This analysis pertains to minimum off-street parking requirements for residential, hotel and non-residential uses within historic and conservation districts. In this regard, most lots within such districts are not well equipped to accommodate the storage of vehicles, due to factors such as the dimensions and location of existing buildings that are being retained, the size of the lot and the difficulty with providing the necessary driveways and back-up dimensions. Additionally, the storage of vehicles makes it more difficult to address the urban form of the larger, as-built context, and promotes more vehicular circulation in and around a given site.
All the historic and conservation districts south of 44th Street and north of 63rd Street, have easy access to multiple modes of transit (e.g. County buses and City trolleys). Considering this access, as well as the prioritization of the pedestrian and non-vehicular modes of transit in the city’s transportation master plan, the administration believes that the minimum parking requirements for these areas should be adjusted. Specifically, while a prohibition of vehicular storage on smaller sites in these areas would be ideal, such a proposal may be ahead of its time. As an alternative, removing the required parking within defined parameters would be a good step in the interim.
The current parking requirements in the land development regulations were drafted almost 30 years, at a time when off street vehicular storage was at a premium, and individual car trips were the primary method of transportation. Staff has found that the market, as opposed to an engineering handbook on suburban parking, is a better guide for establishing whether off street vehicular storage is needed, and how much storage would be needed, particularly in a defined, compact urban area like Miami Beach. Additionally, by not having to construct on site vehicular storage, the cost savings could allow for additional units, as well as increase the probability for such units to serve the city’s workforce. In general, residential housing that serves the workforce, does not have the same demand for on-site vehicular storage.
The original version of the ordinance proposed to amend the parking requirements in historic and conservation districts, as follows:
- The minimum parking requirements for the new construction of residential and hotel units would be one space per residential unit and .5 space per hotel unit.
- The minimum parking requirements for the new construction of non-residential and non-hotel uses, including allowable accessory uses, shall be as specified in the parking district for the underlying property
- There shall be no parking requirement for the following:
- Lots 100 feet or less in width.
- Development sites of 6 units (hotel or residential) or less.
- Development sites containing less than 5,000 square feet of new floor area.
- New buildings on development sites with existing buildings that do not contain off-street parking, where total number of new units does not exceed the number of existing units or where the total square footage does not exceed the square footage of the existing building.
- Properties located within 1500 feet of a public transit stop.
- Additions to existing buildings: For existing buildings, which are classified as "contributing" and of which at least 75 percent of the front and street side elevations, and 25 percent of interior side elevations, are substantially retained, preserved and restored, there shall be no parking requirement for the existing structure, and any new residential or hotel units, whether attached or detached, regardless of lot width and number of units, as well as new construction of non-residential and non-hotel uses, including allowable accessory uses, regardless of overall square footage.
- Exemptions. In the event that the property owner can substantiate that the proposed new construction of residential or hotel units, as well as new construction of non-residential and non-hotel uses, including allowable accessory uses, regardless of overall square footage, will not need to provide off-street parking, the design review board or historic preservation board, as applicable, may waive the parking requirements for residential and hotel units within a local historic district or conservation district, in accordance with the Design Review Criteria or Certificate of Appropriateness Criteria, as applicable.
Additionally, minimum bicycle parking requirements, for secure off-site storage for bicycles shall be required.
As indicated previously, the same reasons cited above for the removal of the requirements for residential uses also applies to other uses within historic districts. Typically, hotel guests and patrons of accessory uses such as restaurants are even more likely to utilize alternative modes of transportation including ride-share vehicles, public transit, and walking from nearby hotels. And especially for local residents and tourists staying in Miami Beach, a ride-sharing service is often more affordable and much more convenient than parking.
In its referral to the Planning Board, the City Commission requested that specific neighborhoods be considered as to where these requirements could apply, as opposed to being applicable citywide. In this regard, both the Historic Preservation Board and the Planning Board recommended that the North Shore National Register Historic District and Normandy Isles National Register Historic District be excluded from the proposed ordinance.
Additionally, the City Commission requested that potential financial impacts of the ordinance be evaluated. Attached is a copy of LTC #403-2019, which provides a summary of parking legislation over the last five years, the impact on recent development projects, as well as the amount of money paid into the parking impact fee. In this regard, there has been a reduction in the amount of money paid into the one-time fee since FY 2015-2016.
However, as indicated in the LTC, the administration cannot conclude for certain whether there would have been a reduction in fees collected, or how the actual amount of fees collected would be impacted by changes to the minimum parking requirements, based upon the following:
1. Certain development projects may not go forward, or may not have gone forward, unless the required parking is/was reduced.
2. An applicant may try, or have tried, to provide some or all the required parking on site or within 1200 feet of the property.
3. The applicant may, or may have, reduced the overall unit count in the program, or the overall square footage.
Since providing parking for new construction in historic districts is challenging, at best, due to the reasons described in the planning analysis, property owners who endeavor to expand their building footprint in historic districts must consider whether to pay the current one-time fee of $40,000 per required space. The administration believes that this fee has been a hinderance to small additions and new construction in historic districts. Often such additions and new construction will subsidize the restoration and continued maintenance of older, historic properties.
Considering the availability of public parking garages, as well as dedicated transit in proximity to the historic districts recommended, the administration believes that the proposal to reduce and eliminate parking spaces within the limited, and strategic areas identified is very worthwhile public policy. Additionally, the legislation is fully consistent with the adopted Transportation Master Plan, which de-prioritizes cars in the overall hierarchy of transit modality.
PLANNING BOARD REVIEW
On July 23, 2019, the Planning Board held a public hearing and transmitted the ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 4-0. The Planning Board also recommended that the North Shore National Register Historic District and Normandy Isles National Register Historic District be excluded from the proposed ordinance.
APPLICATION FEE WAIVER
The subject amendment was referred on a comprehensive, citywide basis, and not on behalf of a private applicant or third party. Pursuant to section 118-162(c) of the Land Development Regulations of the City Code, amendments to the City Code require the payment of the applicable fees in section 118-7 and Appendix A. These fees may be waived by a five-sevenths (5/7ths) vote of the City Commission, based upon one or more of the following circumstances:
1. The City Manager determines, in writing, that the proposed amendment is necessary due to a change in federal or state law, and/or to implement best practices in urban planning;
2. Upon written recommendation of the city manager acknowledging a documented financial hardship of a property owner(s) or developer(s); and/or
3. If requested, in writing, by a non-profit organization, neighborhood association, or homeowner's association for property owned by any such organization or association, so long as the request demonstrates that a public purpose is achieved by enacting the applicable amendment.
The City Manager has determined that the proposed amendment is necessary to implement best practices in urban planning.
On September 11, 2020, the City Commission considered the first draft of the proposed ordinance, which was based on the direction provided at the March 6, 2019 LUDC meeting. The item was continued to the October 16, 2019 meeting. On October 16, 2019, the item was deferred to December 11, 2019, and Commissioner Arriola agreed to become the item sponsor. On December 11, 2019, the item was deferred to January 15, 2020, at which time the item was deferred again, to February 12, 2020.
Since the last discussion on the item, and at the direction of the item sponsor, the administration has reduced the applicable areas of the proposed ordinance. Specifically, the revised draft ordinance now only applies to the following, limited areas:
1. CD-2 zoning districts within the Normandy Isles national register conservation district.
2. MXE zoning districts south of 16th Street.
Additionally, the no required parking provision only applies to residential and hotel uses, including accessory uses.
The attached maps show the areas of the City that the new parking reductions would apply, revised in accordance with the more limited applicability noted above. Overlaid into these maps are locations of existing parking facilities, as well as dedicated transit stops and ridership information for these stops. These maps illustrate how transit stops and parking facilities are well within the established industry standard walking distance of ¼ mile, or 1,500 feet.
As it pertains to the recommendation of the Historic Preservation Board and the Planning Board to exclude the North Beach areas from the proposed ordinance, as indicated previously, the administration disagrees with this recommendation for the following reasons:
1. The North Beach Historic Districts follow the same demolition rules and criteria as do the historic districts in South Beach. As such, they have the same constraints regarding the physical ability to be able to provide off-street parking within a site.
2. The North Beach area is embarking upon a much-needed renaissance. The need for financial relief from excessive fees is more critical within the historic districts in this part of the City.
3. The proximity to dedicated transit within the North Beach historic districts, as well as current ridership levels is highly robust, as shown on the attached maps. Additionally, several parking structures are being planned and proposed for future use within the North Beach area.
The revised proposal herein does remove most of the North Beach historic and conservation districts. However, consistent with a separate recommendation of the Land Use Committee in 2019 to develop tangible incentives for the Normandy Isle business corridor, the CD-2 area of Normandy Isle is proposed to remain. This CD-2 area would benefit greatly from this proposal, as it would incentivize mixed uses for properties in the area. As such, the administration recommends that the CD-2 zoning districts within the Normandy Isles national register conservation district be included in the revised ordinance, as currently drafted.