Item Coversheet

Ordinances - R5  E




COMMISSION MEMORANDUM

TO:Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Commission 
FROM:Raul J. Aguila, Interim City Manager 
DATE:February  10, 2021
 

First Reading

SUBJECT:

HEIGHT LIMITS FOR OFFICE USES - SUNSET HARBOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

AN ORDINANCE OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA, AMENDING CHAPTER 142, "ZONING DISTRICTS AND REGULATIONS," ARTICLE II, "DISTRICT REGULATIONS," AT DIVISION 5, "CD-2 COMMERCIAL, MEDIUM INTENSITY DISTRICT," SECTION 142-306, "DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS," TO ALLOW FOR ADDITIONAL HEIGHT AND ESTABLISH DEVELOPMENT CRITERIA FOR OFFICE DEVELOPMENTS LOCATED IN THE SUNSET HARBOUR NEIGHBORHOOD; AND PROVIDING FOR CODIFICATION, REPEALER, SEVERABILITY, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE.


RECOMMENDATION

The Administration recommends that the City Commission approve the subject Ordinance at First Reading and schedule a Second Reading public hearing for March 17, 2021.

BACKGROUND/HISTORY

On June 24, 2020, at the request of Mayor Dan Gelber, a discussion item pertaining to strategic increases in height for office uses was referred to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee (C4C). At the time of referral, Commissioner David Richardson became a co-sponsor. The Land Use and Sustainability Committee (LUSC) discussed the proposal on July 21, 2020, and continued the item to September 22, 2020, with the following general direction:

1. Provide additional information regarding existing office space inventory in the City and identify the best locations to incentivize office space.

2. Further study the areas proposed for office height incentives and look at other commercial areas.

3. Further study the minimum floor area benchmark for offices.

On September 22, 2020 the LUSC discussed the item and transmitted it to the full City Commission, in accordance with the following:

1. A recommendation in favor of the proposed height increase for Terminal Island.

2. No recommendation as to the areas fronting Alton Road from 5th Street to Collins Canal.

3. No recommendation as to Sunset Harbour.

The LUSC also recommended that the City Commission consider the following:

1. Requiring visual images and massing studies for all areas/future development subject to the proposed height incentive, and not just the specific applicants seeking the change.

2. Potential quality of life and community/public benefits.

3. Sunset provision for the height incentive (i.e. deadline to obtain a building permit).

4. Requirements for neighborhood-serving uses or other activation at the first level of each building.

5. The inclusion of specific areas within North Beach in the scope of the Ordinance.

On October 14, 2020, the City Commission considered the referral request (item C4G), and took the following actions:

1. The Terminal Island and Alton Road portions of the legislation were referred to the Planning Board.

2. The Sunset Harbour portion of the legislation, as well as additional discussion pertaining to the potential inclusion of areas in North Beach, were continued to the November 18, 2020 City Commission meeting, as an R9 discussion item.

3. The Administration was directed to come back with potential options regarding parking requirements in the Sunset Harbour area that could potentially address the compatibility of increased building height.

On November 18, 2020, the City Commission continued the item related to Sunset Harbour to the December 9, 2020 meeting. On December 9, 2020, the City Commission discussed the Sunset Harbour office height proposal, and referred an Ordinance pertaining to a building height increase for a smaller area within the neighborhood to the Land Use and Sustainability Committee and the Planning Board, for review and recommendation.

On December 15, 2020, the LUSC discussed the proposal, and recommended the following:

1. Further study an increase in the minimum lot size to be eligible for the office height incentive.

2. The Administration shall further study allowable height exceptions.

ANALYSIS

PLANNING ANALYSIS
The attached draft Ordinance text was prepared by the representative of a property owner in the Sunset Harbour area, who is seeking to develop a mixed-use project with an office component. The draft Ordinance applies to developments located in the block within the Sunset Harbour neighborhood bounded by Dade Boulevard on the south, Purdy Avenue on the west, 18th Street on the north, and Bay Road on the east. Within this area, a height increase from 55 feet to 65 feet may be permitted, provided the following benchmarks are met:

1. The development must consist solely of office use above the ground level of the structure, except for allowable bonus floor area for residential or hotel uses. Residential and hotel uses may be permitted on such properties up to a maximum FAR of 2.0 pursuant to Section 142-307(d)(1), but only if the first 1.5 FAR of development is dedicated to office use and ground floor commercial use.

2. The development must be located on lots with a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet.

3. A full building permit for a tower pursuant to this Section must be issued no later than December 31, 2022.

Pursuant to the direction of the LUSC on December 15, 2020, the threshold for eligibility has been increased from a minimum lot size of 7,500 square feet to 10,000 square feet. As it pertains to additional regulations for height exceptions, staff believes that this would be best addressed as part of a broader set of overlay development regulations for the larger Sunset Harbour area, which was recently endorsed by the LUSC and is pending referral to the Planning Board. This overlay proposal includes, among other things, strategic height increases within defined geographic areas and other more area specific development regulations.

The proposed Ordinance would allow a previously approved development to seek an additional ten (10) feet of height, provided the development program is not significantly altered from the approved plans. This would permit a developer to increase floor-to-ceiling heights of the office floors to make them more economically viable. A visual study comparing the applicant’s proposed development with, and without, the additional ten (10) feet is attached for reference. As shown in these illustrations, within the context of the larger block, the additional height is modest and does not significantly alter the scale of the development.

PLANNING BOARD REVIEW
On January 26, 2021, 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. Additionally, the Planning Board made the following recommendations for the City Commission’s consideration regarding the proposed ordinance by a vote of 5-1:

1. Require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a development to obtain the additional 10 feet height for projects exceeding 15,000 square feet within the pilot area’s boundaries; this would not apply to projects that already have a CUP.

2. Incorporate regulations to activate the ground floor.

3. Incorporate regulations to enhance the streetscape.

SUPPORTING SURVEY DATA

Regulation and management of new development

CONCLUSION

The Administration recommends that the City Commission approve the subject Ordinance at First Reading, with no modifications, and schedule a Second Reading public hearing for March 17, 2021.

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 
Legislative Tracking
Planning
Sponsor
Mayor Dan Gelber and Commissioner David Richardson

ATTACHMENTS:
Description
Visual Illustration and Comparison
Form Approved ORD