Florida Fire Station Will Cut Response Time

Homestead's east side will be getting a much-needed fire station sometime in the next two years.

That's how long it will take to build the new station, city council members were told Monday night. It's planned for the southeast corner of the Palm Drive (Southeast 24th Street) at Valencia Drive (Southeast 13th Avenue).

Council members unanimously approved the project, which is aimed at lowering response time in the city's booming eastern quadrant. But first they requested that a flashing warning light for emergency vehicles be installed.

Council member Judy Waldman, who suggested the light, said safety and the area's growing population were her main concerns.

Some residents saw her request as an unnecessary delay.

''There is absolutely no need for a traffic light,'' said Kevin Sullivan, 66, a former firefighter, after blasting council members over the issue.

In response, the council told City Manager Curt Ivy to omit the light if it appears to be delaying the project.

In other action, the council deferred the selection of architects for Homestead's new city hall.

Staff had suggested hiring two different architecture firms -- one to plot the size and any special requirements for the facility and the other to design the building.

Council members postponed a decision until they can hold a workshop.

Because of an advertising glitch that prevented the required public notice, the council also deferred final approval of amendments to the city's comprehensive land-use master plan.

The changes would add new land-use classifications to Homestead's master plan -- the city's development roadmap -- and alter the current land-use designation for some parcels.

The amendment still must have a second reading before being forwarded to the state Department of Community Affairs for a final review.

''There was a glitch with the advertising,'' said Charles LaPradd, the city's head of planning and economic development.

The council will vote on the changes during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Homestead City Hall, 790 N. Homestead Blvd.

Distributed by the Associated Press