Item Coversheet

New Business and Commission Requests - R9  H


TO:Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Commission 
FROM:Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager 
DATE:February  12, 2020



The administration recommends that the City Commission discuss the item and refer the attached draft Ordinance to the Planning Board for review and transmittal.


On November 14, 2018, the City Commission adopted Ordinance 2018-4224, establishing the Town Center – Central Core (TC-C) zoning district.  Pursuant to the recommendations of the North Beach Master Plan, the ordinance allowed for a housing type that is new to the City known as a co-living unit, which may also be known as a micro-unit.  At the time of adoption, the ordinance established a cap of 312 co-living units within the TC-C district, which represents approximately ten percent (10%) of the total allowable units in the TC-C district.

Under the land development regulations (LDRs), a co-living unit is a residential unit that is between 375 SF and 550 SF in size.  The code requires that buildings with co-living units have a minimum of 20 percent of the gross floor area for amenity space. 

On July 31, 2019, the City Commission adopted Ordinance 2019-4287, which amended the way density is calculated for co-living units in the TC-C district. The City Commission also required that a review and update of this ordinance be provided within 6 months.

Pursuant to this adopted ordinance, one (1) co-living unit now counts as one-half (1/2) of a conventional unit for the purposes of calculating the maximum allowable density and population impact.   Due to the lower population impact and lower floor area utilization rates associated with co-living units, the ordinance also proposed, at first reading, an increase in the number of co-living units within the TC-C district, from the current limit of 312 units. The Commission did not increase the current cap of 312 co-living units. 



Co-living and micro units are becoming increasingly common throughout urban cities in the United Sates.  Due to their smaller sizes, it is expected that co-living units will have more attainable rents, while still providing a significant number of amenities for residents that allow for high levels of social interaction.  They are shown to attract young professionals that are not looking for the expense and responsibilities of home ownership and retirees looking to downsize.  Attracting such residents is desirable in order to encourage the economic development of the North Beach Town Center.  


Due to the small size of co-living units, they will likely house fewer people than a conventional housing unit.  For planning purposes, it is estimated that a conventional housing unit has 2.5 people per dwelling unit.  A report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) entitled The Macro View on Micro Units indicates that the ability to live alone is one of the primary reasons for people to move into a co-living unit.  Because of the size of a co-living unit and the expectation of more attainable rents, it is more likely that they will be made up of single-person households.  Because a co-living unit is roughly half the size of a conventional unit, it can be estimated that the planning impact of a co-living unit will be half (1/2) that of a conventional unit, or approximately 1.25 people per dwelling unit. 


The following development applications have been approved by the Design Review Board (DRB) or have submitted a building permit application with co-living units:


1. 7145 Carlyle Avenue: 121 co-living units. 


2. 6970 Collins Avenue:   20 co-living units.


3. 7114 Collins Avenue: 168 co-living units. 


Total: 309 co-living units.


As discussed when Ordinance 2019-4287 was presented to  the City Commission in July of 2019, the developer of the parcel located at 7140 Abbott Avenue expressed an intent to submit a development application to the DRB, before the end of the year, for a project containing co-living units.  Since this project was contingent upon the approval of a requested alley vacation, by the time the developer began the formal DRB application process, 309 of the co-living units available within the pool of 312 units (for the TC-C district) were already reserved.  The development at 7140 Abbott Avenue is now proposing 141 co-living units. If the cap were increased by 140 units to accommodate this proposal, the total number of proposed co-living units within the TC-C district would increase from 309 units to 450 units. 


Considering the general interest in, and forward movement of, applications including co-living units within the area, the administration would again strongly recommend an increase in the overall cap of co-living units within the TC-C district. Specifically, staff recommends an increase to 550 co-living units. The modification of the density calculation in July of 2019 has increased the feasibility of co-living developments. However, without increasing the maximum number of co-living units in the district, the number of projects that can develop these units is limited. Greater flexibility relating to the number of co-living units would improve the likelihood of bringing a co-living development to fruition.  


In addition to the proposed increase in the cap for co-living units, the administration is also recommending that the method of reserving co-living units within the cap be modified for purposes of clarity and equity. Currently, a reservation for these units can be made on a first-come, first serve basis, by either making an application for a (i) land use board approval, (ii) building permit, (iii) certificate of occupancy, or (iv) business tax receipt. Since the cap on units is administered under the LDRs, the Administration recommends that the land use board application process be the sole method of reservation for co-living units.


These proposed revisions are contained within the attached draft ordinance. The administration is recommending that the ordinance be referred directly to the Planning Board for review and recommendation, and transmittal back to the City Commission.




The administration recommends that the City Commission discuss the item and refer the attached draft ordinance to the Planning Board for review and transmittal.

Applicable Area

North Beach
Is this a Resident Right to Know item? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
Yes No 
Legislative Tracking

Draft ORD