Item Coversheet

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

 Item 2

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: November 24, 2020

Discuss the item and recommend that the Planning Board transmit the attached ordinances to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation.

Conclude the item and recommend that the Planning Board transmit the attached ordinances to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation.


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 special workshop of the LUSC was held on September 17, 2020.

On October 14, 2020, at the request of Mayor Dan Gelber, the City Commission referred the proposed draft ordinances to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee (LUSC) and the Planning Board by (item C4I). These ordinances were part of the recommendations presented at the special workshop of the LUSC on September 17, 2020.


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 early August 2020, the administration convened a working group of internal staff to take a comprehensive look at all aspects of Ocean Drive and the larger MXE district. 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. This working group put together a comprehensive analysis and draft visioning for Ocean Drive titled “The Art Deco Cultural District Reimagined”. Collectively, the purpose of the recommendations is not to curate taste, cuisine or entertainment, but to revitalize the district and recapture its successful foundation as an Architectural District.

The following are the specific strategies that resulted from the working group, in addition to the legislative referrals from the July 29, 2020 City Commission meeting:

1. Safety/Security

2. Activation

3. Target Industries/Incentives

4. Branding

5. Transportation/Transit

6. Zoning Amendments (Including July 29, 2020 Commission Referrals)

The concept behind these strategies is to establish a foundation of information to allow for more detailed planning efforts needed to address the district, and potentially beyond. Each of these strategies, all of which have short- and long-term recommendations, were discussed at length during the September 17, 2020 LUSC workshop.

The following is a brief summary of the specific amendments to the Land Development Regulations (LDR’s) that were discussed at the September 17, 2020 LUSC workshop. Each amendment is attached as a separate draft ordinance.

Chapter 142 – MXE Development and Use Regulations

Most of the revisions proposed in the attached draft amendment to chapter 142 are for clarification and clean-up purposes. The following substantive changes are proposed:

• Prohibition of Future Stand-Alone Bars / Drinking Uses – In order to minimize the negative impacts created by alcoholic beverage establishments, the proposed amendment limits these uses to serving as accessory to a restaurant use, wherever possible. An exception to this would be interior hotel lobby bars.

• Rooftop Uses – Commercial rooftop uses shall be limited to restaurant use. This shall not preclude the use of the roof top for hotel guest amenities. Additionally, commercial roof top uses would only be permitted if minimum benchmarks for hotel development are satisfied.

• Artisanal Retail and Experiential Retail as Accessory Uses - With rapid changes occurring in the retail sector, many people are seeking out new and interesting experiences when they visit an area that they cannot find locally. This especially includes seeking unique, locally produced goods at the source. In order to allow for this, there would need to be a blending of retail with low intensity industrial production, known as artisanal retail. Microbreweries are the most popular form of artisanal retail; however, there are others which produce consumer-oriented goods, food, works of art, clothing, personal care items, and others. In such establishments the goods are produced and sold on-site to retail customers. Such uses may create a new and exciting attraction for Ocean Drive, while creating jobs. People are also seeking unique experiences related to art and interactivity as part of the retail experience. This can include people interacting with art, multimedia, incorporating lessons and lectures, and many other creative features. Due to the methods of construction of some of the historic buildings, it may be difficult for them to be retrofit to accommodate such uses in certain buildings; however, where they can be accommodated, they would provide a great benefit for the area.

Multi-Story Additions on Collins Avenue
Currently, the Land Development Regulations limit habitable rooftop additions to existing buildings located within the MXE along Collins Avenue to 1-story with a maximum floor to ceiling height of 12’-0”. Since the maximum permitted height within this portion of Collins Avenue is 50’-0”, this regulation has had the unintended consequence of requiring additional demolition of contributing buildings in order to accommodate 4 and 5-story new rear additions.

In order to incentivize hotel additions, as well as a high caliber of hotel operation, some latitude in the distribution of allowable FAR within properties along Collins Avenue is recommended. In this regard, the ability to build more than a one-story addition would be predicated upon meeting certain hotel standards and definable, operational benchmarks.

The proposed amendment would give the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) the authority to approve multi-story rooftop additions for existing buildings on the east side of Collins Avenue. This would likely encourage the retention and restoration of portions of contributing buildings that may otherwise be proposed for demolition. Additionally, it could foster connections over Ocean Court to properties on Ocean Drive.

The attached draft amendment would allow for the maximum height of a building with any addition to exceed 50 feet, but not exceed 75 feet, in accordance with the following:

1. The main use on the property shall be hotel; residential or commercial uses shall not be permitted as a main use.

2. The property shall contain at least one contributing building. Any contributing building shall be renovated in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, including public interior spaces and all guest rooms.

3. The building shall have central air conditioning or flush-mounted wall units; however, no air conditioning equipment may face a street.

4. All non-impact resistant windows and doors and doors shall be replaced with impact resistant windows and doors.

5. Any proposed building height in excess of 50 feet shall be at the discretion of the historic preservation board and shall not be visible when viewed from the east side of Ocean Drive.

6. All additions proposed pursuant to this subsection shall be evaluated in accordance with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria in chapter 118 of these land development regulations, as well as the following: (i) the addition enhances the architectural contextual balance of the surrounding area; (ii) the addition is appropriate to the scale and architecture of the existing building; (iii) the addition maintains the architectural character of the existing building in an appropriate manner; and (iv) the addition minimizes the impact of existing mechanical equipment or other rooftop elements.

7. There shall be no variances from this provision.

The HPB would evaluate each individual proposal in accordance with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria, as well the additional criteria specific to the individual building and the surrounding area. Additionally, any multi-story rooftop addition for a property located along the east side of Collins Avenue would not be permitted to be visible when viewed from the east side of Ocean Drive.

It is also important to note that the ground floor elevation of many contributing buildings along Collins Avenue are below the currently required base flood elevation plus freeboard. As such, ground floors may be converted to non-habitable or accessory commercial uses. This will further incentivize the retention and restoration of contributing buildings.

Parking Incentives
Additions to existing buildings and new construction are subject to the high parking requirements of Parking District No. 1. Since most sites in the area contain contributing structures, they do not have the ability to provide required parking on-site. As a result, developing any additions to buildings requires the payment of a fee-in-lieu of required parking, which is currently $40,000 per parking space. Due to the high parking requirements in the Code, this fee can, and has, become prohibitively expensive and inhibited the development of beneficial additions.

Unlike the late 1980’s, when parking spaces were scarce, and number of multi-level parking storage facilities have been constructed since 1991. These facilities have direct access from Collins Avenue, and are located at 5th Street, 7th Street, 10th Street, 13th Street and 16th Street. The attached draft amendment proposes to remove the dated off-street parking requirements in this area, in order to facilitate the development of additions that will help fund building restorations and improved operations.


The administration recommends that the LUSC endorse the proposals and recommend that the Planning Board transmit the attached draft ordinances to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation.

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 


Chapter 142 DRAFT ORDMemo
Collins Avenue Additions - DRAFT REGSMemo
Parking Incentives - DRAFT REGSMemo