborhoods could include construction of passive parks and renovations of other parks. There is also a small park planned next to Firehouse 4 on San Ignacio near High Pines.
Frequent Waste Service at Your Doorstep - Coral Gables picks up garbage twice a week and recycling once a week, both from the side of your home. Homeowners do not have to drag their bins onto the street. City bulk waste pick-up is once a week, and there are common sense regulations on when bulky waste can be placed outside and what can be placed in a trash pit, important deterrents to unsightly trash heaps.
Substantial Infrastructure and Landscape Improvements. Coral Gables is known internationally as The City Beautiful—the city is diligent in maintaining public spaces and proactively undertakes city road resurfacing and drainage projects, new and repaired sidewalks and extensive tree plantings and trimming.
Shade and Succession Plan - Coral Gables is designated a Tree City USA. It has received this designation every year since 1985 for its extensive tree canopy with more than 41% tree coverage. The city is committed to maintaining this designation and would evaluate appropriate tree plantings in the annexed areas.
Financial Stability - Coral Gables has a AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor's, Fitch and Moody’s rating services. This means the city has more trust, credibility, and greater access to resources when seeking public financing. It is one of only three cities in the State of Florida to receive a triple A rating from all three rating agencies.
The city has over $50 million in general fund reserves which further indicates its strong financial position and allows the city to deal with emergencies such as hurricanes more effectively.
Proximity, Technology, Benefits - Coral Gables City Hall is less than a mile from Little Gables and approximately four miles from the High Pines/Ponce Davis communities. Our municipality is recognized as one of the most technologically-advanced in the nation. Residents can easily access services and communicate with city departments online.
Smart poles, the first of their kind, are installed in the city. The AI-powered technology is a sleek design and consolidates several technologies such as public free wifi, CCTV, traffic, and safety sensors (vehicles, pedestrian, multimodal, speed, red-light, public safety, situational awareness), environmental sensors (air quality, noise, weather), computer vision and AI IoT edge analytics and alerts.
There are more than 25 public Wi-Fi sites completed to date including in parks, community recreation centers, downtown district, city trolleys, and city facilities.
Investing in public art and the beautification of the city – Through the “Art in Public Places” program, the city addresses the important goal of commissioning, acquiring, and exhibiting new public artworks in Coral Gables. The funds come from municipal and private development projects, not from the general fund. There are more than 20 permanent art installations located throughout the city.
What's It Going to Cost Me?
Property values vary widely in Little Gables and High Pines/Ponce Davis, so the estimated additional cost is presented below for a range of taxable home values, and includes property taxes, solid waste fee, and fire fee.
|Taxable Property Value||Estimated Additional Cost*|
$526.58/year or $10.13/week
$646.92/year or $12.44/week
$767.26/year or $14.75/week
$947.76/year or $18.23/week
$1,248.60/year or $24.01/week
$1,549.44/year or $29.80/week
|$2,000,000||$2,752.80/year or $52.94/week|
*Based on FY 23 tax roll, Coral Gables Solid Waste Fee paid by Aug. 15, and taxes paid at a 4% discounted rate.
The process for permitting in Coral Gables has been revamped. It remains thorough with an improved customer experience. There’s a newly constructed building that serves as a one-stop shop for all residents’ and business owners’ permitting needs. Wait times for assistance at the permit counter averages 2:30 minutes.
Permitting is now fully electronic, and the city offers several avenues to assist people with the process including mobile permitting and personal assistance with permits for those who qualify, such as senior citizens.
Another frequently asked question relates to zoning and building codes. If annexation occurs, city officials will work with property owners to adopt a zoning code specific to these neighborhoods that allows for a gradual and reasonable translation of requirements. Site-specific regulations for the annexed areas may reasonably deviate from the city's zoning code, and such a model has been used in the past with annexations. In many cases, single-family residential zoning and its uses permitted by the County Code will remain. Both the county and city are governed by the same Florida Building Code so the same building code requirements will apply regardless of whether the neighborhoods are annexed or not.