Item Coversheet

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

 Item 1

TO: Land Use and Sustainability Committee

FROM: Alina T. Hudak, City Manager

DATE: July 7, 2022



On April 6, 2022, the City Commission referred the subject discussion item to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee (C4AA). On May 25, 2022, the City Commission referred the item to the Planning Board (C4F). The sponsor of the item is Commissioner David Richardson.

On May 13, 2022 the LUSC discussed the item and continued it to the July 7, 2022 LUSC meeting with the following direction to the Administration:

1. Provide a summary of the recommendations of the Historic Preservation Board.

2. Further develop the ideas and concepts in the LUSC memo.

The item sponsor would like the LUSC to consider the appropriateness of development incentives for the conversion of existing hotels and applicable accessory uses on the east side of Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, within the MXE district south of 15th Street. This study should include consideration of height and floor area ratio (FAR) incentives for the redevelopment of hotels as residential or office buildings.

Consistent with the City’s holistic approach to the MXE mixed use entertainment district, corresponding amendments to the district’s accessory uses may be necessary to promote compatible restaurant and retail development. Additionally, pursuant to Section 1.03(c) of the City Charter, any increase in FAR would be subject to voter approval.

These properties are within the Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue local historic district; therefore, any new development application would require review and approval of a Certificate of Appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Board.


The City Commission has requested that the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) and the larger preservation community partner with the City to address the long-term viability of our historic assets, in a comprehensive manner. The emphasis would be on the long-term preservation of contributing buildings, while addressing the current imbalance of accessory uses in relation to main uses. Some of the potential strategies for discussion would include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Tools and options to incentivize the adaptive re-use of buildings and ensure the long-term economic vitality of buildings.

2. The use of FAR, height and other zoning incentives, including Transfer of Development Rights (TDR’s)

UPDATE (July 7, 2022 LUSC)
Since the May 13, 2022, LUSC, the previous Ordinance amendment pertaining to a height increase on the east side of Collins Avenue in the MXE district was withdrawn by the item sponsor. In response to the direction of the LUSC, an new overlay Ordinance has been prepared, which provides a comprehensive approach regarding uses, intensity (FAR) and allowable height, as well as a defined framework for achieving the City’s future vision for the MXE district.

The attached Ordinance would establish the Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive MXE Overlay. This Overlay would include the properties located east of Collins Avenue (including Ocean Drive), between 5th Street and 16th Street, with an underlying MXE zoning district (see attached Overlay Site Map).

The proposed overlay includes tangible incentives to encourage the development of a mix of residential, hotel and office uses to balance and diversify the City’s economic base, as well as improve the overall quality of life of area residents. Additionally, the overlay seeks to reduce the number and intensity of high impact outdoor and open air entertainment establishments that negatively impact the overlay area, and transform the neighborhood into one that is more balanced in terms of uses and fosters a live, work, and play environment. The overlay intends to facilitate improvements to properties, while maintaining the architectural and historic character of the existing building typology.

The overlay provides incentives through the approval of a Special Development Plan (SDP) by the City Commission. The SDP would be subject to the same approval process as an ordinance amendment, including Planning Board review, and would be subject to the following requirements:

• The SDP shall be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

• The SDP shall contain a minimum of two (2) platted lots.

• Each application shall be accompanied by a site plan meeting the requirements of section 118-1, and such other information as may be required for a determination of the nature of the proposal and its effect on the Comprehensive Plan, the neighborhood, and surrounding properties.

• Each SDP would contain a sunset provision, as may be determined by the City Commission, in which the approved incentives shall no longer be available for the development of the site.

• The SDP shall not supersede the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) processes in Chapter 118, Article X of the LDR’s.

• The SDP shall not supersede any other Land Use Board process as may be required by the LDRs.

The primary incentive offered through an SDP is a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) increase. For reference, the underlying FAR in the MXE district is 2.0. The proposed FAR increase is as follows:

• The maximum FAR shall not exceed 3.0.

• For any legally non-conforming development with an FAR that exceeds 3.0, the legal nonconforming floor area may be retained and/or reconstructed. An additional FAR of 0.50 shall be available above the legally nonconforming floor area with a cap of 3.5.

Additionally, as part of the SDP, the City Commission may consider granting relief from the requirements of the following development regulations, based upon the specifics of an SDP proposal:

• Maximum Building Height.

• Setback Requirements.

• Additional Regulations for New Construction.

• Allowable Encroachments Within Required Yards.

• Height Regulation Exceptions.

• Off-street parking requirements, provided that the development provides for alternative modes of transportation.

The proposed overlay also encourages unified development sites with lots fronting on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. To this end the movement of FAR from properties fronting Ocean Drive to properties fronting Collins Avenue is encouraged through Ocean Court alley vacations as follows:

• The City Commission may grant vacations of the Ocean Court alley, including the sale of air rights, in order to allow for unified development sites that contain properties that front Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, subject to the requirements of the City Charter and City Code.

• The vacation shall include a perpetual easement in favor of the City over the ROW, to ensure continued public use of the ROW for City access, pedestrian and vehicular travel, and utilities.

• The vacated alley shall be improved to enhance the beauty of the neighborhood. Improvements may include enhanced hardscape, lighting, and artistic elements. The vacated alley shall be maintained clean and free from debris.

• Where feasible, indoor storage areas for deliveries and garbage pickup shall be provided abutting the alley.

• Pedestrian bridges may be allowed to provide physical connections between the unified lots, subject to the review and approval of all applicable City Departments and provided they do not impede vehicular travel.

In order to safeguard the quality of life and character of the community from any potential impacts of these incentives, the City Commission can include any and all necessary conditions as part of the SDP. Additionally, the FAR and SDP incentives would only available to projects that comply with the following regulations:

• The main use on the property shall consist of residential, hotel and/or office.

• Outdoor or open-air entertainment shall be prohibited anywhere on the property.

• The sale alcohol within outdoor areas shall be limited to restaurants with table seating, and only permitted until 12:00 am midnight, 7 days a week.


•  The property owner or condominium association, as applicable, voluntarily proffers to record a restrictive covenant running with the land, in a form approved by the City Attorney, prohibiting short-term rentals on the property in perpetuity.

• All legally nonconforming uses shall cease operation.

• Existing buildings shall be fully renovated.

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

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

• Developments are encouraged to incorporate accessory uses that promote arts and culture.

• Approval of hotel uses, including all accessory uses to the hotel, shall be at the discretion of the City Commission within the SDP. A detailed hotel and accessory use operations plan shall be provided to the City Commission, and the use of hotel within the SDP shall be at the complete discretion of the City Commission.

The proposed LDR amendment establishing the overlay has a companion Comprehensive Plan amendment, to authorize the implementation of the FAR incentives within the MXE future land use category. The remainder of the incentives are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

The proposal to increase the FAR is affected by Section 1.03(c) of the City Charter, which partially states the following:

The floor area ratio of any property or street end within the City of Miami Beach shall not be increased by zoning, transfer, or any other means from its current zone floor area ratio as it exists on the date of adoption of this Charter Amendment (November 7, 2001), including any limitations on floor area ratios which are in effect by virtue of development agreements through the full term of such agreements, unless such increase in zone floor area ratio for any such property shall first be approved by a vote of the electors of the City of Miami Beach.

Accordingly, the proposed increase in FAR contemplated in the overlay Ordinance requires an affirmative vote by a majority of City of Miami Beach voters.

The proposal herein reflects a comprehensive approach to balancing the economic realities of development within the MXE district and maintaining the character defining scale and identity of the City’s signature postcard. It is also important to note that any development seeking incentives via an SPD approval will also require the review and approval of the historic preservation board, pursuant to the certificate of appropriateness criteria.

The Planning Board was scheduled to review and consider the transmittal of the subject overlay Ordinance, as well as provide a recommendation on the proposed FAR increase, at their June 21, 2022, meeting. Unfortunately, the Board lost quorum before it could consider this item and it was automatically continued to the July 26, 2022, Planning Board agenda. As such, the City Commission will not be able to consider the proposed Ordinance at First Reading on July 20, 2022.

Notwithstanding, a separate, stand-alone ballot question for the FAR increase proposed herein, or similar FAR increase, can still be placed on the November 2022 ballot, provided the ballot language is approved by the City Commission no later than July 20, 2022. In this regard, such ballot question could be structured around the provisions of the proposed overlay Ordinance, and if approved by the voters in November, the enabling legislation could move forward in December.


The Administration recommends that the Land Use and Sustainability Committee endorse the attached draft Ordinance and recommend that the City Commission consider a ballot question for the proposed increase in FAR.

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 


Draft ORDOrdinance