Item Coversheet

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

 Item 6.

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: November 24, 2020



Conclude the item and recommend that the City Commission refer an ordinance to the Planning Board.

Conclude the item and recommend that the City Commission refer an ordinance to the Planning Board.


On May 8, 2019, at the request of Commissioner Michael Gongora, the City Commission referred the discussion item to the Land Use and Development Committee (Item C4 M). The item was deferred in July 2019 to the November 27, 2019 LUDC.

The November 27, 2019 and December 18, 2019 LUDC meetings were cancelled, and the item was moved to the January 21, 2020 agenda of the newly created Land Use and Sustainability Committee (LUSC). On January 21, 2020 the item was continued to the March 17, 2020 LUSC meeting, with direction to the administration to develop options for workforce and affordable housing when zoning incentives are proposed.

The March 17, 2020 LUSC was postponed, and the item was moved to the June 30, 2020 LUSC meeting. On June 30, 2020 the LUSC discussed the item and continued it to September 22, 2020 with direction to the administration to prepare a draft ordinance.


On September 22, 2020 a draft ordinance was discussed by the LUSC, and the item was continued to October 20, 2020.


Over the past several years, the City has approved modifications to zoning regulations, including several height increases, in order to address policy initiatives such as sea level rise, as well as encourage the revitalization of specific areas of the City. There have been concerns that some of these zoning incentives may be contributing to gentrification and the displacement of residents that have lived in certain areas for many years.

As such, it has been suggested that the City consider options to ensure that when future zoning incentives are adopted that regulations are in place to incentivize workforce and affordable housing continue to be provided and facilitate opportunities for those residents to remain in the City. The following is a summary of potential issues previously identified, as well as options to address this issue.

Conditional Zoning
The Administration is mindful that placing negotiated conditions for the development of affordable and workforce housing as part of an amendment to the Land Development Regulations (LDRs) on a case-by-case basis could be considered Conditional Zoning. Conditional Zoning is when non-standard restrictions are placed on an applicant in order to authorize an amendment to LDRs. In order to avoid such issues, it is suggested that a uniform public benefits program be established and considered for future zoning incentives.

Florida Statutes

Another consideration when linking affordable housing to zoning amendment requests such as height increases, is Section 166.04151 of the Florida Statutes. While this section allows municipalities to create mandates for affordable housing, it also contains provisions pertaining to the cost of implementing the measure being offset. The following is the applicable portion of the section:

166.04151 Affordable housing.—
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a municipality may adopt and maintain in effect any law, ordinance, rule, or other measure that is adopted for the purpose of increasing the supply of affordable housing using land use mechanisms such as inclusionary housing ordinances.

(2) An inclusionary housing ordinance may require a developer to provide a specified number or percentage of affordable housing units to be included in a development or allow a developer to contribute to a housing fund or other alternatives in lieu of building the affordable housing units. However, in exchange, a municipality must provide incentives to fully offset all costs to the developer of its affordable housing contribution. Such incentives may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Allowing the developer density or intensity bonus incentives or more floor space than allowed under the current or proposed future land use designation or zoning;
(b) Reducing or waiving fees, such as impact fees or water and sewer charges; or
(c) Granting other incentives.

Placing affordable housing mandates into the code will need to be carefully evaluated, as the amount of incentives that the City can offer to fully offset the cost is limited due to floor area ratio (FAR) limitations. Instead, utilizing other legislative amendments not related to FAR, such as future height increases, as an incentive to encourage developers to build affordable and workforce housing, would likely be more consistent with State Statute. For example, if a developer builds within the height limits currently in place, they would not be required to provide any workforce or affordable housing. However, if the developer wished to utilize additional height provided by a height bonus, then an affordable or workforce housing component or monetary contribution (public benefits) could potentially be required.

Pubic Benefits Program
Public Benefits programs are common in other zoning ordinances for projects seeking additional height, floor area, density or similar incentives. It is also known as incentive zoning or incentive bonuses. They are contained in the zoning ordinances of the City of Miami, Panama City, Seattle, several cities in California, and even Miami Beach. However, the programs vary in the types of incentives that they provide and the public benefits that they require.

The North Beach Town Center – Central Core (TC-C) district currently contains a public benefits program that must be utilized for floor area located above 125 feet. This program requires the developer to select a public benefit option from a list in order to be allowed to develop buildings taller than 125 feet. The public benefit options include the following:

• Contribution to the public benefits fund;
• Provide on-site affordable or workforce housing;
• Provide off-site workforce or affordable housing;
• Obtain LEED Platinum Certification;
• Provide self-sustaining electrical and surplus stormwater retention and reuse;
• Provide active recreation facilities that are available to the general public; and
• Provide expedited development construction.

In order to prevent potential issues with conditional zoning, it is suggested that a general public benefits program be created, in a fashion that is similar to the TC-C public benefits program.

For example, if height increases are proposed in the future, rather than providing the height increase as of right, the ordinances could be drafted so that the height increase requires participation in the general public benefits program. In this regard, if a 20 foot height increase was sought in a zoning district with an underlying maximum height of 50 feet, rather than simply changing the maximum height to 70 feet, the amending ordinance could be drafted to indicate that “an additional 20 feet of height is provided, subject to participation in the general public benefits program.” If the development were built within the existing maximum height limits, public benefits would not be required.

The general public benefits program can be tailored so that the options are only related to workforce and affordable housing, as follows:

• Providing payment into a workforce and affordable housing fund;
• Providing workforce and affordable housing on-site; and
• Providing workforce and affordable housing off-site.

The existing program for the TC-C district currently has a fee of $3 per square foot located above 125 feet, subject to consumer price index (CPI) increases. This fee was established pursuant to an economic study that analyzed the net present value of having a unit located on a higher floor as opposed to a lower floor. In the TC-C district, the funds are deposited into the North Beach Public Benefits Fund; however, for a general public benefits program, the funds could be deposited into a new workforce and affordable housing fund. The City would be able to use these funds for its own workforce and affordable housing developments.

The TC-C public benefits program also provides for two (2) square feet of floor area for every square foot of workforce or affordable housing provided on-site and one (1) square foot for every square foot provided off-site. Similar criteria would be suggested for a general public benefits program.

Sea Level Rise Mitigation
In light of the City’s resiliency concerns, it would not be recommended that these options be required for modest increases in height that apply to the ground floor of buildings in order to improve their ability to adapt to sea level rise and climate change, as those increases are not focused on encouraging redevelopment.

Pursuant to the direction of the LUSC, the administration has drafted the attached ordinance that establishes a citywide public benefits program within the land development regulations. The draft ordinance provides that any height built above a base height would require participation in the citywide public benefits program. This threshold, with additional input, could also be expanded to include benchmarks related to unit size, minimum parking requirements and setbacks.

Pursuant to the proposed ordinance, participation in the program would be enabled through future height increases, whereby a developer could build a building up to the base building height without participating. Any authorized height in excess of the base building height would require participation in the public benefits program. As drafted, the ordinance allows for the following options:

1. Contribution to a Citywide Public Benefits Fund in the amount of $5 per square foot located above the base building height.
2. Development of on-site workforce or affordable housing, allowing for two (2) square feet above the base building height for every square foot of workforce or affordable housing provided.
3. Development of off-site workforce or affordable housing, allowing for one and one-half (1.5) square feet above the base building height for each square foot of workforce or affordable housing provided off-site.

The expenditure of revenue in the Citywide Public Benefits Fund would require City Commission approval with a recommendation from the City Manager. The draft provides that the funds can be used five (5) options. The uses are the following:

1. Development of workforce and affordable housing.
2. Acquisition of housing units to provide workforce and affordable housing.
3. Workforce and affordable housing rent subsidies.
4. Private property maintenance and rehabilitation grants in exchange for long-term maintenance of naturally occurring workforce and affordable rents.
5. Initiatives that increase access to workforce and affordable housing.

In regards, to item number 4, the proposal is that the City would be able to help private property owners preserve naturally occurring affordable housing that currently exists in the City. It is often the case that such housing needs repairs, such as window replacements and roof repairs. Generally, when repairs do take place, the rents tend to rise to less affordable levels in order to offset the costs. In order to maintain the rents at existing rates, the City could provide the property owners with grants to assist them in making necessary repairs in exchange for agreeing to maintain the rents at affordable levels for a specified period, such as 10 years. The specific requirements to administer such a program would be established within Chapter 58 of the City Code, which is related to housing. If the City Commission would like to explore this option, it recommended that a separate ordinance be considered, so that specific parameters of such a program can be explored.


The administration recommends that the Land Use and Sustainability Committee discuss the item. If there is consensus, it is further recommend that the LUSC provide a recommendation to the City Commission to refer the attached ordinance, as well as any required companion amendment to Chapter 58 of the City Code, to the Planning Board.

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 ORDMemo