The developer of the 1212 Lincoln Road project, which is located on the west side of Alton Road, from 16th Street to Lincoln Road, is proposing to introduce a roof-top, outdoor movie theater use, with an accessory outdoor bar. The developer has proposed the following operational components:
- A single screen theater with up to 3 showings each evening; movies would commence once it is dark.
- A concession stand with food and beverage, similar to an indoor movie theater.
- The hours of operation are 5:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on weekdays and 5:00pm to 1:00 am on weekends. The outdoor bar counter would cease operations at 11:00 pm on weekdays and 12:00 midnight on weekends.
- The theater seats 250 persons, using both single seats and couch seats.
- The sound of the movie is heard only through headsets.
- According to the proposer, all the parking spaces proposed to be converted to theater area are excess, surplus parking and not required parking; this will need to be confirmed by the City.
- Food preparation is proposed to take place in the restaurant downstairs, but sales, including table service, will occur upstairs.
Under the current regulations of the City Code, the proposed use is not permitted on the roof top of a structure on the west side of Alton Road. Specifically, the Alton Road corridor, which includes properties on the west side of Alton Road and east of Alton Court, between 14th Street and Collins Canal, has explicit regulations pertaining to roof-top uses and alcoholic beverage establishments, and the proposal herein is inconsistent with some of the current regulations.
It should also be noted that an outdoor movie theater meets the definition of an outdoor entertainment establishment. As such, pursuant to section 142-303 of the LDR’s, conditional use approval from the Planning Board would be required (with or without an accessory outdoor bar). Additionally, pursuant to section 142-304 of the LDR’s, the accessory outdoor bar counter proposed would not be permitted to operate past 12:00 midnight.
In order to allow for the proposed outdoor theater use at the subject location, the developer drafted the attached ordinance, which proposes to amend sections 142-305, 142-310, 142-1109 and 142-1161 of the LDRs, as well as section 6-4 of the City Code, in order to allow for an outdoor movie theater use with an accessory outdoor bar. The following is a summary of the specific code sections presented to the Planning Board that are proposed to be amended:
Sec. 142-305. – Prohibited uses.
The prohibited uses in the CD-2 commercial, medium intensity district are accessory outdoor bar counters, except as provided in section 142-310, or in article IV, division 2 of this chapter and in chapter 6. Except as otherwise provided in these land development regulations, prohibited uses in the CD-2 commercial medium intensity district in the Sunset Harbour Neighborhood, generally bounded by Purdy Avenue, 20th Street, Alton Road and Dade Boulevard, also include hostels, outdoor entertainment establishments, neighborhood impact establishments, open air entertainment establishments, bars, dance halls, and entertainment establishments (as defined in section 114-1 of this Code).
Sec. 142-310. - Special regulations for alcohol beverage establishments.
(8) Notwithstanding the foregoing, outdoor motion picture theaters with accessory outdoor bar counters may be permitted, including on rooftops, subject to conditional use approval pursuant to chapter 118, article IV, and subject to the following operational limitations:
The use shall front on Alton Road.
No television, radio, and/or recorded background music may exceed an ambient volume level (i.e. a volume that does not interfere with normal conversation). On rooftops, audio from motion picture presentations shall be delivered to patrons only through individually-worn headphones.
Movie projectors and related equipment, as well as all theater screens or displays, shall be oriented away from immediately neighboring residential areas and projections may not be substantially visible from the right-of-way. The projection system shall be designed so as not to negatively impact adjacent residential areas.
Outdoor motion picture theaters shall cease operations no later than 12:00 a.m. on weekdays and 1:00 a.m. on weekends. Any accessory bar counter shall cease operations no later than 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and 12:00 a.m. on weekends. The accessory bar counter may be open and operational only during times when the theater use is operational.
Any outdoor bar counter shall be located away from immediately neighboring residential areas and may not be substantially visible from the right-of-way.
The area surrounding any bar counter in which alcoholic beverages may be served shall be segregated to comply with the applicable requirements of chapter 6 of this Code, and shall incorporate sound attenuation devices in order to reduce the level of noise.
Theater seats shall be required at all times and shall not be removed from the movie viewing areas during all times the business is open. This shall not preclude the temporary removal of seats for cleaning and maintenance purposes.
Sec. 142-1109. – Accessory outdoor bar counters.
Accessory outdoor bar counters shall be prohibited as a main permitted use and shall only be permitted as an accessory use to an outdoor motion picture theater fronting on Alton Road as provided in section 142-310, an outdoor cafe with a minimum of 30 chairs or as an accessory use to a hotel pool deck. Accessory counters shall not be visible from any point along the property line adjacent to a public right-of-way.
Section 142-1161 – Height Exceptions.
The following new text is proposed:
For all districts, except RS-1, 2, 3 and 4 (single-family residential districts).
* * *
(20) Display or screen structures, projection devices, lobby, concession space, and sound attenuation and screening devices, serving an outdoor movie theater fronting on Alton Road as provided in section 142-310
and article IV, division 2 of this chapter.
Sec. 6-4. - Location and use restrictions.
The following modified text is proposed:
(4) Motion picture theaters. No alcohol beverages shall be sold or offered for consumption in any motion picture theater, or in any room opening directly or indirectly into or in connection with any motion picture theater, except alcohol beverages may be served in motion picture theaters (i) of at least 15,000 square feet in total floor area, (ii) containing at least 300 permanent auditorium seats, and (iii) which are located in CD-3 commercial, high intensity districts. Additionally, alcohol beverages may be sold or offered for consumption in outdoor motion picture theaters fronting Alton Road that meet the requirements of section 142-310, and article IV, division 2 of this chapter. Notwithstanding chapter 142, article 5, division 6 of the city Code,
a an indoor motion picture theater in which the sale and consumption of alcohol beverages is permitted shall not be considered a neighborhood impact establishment. Motion picture theaters shall not be permitted to operate between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., except that motion picture theaters may apply for up to three special event permits from the city per calendar year to operate during such hours. This section shall not relieve any person, entity or establishment from the restrictions contained in chapter 6, article II or the land development regulations of the city Code.
iii. Designated alcohol beverage consumption areas, including concession and cafe areas, and those specific auditoriums in which alcohol beverages may be served and consumed, must be clearly designated as such and separated from the remainder of the theater by a barrier or other physical demarcation. All alcohol beverages must be served from within the designated alcohol beverage consumption areas, and no alcohol beverages may be consumed or carried beyond the boundary limits of the designated alcohol beverage consumption areas. Access to the designated alcohol beverage consumption areas is restricted to patrons who can present a valid identification for inspection demonstrating they are 21 years of age or older. This restriction shall not apply to outdoor motion picture theaters fronting Alton Road that meet the requirements of section 142-310, and article IV, division 2 of this chapter.
(10) Entertainment establishments. The minimum distance separation between entertainment establishments licensed to sell alcohol beverages, and not also operating as restaurants with full kitchens and serving full meals, shall be 300 feet. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to outdoor motion picture theaters fronting Alton Road that meet the requirements of section 142-310.
The concept of an outdoor, roof-top movie theater venue is intriguing, as it would provide a unique and forward-thinking level of roof-top activation. Additionally, with the use of individual headphones, the negative impacts of spillover noise are reduced. Any proposed rooftop movie theater would be subject to the conditional use process and design review process. In addition to the criteria in the proposed ordinance, the application would have to comply with the conditional use criteria which serves to minimize any potential impacts from the use.
Regarding the specific proposal at 1212 Lincoln Road, and based upon the information provided by the developer to date, staff identified the following areas that will require more information and/or further development:
1. According to the Building Permit for the main building (B1505070) only 20 parking spaces are excess / surplus parking. A detailed roof top plan and floor plans for the proposal will be needed, in order to verify whether the operational attributes of theater utilize more than 20 parking spaces. Such roof plan will need to clearly delineate all of the components of the proposed theater, including, but not be limited to seating, café space, bar counter, concession areas, restrooms and all points of access. If more than 20 parking spaces are needed for the theater operation, an additional amendment to Chapter 130 may be required.
2. The location and operation of the accessory bar component of the proposal needs to be further studied, in order to prevent the venue from becoming an outdoor bar with an accessory theater use. To this end, it is suggested that the bar component be located closer to the east side of the roof, and that the areas for outdoor bar congregation and theater seating be segregated and tightly controlled. The proposed amendment requires that the location of these components be located away from the neighboring residential areas. However, as part of the conditional use process, any potential impacts must be verified.
3. The location of the movie screen should be placed on the west side of the roof top, with the projection facing east. The proposed ordinance requires that this component be oriented away from the neighboring residential areas and that it not be substantially visible from the public right of way. However, this must be verified as part of the conditional use process.
The proposed regulations would allow for the development of a roof-top theater, while ensuring that the quality of life for nearby residents is not negatively impacted. The conditional use and design review processes provide additional safeguards and opportunities for public input.
PLANNING BOARD REVIEW
On June 24, 2020 the Planning Board held a public hearing and transmitted the ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 6-0. The Planning Board also recommended the following modifications:
1. Outdoor motion picture theaters shall be limited to no more than one (1) screen or display per establishment.
2. The outdoor motion picture theater and accessory bar shall commence operations no earlier than 4:30 p.m.
3. Outdoor motion picture theaters shall have no more than three (3) movie showings per night.
The recommendations of the Planning Board are included in the draft ordinance for adoption.
The subject ordinance was approved at first reading on July 29, 2020.
The City Commission, at the request of Vice Mayor Mark Samuelian, requested that the City Attorneys Office and the administration work with him to bring back amenments at second reading regarding the boundaries of the proposal, as well as the impact on the surrounding area.
The adminmistration and the City Attorney met with Vice Mayor Samuelian, and the following is proposed for consideration:
1. Sound Attenuation.
An amendment to Sec. 142-310(a)(8)h as follows:
h. The area surrounding any bar counter in which alcoholic beverages may be served shall be segregated to comply with the applicable requirements of chapter 6 of this Code
, and. Additionally, this bar area, as well as any area that allows for the congregation of non-seated patrons, shall incorporate sound attenuation devices in order to reduce the level of noise. Such sound attenuation devices must be submitted as part of a sound study prepared by a licensed acoustical engineer, peer reviewed, and presented to the planning board as part of the review of the CUP application. The sound study shall include methods of absorbing and or re-directing sound and noise generated by ambient music and patron conversation.
2. Geographic Area. Since we are amending Alton Road Overlay area (west side only), we could not expand to the east (it would be 1 block only). Rather than amending the geographic boundary of the ordinance at 2nd reading on September 16, if the ordinance is adopted a separate referral to the Planning Board to amend the boundaries (16th to Collins Canal) would be made. Since this would be a new, separate referral, we could do the 30 day notice for either the October 2020 or November 2020 Planning Board and zoning in progress would initiate once the Planning Board transmits the ordinance with a favorable recommendation. First reading would likely be at the December 2020 City Commission meeting. We are not aware of another movie theatre operator that would come in prior to October/November PB. This would allow the existing ordinance to move forward w/o a re-notice.
3. Look-Back. As part of the adoption of the ordinance, the administration would be directed to provide the City Commission with a status update on the ordinance within one year, via LTC. This would be in addition to any and all progress reports and updates that may be required by the Planning Board under a future CUP.
The administration has no objection to any of the above noted proposals.