Item Coversheet

City of Miami Beach, 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139,

 Item 13.

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: May 6, 2020

Conclude the item and recommend that the City Commission adopt the attached ordinance.

Discuss the item and recommend that the City Commission adopt the attached ordinance.


On July 17, 2019, at the request of Commissioner Ricky Arriola, the City Commission referred the discussion item to the Land Use and Development Committee (Item C4 O). The item was discussed at the September 18, 2019 LUDC meeting, and continued to the October 30, 2019 meeting with the following direction:

1. The administration and City Attorney’s office will research and provide recommendations regarding a process for imposing proportional fines, development and use reductions, and building registrations.

2. The administration will bring a discussion item to the October 8, 2019 meeting of the Historic Preservation Board for recommendations on posting unsafe structures on the city’s website.

On October 30, 2019, the item was discussed and continued to the December 2, 2019 LUDC, with the following direction:

1. The administration and the City Attorney will further evaluate the recommendations noted in the LUDC memo regarding proportional fines and building registry, as well as creating a process for as-built drawings of contributing structures.

2. Recommend that the City Commission refer the proposed amendment to chapter 118, article X, pertaining to a presumption clause, to the Planning Board.

3. The addresses of properties that have both an active unsafe structures violation and have been referred to the Miami-Dade County Unsafe Structures Board by the Building Official will be posted on the City website. This list shall be posted within the Building Department webpage, and the Planning Department webpage shall contain a direct link.

The December 2, 2019 LUDC meeting was cancelled, and the item was moved to the January 21, 2020 agenda of the newly created Land Use and Sustainability Committee. On January 21, 2020 the item was continued to the February 18, 2020 LUSC meeting. On February 18, 2020 the item was continued to March 17, 2020. The March 17, 2020 was cancelled and the item was moved to the May 6, 2020 LUSC agenda.


On October 8, 2019, the Historic Preservation Board discussed the matter and recommended that the City begin the process of posting the addresses of properties that have an active unsafe structures violation and have been referred to the Miami-Dade County Unsafe Structures Board by the Building Official on the City website. The Board also recommended that this information be available on either the Building Department or Planning Department page.

As indicated on October 30, 2019, planning staff and the City Attorney’s office have researched and discussed other options to address demolition by neglect in historic districts. The following is an update and summary of these efforts:

1. Fines. The way properties are currently fined is general and not specific to the size of the building. The administration and the City Attorney’s office have researched the concept of proportional fines and it appears that it is not pre-empted under State law. The administration and the City Attorney are exploring potential amendments that would result in more proportional fines for larger buildings.

2. Building Registry. The Building Department is researching and evaluating a method to establish a building registry process.


The ordinance pertaining to the presumption clause, as previously recommended by the Land Use and Development Committee, is pending before the City Commission and scheduled to be adopted on May 13, 2020. Additionally, a list of unsafe buildings has been posted on the City website, with a direct link from the planning department webpage.

About as-built drawings, as indicated previously, there are a couple of different options; each, however, has a budget impact and would need to be part of a budget enhancement for FY 2021. These include hiring an architectural firm or local University to do built drawings based upon available archival plans and a field assessment. Another potential option would be laser scanning and point cloud files that are then rendered. In those instances where a contributing building is proposed to be replaced or substantially modified, the Architect of record already puts together a detailed set of as-built drawings. Given the current limited need for such drawings on an emergency basis, as well as the potential cost of computer software required, the administration recommends that such a process not move forward at this time.

The administration has reviewed a model building registry ordinance from the City of Riviera Beach, as well as an updated list of abandoned commercial properties, which is color coded based on priority. Also included in the list of properties is the number of stories and the square footage to assist with determining appropriate, proportional fees. The attached draft ordinance, which amends chapter 58 of the City Code, and creates a building registry process specific to Miami Beach. The following is a summary of the key points of the proposed ordinance:

• Terms specific to the proposed Abandoned and Vacant Properties Registry have been defined.

• Division 4 has been created within chapter 58, establishing an Abandoned and Vacant Properties Registry.

• Applicability: All properties within a locally designated historic district are subject to the Abandoned and Vacant Properties Registry. A property must register within 15 days of becoming abandoned or vacant.

• Detailed registration requirements have been developed. This includes a nonrefundable annual registration fee in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200) per property, as well as a nonrefundable annual fee of thirty cents ($0.30) per square foot shall be paid for any building or structure that exceed three (3) stories. This tiered approach to assessing fees will have a greater impact on larger structures, which are typically more vulnerable to demolition by neglect.

• A responsibility for compliance section is established, requiring that is the responsibility of the owner to maintain the property in accordance with the provisions in this article.

The administration believes that the proposal herein will create a fair and transparent process for tracking at risk properties within the City’s local historic district. Additionally, it will allow for the City to proactively monitor the conditions of the structures, and better enforce the demolition by neglect section of the City Code.

The one section of the legislation that still needs to be worked out is the administering City department for the registry. The administration is discussing this internally, and it is anticipated that this piece of the legislation will be ready for first reading.


The administration recommends that the item be concluded and that the attached draft ordinance be sent to the City Commission for consideration.

Applicable Area

Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
Yes No 


Draft ORD - Building RegistryMemo