Item Coversheet

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

 Item 1

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: September 17, 2020




Discuss the items and endorse the recommendations and timelines provided herein for further discussion at the September 29, 2020 City Commission meeting.

Conclude the item and recommend that the City Commission endorse the recommendations and timelines provided herein for further discussion at the September 29, 2020 City Commission meeting.


On July 29, 2020, the City Commission referred the following items to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee (LUSC):

1. Item C4I, sponsored by Mayor Dan Gelber and co-sponsored by Commissioner Steven Meiner: Discussion pertaining to Land Use Regulations specific to Ocean Drive and the Mixed-Use Entertainment (MXE) Area.

2. Item C4J, sponsored by Commissioner Ricky Arriola: Discussion pertaining to the prohibition of stand-alone bars on Ocean Drive.

At the time of referral, the City Commission requested that these items, as well as a more global discussion on Ocean Drive and the surrounding area, be discussed at a special workshop of the LUSC on or before September 18, 2020. The City Commission indicated that the results of the workshop should be discussed at the September 29, 2020 City Commission meeting.


The MXE district regulations were developed in the early 1980s, as part of the first master plan for Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th Streets. These regulations were intended to incentivize the replacement of dated apartment regulations with active uses that incentivized hotel uses. In addition to the code regulations adopted, the physical make-up of the street was modified dramatically by introducing wider sidewalks and significantly improving Lummus Park.

These city sponsored changes coincided with the placement of the Miami Beach Architectural District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The placement of the Architectural District on the National Register was significant, because at that time it was the first National Register nomination consisting solely of 20th century architecture. More importantly, the National Register nomination set forth a path leading to local historic designation and the creation of a unique brand for Miami Beach, which is still known worldwide today.

The original intent of the MXE district regulations was to foster the renovation, restoration and preservation of the historic buildings in the district. Café, entertainment, restaurant and retail uses were required to be accessory to hotel or residential uses. Exceptions to this were made for buildings fronting Collins Avenue, as well as buildings that were two (2) stories or less on Ocean Drive. The widening of the sidewalk provided an opportunity for sidewalk seating to engage and interact with seating on private property and become a mechanism for people watching and experiencing the architecture of the district, as well as the natural environment across the street in Lummus Park.

While exceeding expectations, over the past decade Ocean Drive, and the larger MXE district, have experienced increasing challenges associated with alcoholic beverage and entertainment uses, all of which were intended to be subordinate to the main use of residential or hotel. To rediscover the beauty and intent of the National Register Architectural District, a re-focus on district priorities is recommended. This will entail a multi-prong approach, including updating regulations, incentivizing a renaissance of the original plan for Ocean Drive, stepping up enforcement, and creating ways to balance vehicular and pedestrian mobility.

In addition to the legislative items referred by the City Commission on July 29, 2020, the administration has also put together a comprehensive analysis and draft visioning for Ocean Drive titled “The Art Deco Cultural District Reimagined”. Collectively, the purpose of these recommendations is not to curate taste, cuisine or entertainment, but to revitalize the district and recapture its successful foundation as an Architectural District.

In early August, the administration convened a working group of internal staff to take a comprehensive look at all aspects of Ocean Drive and the larger MXE and CD-2 districts. This working group included key staff from the City Manager’s Office, Economic Development, Police, Fire, Planning, Transportation, Public Works, Tourism and Culture, Parking and Communications. The following is a summary of the specific strategies that resulted from the working group, in addition to the legislative referrals from the July 29, 2020 City Commission meeting. The concept is to build a foundation of information to allow for more detailed planning efforts needed to address the district, and potentially beyond.. The information, as well as short and long term recommendations, are broken down into six (6) categories to help organize these complex matters. The categories are as follows:

The Police Department will present a collection of strategies that they have been working on to improve the safety and security in the Art Deco Cultural District including infrastructure improvements, staffing modifications and suggestions to mitigate the current “anything goes” perception of visitors to the District. This will be a collaborative effort with the Code Compliance Department and Public Works Department in order to help bring about these improvements.

The Tourism and Culture Department will present a short plan and a long-term strategic structure to activate the entire South Beach Art and Cultural community with programming from 5th to 23rd Streets. This will include identifying opportunities for a more holistic approach to the selection and approval of quality programming, laying a foundation that will leverage the city’s cultural assets, and stimulating private and public investment to attract the creative economy back to Miami Beach. Some of these efforts will be collaborations with Property Management, Communications, Economic Development, Parking, Transportation and Parks.

Target Industries/Incentives
The attached memo provides the details of the recommendations surrounding target industries and potential ways to attract and maintain strategic businesses. The Economic Development Department will continue to work with the Planning Department to help facilitate these efforts as appropriate.

The Marketing and Communications Department will provide the details of a comprehensive citywide Branding strategy, which would include the reimagined MXE District and the roadmap to putting that in place. The department will collaborate with the Community, the Economic Development Department, the Tourism and Culture Department, as well as any other city departments that are key to making this a success.

The Transportation and Mobility Department will be presenting an overall assessment of the different modes and means of transportation within the District and connections to the adjacent neighborhoods. In addition, they will provide recommendations regarding the opportunities to make changes to the street designs to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and transit safety and connectivity while still maintaining emergency access and the functionality of all the different businesses in the area. The involvement of many departments including, but not limited to, Public Works, Police, Fire, Parking, Planning and Economic Development has helped inform the process that can expand in future discussions revolving around the General Obligation Bond improvements in the District.

Zoning Amendments (Including July 29, 2020 Commission Referrals)
The attached memo discusses multiple short and long term legislative recommendations that can bring about significant improvements to the District. These efforts by the Planning Department have been coordinated with the Police, Code Compliance and Economic Development Departments.

The aforementioned approach is comprehensive and contains strategies and tactics that are short term, medium term and long term. We look forward to partnering with the residents and businesses, as well as, the team that is selected to perform a comprehensive planning document with recommendations for the area. We understand that this will be a game changer for many that live, own, work or frequent the area, but these modifications can make significant changes over time that we believe can reinstitute the magic that many people around the world associate with Miami Beach.


Additional enforcement of existing regulations pertaining to noise and open containers, in conjunction with the proposed revisions to Chapter 6 and 46, as well as, Chapter 142, will play a key role in the overall success of this endeavor. Our enforcement arm needs to be used more judiciously, as well as in tandem with improved regulations. By creating the right environmental conditions, enforcement becomes more manageable.


The Administration recommends that the Land Use and Sustainability Committee endorse the recommendations and timelines proposed herein and refer the item to the full City Commission for discussion. Additionally, the following is recommended:

1. The City Commission refer the proposed ordinance amending Chapter 142 of the LDR’s to the Planning Board at their next available meeting.

2. The City Commission consider the proposed ordinance revising Chapter 6 and 46 of the City Code at their next available meeting.

Applicable Area

South Beach
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 


Target Industrices ATTACHMENTMemo
Zoning Amendment SUMMARYMemo
Draft TEXT - Chapters 6 and 46Memo
Draft Text - Chapter 142Memo
Alex Tachmes LetterMemo
Lambert MXE StudyMemo