Item Coversheet

Ordinances - R5  J


TO:Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Commission 
FROM:Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager 
DATE:November  14, 2018

5:02 p.m. Second Reading Public Hearing





The Administration recommends that the City Commission adopt the Ordinance.


On December 13, 2017, at the request of Commissioner Ricky Arriola, a discussion pertaining to the recent voter approval of an increase in FAR (to 3.5) for the Town Center district was referred to the Land Use and Development Committee (Item C4AA). A similar discussion pertaining to the North Beach Master Plan recommendations for the Town Center (TC) zoning districts, which was previously pending before the Land Use and Development Committee (LUDC), was continued at the June 14, 2017 LUDC meeting to the January 2018 LUDC.

On February 7, 2018, the LUDC discussed the general parameters of a proposed FAR overlay for the first time and continued the item to a date certain of March 14, 2018, with direction to staff to prepare a draft overlay Ordinance. Subsequent to the February 7, 2018 LUDC meeting, Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman requested to be a co-sponsor of the item.

On March 14, 2018 the LUDC continued the item to the May 23, 2018 meeting at the request of the sponsor. On May 23, 2018 the Administration made a PowerPoint presentation on the broad points of the proposed overlay. The Land Use and Development Committee discussed the item and continued it to the June 13, 2018 meeting.

On June 13, 2018 the LUDC discussed the item and recommended that the Draft Ordinance be referred to the Planning Board and that a Letter to Commission (LTC) be drafted summarizing the discussion of the LUDC (see attached). Additionally, the LUDC continued the item to their July 31, 2018 meeting, in order to review the Transmittal Recommendation of the Planning Board and to make a formal recommendation prior to First Reading at the City Commission.

On June 26, 2018, the Planning Board discussed the proposed ordinance.

On July 2, 2018, the City Commission referred the proposed Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations (LDR) amendments to the Planning Board. Additionally, the City Commission requested that the Planning Board specifically discuss and provide recommendations on the following:

1. Building Height;
2. Parking;
3. Number of Hotel Units;
4. Co-living and Micro Units;
5. Affordable Housing Component; and
6. Public Benefits.

On July 31, 2018 the Land Use and Development Committee reviewed the proposed Ordinance Amendment, including the specific recommendations of the Planning Board. The Land Use Committee continued the discussion of the item to their September 5, 2018 to discuss the following three pending items:

1. Maximum Building Height
2. Co-Living Units
3. Public Benefits

The September 5, 2018 Land Use Committee meeting has been moved to September 28, 2018.

On November 7, 2017 the voters of the City of Miami Beach approved an increase in FAR to 3.5 for the area of the TC district bounded by 69th Street on the south, Collins Avenue on the east, 72nd Street on the north and Indian Creek Drive/Dickens Avenue on the west. These boundaries approved for an FAR increase, include properties with the following zoning districts:

• TC-1 (previous maximum FAR of 2.25 – 2.75);

• TC-2 (previous maximum FAR of 1.50 – 2.00);

• TC-3 (previous maximum FAR of 1.25).

Pursuant to the approved ballot question, the maximum FAR for all zoning districts within the specified boundaries has been permitted by the voters to be increased to 3.5. In order to effectuate the proposed FAR increase, a separate enabling ordinance was referred to the Planning Board by the City Commission on January 17, 2018. On February 27, 2018, the Planning Board transmitted this ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation. This enabling legislation was adopted by the City Commission on May 16, 2018.

The initial December 13, 2017 City Commission referral to the Land Use Committee was to develop a comprehensive planning strategy for the Town Center area approved for the 3.5 FAR increase. On February 7, 2018, the Land Use and Development Committee discussed the referral for the first time, and recommended that the following be considered for inclusion in a draft ordinance:

1. The creation of special regulations for the boundaries approved for a 3.5 FAR (FAR overlay).

2. Strategic increases in maximum allowable building height in order to better accommodate the new 3.5 FAR. At a minimum, maximum building height will need to be increased in TC-2 (current maximum height of 50’) and TC-3 (current maximum height of 45’) districts.

3. In conjunction with increases in height, modified setback regulations should be explored, as follows:

• For properties along 69th street, which have adjoining RM-1(max height: 50’) and CD-2 (max height: 50’) districts to the south.

• For the properties along Indian Creek Drive, which have adjoining RM-1(max height: 50’), RM-2(max height: 60’) and TC-3(max height: 45’) districts to the west.

• Additional tower side setbacks and /or tower separation requirements for development sites along 72nd Street, in order to prevent a continuous wall and potential shading of what could be a park north of 72nd Street.

4. The location of certain, more intense allowable uses within the overlay, in order to address existing, lower scale / less intense uses to the south (along 69th Street) and west (along Indian Creek Drive).

5. All existing zoning district categories (TC-1, 2, 3 & 3c) should be looked at holistically throughout the entire overlay, with particular emphasis on existing properties that cross zoning district boundaries (e.g. abutting parcels that currently have TC-1 and TC-3 classifications).

6. Lot aggregation requirements, in addition to potential increases in maximum building heights, in order to ensure that the increased FAR, particularly within existing TC-2 and TC-3 areas, is appropriately distributed.

7. A review of off-street parking requirements for all uses within the overlay should be conducted, including the impact of transit, ride share and non-vehicular modes of transportation, as well as a revised mix of uses, on off-street parking storage.

8. Standards and requirements for street trees and sidewalk canopy that would be applicable to the entire overlay.

Additionally, the LUDC discussed the issues in the North Beach Master Plan: walkability, safe streets, partnerships, mobility, affordable housing and, generally, quality of life.

Pursuant to the direction of the Land Use Committee on February 7, 2018, a first draft of the Ordinance was prepared for discussion at the March 14, 2018 LUDC. Subsequent to the item being continued on March 14, 2018, staff further developed the proposed overlay ordinance, which was presented to the LUDC on June 13, 2018.

The proposed ordinance incorporates the elements of design in the North Beach Master Plan and in the FAR Voter Guide from the last election. It is a balanced approach intended to spur sustainable development to revitalize North Beach. Staff has listened to public comment and Commission direction over the last few months/years in order to produce this Ordinance. Given the rather small size of the area and the different important goals for North Beach this is the professional urban planning recommendation of the Administration.

The revised draft ordinance proposes to establish a TC-C, Town Center – Central Core zoning district with an FAR of 3.5, and would replace the TC-1, TC-2, TC-3, and TC-3(c) districts within the boundaries of the area established by the FAR referendum. Staff believes that this will provide for a more uniform and cohesive Town Center area, allowing for a seamless distribution of allowable FAR, height, setbacks and uses. The remainder of TC districts outside the boundaries of the overlay area will not be affected by these regulations.

The regulations proposed in the draft ordinance are consistent with the recommendations of the North Beach Master Plan and the referenced guidelines in the Intensity Increase Study prepared by Shulman + Associates in 2014. The Shulman Study analyzed the impact of allowing buildings with increased height and FAR and made recommendations as to setbacks to ensure that views were protected, sidewalks are sufficiently wide, and that air and light corridors are accommodated between towers.

The following is a summary of the development regulations within the proposed draft ordinance, as referred by the City Commission to the Planning Board on July 2, 2018:

Building Height
The maximum building height proposed in the draft ordinance is 125 feet for the entire TC-C district, with the ability to increase the height up to 200 feet with participation in a Public Benefits program explained below. For reference the current maximum allowable height regulations are as follows (See attached map titled “Current Zoning and Height Limits”):

• TC-1: 125 feet
• TC-2: 50 feet
• TC-3: 45 feet.

Also attached to this memorandum are various massing studies, which provide examples of how this massing could be achieved and how it would appear from surrounding areas. Please note for reference neighboring tall building heights.

Public Benefits

Participation in a public benefits program would be required for building height beyond 125 feet. The ordinance outlines several potential options which may be utilized to achieve the additional height; however, it is proposed that the height not exceed 200 feet. The draft ordinance includes the following menu of options:

• Contribution to the Public Benefit Fund
• Providing On-Site Workforce or Affordable Housing
• Providing Off-Site Workforce or Affordable Housing in the City
• Achieving LEED Platinum Certification
• Provide a fully Sustainable Structure and Surplus Stormwater Retention and Reuse
• Provide Active Publically Accessible Recreation

A market study was conducted in order to determine the appropriate value for contributions to the Public Benefit Fund. The attached LTC includes the full report from the consultant; the following are the summary findings of the report:

• The adoption the draft land development regulations would result in no more than 11, and more likely eight or fewer, buildings being developed to a height of 200 feet in the Central Core of the North Beach Town Center during the next 3 to 5 years. Further, if the draft regulations are adopted to include the tiered approach to height by lot size, the number being developed to 200 feet may not exceed three, with the remaining buildings in the area that are taller than the by-right limit of 125 feet being no taller than 165 feet in height. To the extent that buildings taller than the by-right limit of 125 feet are constructed in the Central Core area, up to six of them would be located in the portion of the area north of 71st Street and they would all front on either that artery, Collins Avenue or 72nd Street, where they will face a park rather than any existing residential structures. Two of the five potentially taller buildings in the portion of the Central Core south of 71st Street would also front on Collins, while one would front on Indian Creek Drive where buildings taller than 125 feet already exist.

• The provision in the draft land development regulations that would allow buildings of up 200 feet to be constructed in the Central Core area in return for the provision of specified public benefits and/or the payment of a Public Benefits Fee is predicated on a belief that when coupled with requirements contained in the draft regulations with respect to setbacks, would result in better individual projects as well as better pedestrian environments being created. Most specifically, the provision would allow more natural light to reach the surface of the street while making the buildings appear less massive. However, that provision will also contribute to the financial benefit of the developers who decide to take advantage of it by enabling them to potentially reduce their overall cost of construction as well as costs of financing and to experience premium revenues on the space they develop above the by-right height. Accordingly, the consultant believes that the amount of the Public Benefits Fee should be set at a level that will enable the City to share in the enhanced financial performance enjoyed by the developers of projects that exceeds the by-right height to the point that it can collect significant amounts of money to address community needs. However, the consultant also believes that the amount of the fee should be viewed as an add-on to the increased ad valorem taxes that the prospective project can be expected to produce by virtue of its enhanced revenue potential, thus also set at a level that will not run risk of deterring them from building structures that are taller than the by-right height on the sites that can accommodate such structures.

• The consultant believes that the calculation of the proposed Public Benefits Fee should be based solely on the square footage of rentable or saleable space on the floors within a structure above the by-right height.

• As a result of the analysis performed, the consultant recommends that the Public Benefit Fee should be paid at a rate of $3 per square foot of rentable or saleable space above the by-right level. This recommendation assumes the land development regulations are adopted as currently drafted by the Planning Department.

The draft ordinance provides that the City Commission would have discretion to allocate the revenue from the Public Benefit Fund in North Beach for the following purposes:

• Sustainability and resiliency grants for properties in North Beach Historic Districts
• Uses permitted for the Sustainability and Resiliency Fund
• Improvements to existing parks
• Enhancements to public transportation and alternative modes of travel, including rights of ways and roadways
• Acquisition of new parkland and environmental and adaption areas
• Initiatives that improve the quality of life for residents.

Tower Regulations
The proposed ordinance defines towers as the portions of buildings located above 55 feet, except for allowable height exceptions. In addition to upper level setbacks, in order to further minimize the impact of towers adjacent to streets and prevent a canyon effect, the proposed ordinance requires that the furthest wall faces on portions of towers that are within 50 feet of a property line be limited to 165 feet in length. It also requires that individual towers be separated by 60 feet. This will ensure that there are significant block segments that are clear from towers, therefore allowing air and light to make it to the street level, while still allowing for flexibility and creativity in tower design, in particular towards the center of blocks.



Increased setbacks at the first level allow for expanded pedestrian movement and for outdoor cafes that do not interfere with pedestrian flow.  Since the existing rights-of-ways in the proposed overlay area are limited and vary greatly in terms of width and public facilities and function, the recommended setbacks are specific to each street.  As part of the requirement for ground level setbacks, there is a proposal to maintain a “Clear Pedestrian Path” of ten feet that is free from obstructions in order to improve pedestrian safety and comfort, and to encourage pedestrian activity. 

In this regard, the proposed ordinance incorporates street-level and tower setbacks that are generally consistent with those recommended by the October 2014 Shulman Study for the FAR of 3.5.  Additional considerations have been taken into account to ensure that lower-scale neighborhoods to the south are not impacted by the additional height and FAR through the use of upper level setbacks. 


The proposed setbacks along the street frontages are as follows:


Property line abutting

Building Height at which Setback occurs

Minimum Setback from property line

Allowable Habitable Encroachments into setback

69th Street Between Collins Avenue
and Harding Avenue

Grade to 125 feet

10 feet

5 feet

125 feet to max height

35 feet

5 feet

69th Street Between Harding Avenue
and Indian Creek Drive

Grade to 55 feet

10 feet

5 feet

55 feet to 125 feet

50 feet

0 feet

125 feet to max height

85 feet

0 feet

70th Street Alley Line

Grade to max height

10 feet

3 feet

71st Street

Grade to 55 feet

10 feet

0 feet

55 feet to max height

25 feet

5 feet

72nd Street

Grade to max height

20 feet from back of curb line; curb line location shall be at the time of permitting; however, it shall be no less than 5 feet from the property line

5 feet

Collins Avenue

Grade to 55 feet

10 feet

5 feet

55 feet to 125 feet

20 feet

5 feet

125 feet to max height

35 feet

5 feet

Byron Avenue, Carlyle Avenue,
and Harding Avenue

Grade to max height

10 feet

7 feet

Abbott Avenue, Dickens Avenue, and Indian Creek Drive

Grade to max height

10 feet

5 feet

Interior Side

Grade to 55 feet

0 feet

0 feet

55 feet to max height

30 feet

10 feet

Rear abutting an alley
(Except 70th Street Alley)

Grade to 55 feet

5 feet

0 feet

55 feet to max height

20 feet

10 feet

Rear abutting a parcel

Grade to 55 feet

0 feet

0 feet

55 feet to max height

30 feet

10 feet


Of note is the upper-level setback from 69th Street, as staff was sensitive to the existing, established scale of 69th street, particularly the south side, which has a height limit of 50 feet for new construction, but a built context of two  story apartments.  It is recommended that any portion of a building fronting 69th Street that is above 55 feet in height be setback 50 feet from the 69th Street property line.  This is intended to provide an appropriate transition to the lower-intensity RM-1 neighborhood to the south of the Town Center. 


Also of note is the recommended 20 foot setback along 72nd Street from the back of curb at the time of permitting.  This is intended to encourage sidewalk cafes facing the open space uses on the opposite frontage, while still maintaining ample sidewalks.


Frontage Types

The draft ordinance organizes different streets within the TC-C district into classes for the purposes of providing regulations for the building frontage (see attached map titled “Proposed North Beach Roadway Classes”).  The streets are designated as Class A, B, C, and D.  Each class has various requirements for habitable space (see attached map titled “Ground Floor Areas with Habitable Space Requirements”).  The regulations for each class vary as follows:


  • Class A streets are intended to be predominantly commercial in nature.  It requires a continuous street wall with a height of 35 feet, which is similar to the height of the 1948 City National Bank Building.  It also requires a minimum of three floors along 90 percent of the length of the frontage and that the ground floor is primarily used for commercial uses while providing for access to upper levels.  To ensure that the commercial space is viable, it requires that it have a minimum depth of 50 feet.  The upper two floors must have a minimum depth of 25 feet.  In order to provide a safe pedestrian environment, driveways are generally prohibited unless it is the only means of access to the site.  Class A streets include 71st Street, 72nd Street, Collins Avenue, and Indian Creek Drive.


  • Class B streets are intended to provide additional flexibility at the ground floor, while still providing for an active frontage.  It requires a continuous street wall with a height of 35 feet.  The frontage is required to have one floor along 90 percent of the length of the frontage.  It allows for the ground floor be for commercial uses, residential uses, and to provide access to upper levels.  To ensure that these uses are viable, it requires that they have a minimum depth of 20 feet.  Ground floor residential uses are required to provide individual entrances in order to provide “eyes on the street” and active street level.  This would provide for private gardens or porches similar to 6000 Collins Avenue.  In order to provide a safe pedestrian environment, driveways are generally prohibited unless it is the only means of access to the site, or if the only other access is a Class A street.  Class B Streets include Abbott Avenue, Dickens Avenue, and 69th Street. 


  • Class C streets provide the most flexibility, while still providing for an active frontage. It requires a continuous street wall with a height of 35 feet.  The frontage is required to have one floor along 85 percent of the length of the frontage.  It allows for the ground floor be for commercial uses, residential uses, and to provide access to upper levels.  To ensure that these uses are viable, it requires that they have a minimum depth of 20 feet.  Similar requirements exist for ground floor residential uses as Class B Streets.  Driveways and loading are permitted on Class C frontages; however, their width is limited and they must be incorporated into the façade of the building.  Additionally, loading must be setback to limit its visibility from the street.  Class C Streets include Harding Avenue, Byron Avenue, and Carlyle Avenue.


  • Class D frontages establish a pedestrian alley.  The blocks between 69th Street and 71st Street are over 620 feet in length as a result of a 70th Street never having been platted.  This distance is not ideal for pedestrian connectivity.  As a result, the proposed ordinance identifies a property line where 70th Street should have been located.  This line is treated as a frontage line, and requires a 10 foot setback from the adjacent properties.  This will eventually result in a 20 foot wide alley being established that will greatly enhance connectivity and provide for interesting active spaces for the Town Center area.  The frontage is required to have one floor along 25 percent of the length of the frontage and is to be for commercial, hotel, or residential use.  No loading or driveways are permitted along this alley. 


    Street Tree and Canopy Requirements

    In addition to the requirements of Chapter 126, within the TC-C district, all street trees shall require the installation of an advanced structural soil cells system (Silva Cells or approved equal).  Minimum amenity requirements have been proposed, including irrigation, up lighting and porous aggregate tree place finish, for all tree pits.  Additionally, street trees must be of a species typically grown in Miami Beach and comply with ADA clearance requirements.


    Minimum street tree standards have also been established by street frontage class, which will take into account the anticipated widths of sidewalks, as well as available space underneath the sidewalk for adequate root growth.  These minimum street tree standards shall include minimum clear trunk dimensions, minimum overall height, and minimum caliper at time of planting.  Additionally, in the event of an infrastructure or other conflict that would prevent street trees from being planted, the applicant/property owner would be required to contribute double the sum required in Section 126-7(2) into the City’s Tree Trust Fund. 


    Use Regulations

    The draft ordinance establishes several regulations to incentivize sustainable economic development, while enhancing surrounding communities with a viable Town Center, while ensuring that potential impacts are mitigated.  The list of permitted, conditional, prohibited, and accessory uses has been re-structured into a unified table for all TC districts. 


    It is important to note that the revised list of uses, and specific limits on the quantity of certain types of uses, has been informed by the mobility study for the area, which is attached for reference.


    Viable Commerce

    E-commerce has had a great impact on traditional retail.  The ability to order goods online has resulted in many traditional retail businesses going bankrupt.  As a result, it is important to rethink how commercial regulations must change to ensure that storefronts remain viable and the City remains vibrant.  As consumers often seek locally produced goods that cannot be found online, Artisanal Retail for On-Site Sale is listed as a permitted use in the draft ordinance.  This will allow for retail uses that produce and repair low-impact goods on-site, including artwork, personal care items, foodstuffs, microbreweries, light repairs, etc.  Should the artisan wish to sell goods to other vendors, a conditional use permit with approval from the Planning Board would be required to minimize impacts to surrounding properties. 


    Additionally, e-commerce retailers are looking to find ways to get goods to consumers faster.  As a result, Neighborhood Fulfillment Centers are listed as a permitted use, which allow e-commerce retailers to sell goods online and allow them to be picked up at the center and provide a place where the goods can be distributed throughout the immediate neighborhood by means other than vans, cars, or trucks.  The ordinance provides that there be no more than two such facilities and that they be limited to 30,000 square feet. 


    Additionally, the proposal allows for ground level residential units to be live-work units.  This allows for artists or other professionals to have a portion of their home to be used for business purposes, reflecting current trends.  It further helps activate the street the street level.  


    Use Predictability

    In an effort to minimize impacts of certain uses on surrounding properties, the Planning Board places conditions on applications approved for a ‘Conditional Use’.  Several of the conditions have become very common, as they are effective at mitigating impacts.  In order to increase compatibility with surrounding uses, the conditions which are placed on a typical Conditional Use Permit Board Order have been included as a requirement for certain uses in the draft ordinance.  This will ensure that the conditions are applied equally to all applicable uses, regardless of whether the uses requires Planning Board review or not. These conditions and criteria include:


  • Hours of operation for entertainment;

  • Requirements for double door vestibules for entertainment;

  • Requirement for entertainment establishments to also be restaurants;

  • Loading and trash hours and standards;

  • Other noise reduction criteria. 


    Having this criteria mandated in the Code will greatly improve predictability for both residents and applicants, as the expectations will be clear from the outset. It will also streamline the process. 


    The proposal also establishes a requirement that the primary means of pedestrian ingress and egress for uses that may have an impact on low-intensity residential, such as entertainment establishments, commercial establishments over 25,000 square feet, retail establishments over 25,000 square feet, and artisanal retail uses, not be located within 200 feet of an RM-1 district.  This proposed distance separation will help ensure that the more intense uses permitted within the proposed TC-C district are adequately buffered from the existing, low intensity RM-1 district south of 69th Street.


    Streamlined Review Process

    In conjunction with the above-mentioned criteria and standards to mitigate potential impacts to surrounding properties established in the draft ordinance, a more streamlined review process is proposed for certain uses that previously fell under the definition of a Neighborhood Impact Establishment (NIE).  Specifically, the proposed ordinance modifies the thresholds for an NIE from occupant content, which requires certification from the Fire Marshal and subject to change based on aspects such as furniture layout, to a square footage criterion, which can be easily determined from floor plans.   In this regard, the proposed thresholds for NIE’s in the TC-C district are as follows:


  • An alcoholic beverage establishment or restaurant, not also operating as an entertainment establishment or dance hall from an occupant content of 300 or more persons to an area of 10,000 square feet or greater of areas accessible by patrons; or


  • An entertainment establishment or dance hall, from an occupant content of 200 or more persons to an area of 5,000 square feet or greater of areas accessible by patrons.


    In order to streamline the process and facilitate the revitalization envisioned in the master plan, the requirement for Planning Board review of development projects in excess of 50,000 square feet has not been included within the proposed TC-C district. This reduces the number of Land Use Boards that a development proposal has to go through. Additionally, the revised thresholds and criteria in the ordinance address issues that are typically reviewed by the Planning Board as part of a 50,000 square foot project application. 


    Since the intent of the 50,000 square foot Conditional Use requirement was to better regulate big box establishments and their regional impacts, the proposal requires that retail establishments (does not include grocery stores) over 25,000 square feet be required to obtain a Conditional Use Permit.  Additionally, there is a proposed limit of two (2) such establishments, in order to ensure that the majority of the retail in the area serves the local community. 


    Co-Living Residential Units and Micro-Hotel Units

    Modern trends in the housing and hotel industries are co-living units and micro-hotels.  In order to develop more housing options, these types of units have been introduced into the proposed overlay.  A co-living unit provides for smaller units than what has been traditionally seen; however, they provide many amenities and opportunities for social interaction which may be more attractive to some people than a larger living space.  Amenities may include community gourmet kitchens, business centers, gyms, community rooms, pools, restaurants, etc.  The proposed ordinance requires that a minimum of 20 percent of a building’s gross floor area be for amenities that are available to residents.  A resident who lives in such a unit would likely be spending more time in the communal amenity spaces with neighbors and in the new vibrant and walkable town center, rather than in a traditional housing unit.  Due to the smaller square footages, such units can typically be provided at a lower rate than what can be provided for a larger unit which may not have as many amenities available to residents. 


    This type of housing also follows current trends towards shared spaces that are seen with office uses.  Many small businesses are choosing to locate in shared office spaces such as those seen at WeWork and Büro in various parts of Miami Beach.  In these types of environments, private office spaces are limited, while amenities such as conference rooms and work spaces are shared by all tenants.  This essentially allows the cost of amenities that may not be needed by each tenant each day to be shared by all tenants.  The same would occur with co-living units. 


    An example of a coliving provider is Ollie Coliving, which has co-living units in Manhattan, Queens, and Pittsburgh; with units in Boston, Jersey City, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn under development.  Their developments host events for residents and provide amenities such as gyms, lounges, terraces.  Additionally, utilities and internet are provided.  However, some of the units are as small as 265 square feet.  Another example of a coliving provider is WeLive in Manhattan and Washington, DC, which provides communal chef’s kitchen, yoga studio, and common areas, in addition to including access daily events, utilities, furnishings, unlimited refreshments, concierge services, and housekeeping.


    Micro-hotels are similar in concept, where smaller hotel rooms are provide in a hotel that has many amenities.  The recently adopted Washington Avenue Zoning Incentives provides for micro-hotel units.  As a result of these incentives, several hotel projects are proposed for Washington Avenue that will lead to a great improvement the surrounding areas.


    Transportation, Parking and Use Analysis

    The proposed ordinance establishes Parking District 8, which incorporates the FAR area of the Town Center (proposed TC-C district). Parking District 8 will replace those areas currently within Parking District 4, which encompasses the surrounding commercial areas along Collins Avenue, Ocean Terrace, and Normandy Isle.  Parking District 8 contains regulations intended to encourage and expand mobility options, including the use of alternative modes of transportation in order to reduce the potential traffic impact of new development and reflect current trends in parking.


    The City’s Transportation Department has coordinated a comprehensive mobility study specific to the proposed TC-C area. This study has taken into account existing traffic data (both internally and regionally), as well as future projected traffic data and mobility trends.  The study projects mobility trends through the year 2040 and takes into consideration planned mobility improvements for the area. Based upon this analysis, recommendations regarding allowable uses, off-street parking regulations and requirements, alternative modes of transportation, alignments for public rights of way and on-street parking, and public transportation have been incorporated into the proposed ordinance.  Specifically limits to increases in certain uses from what is currently permitted, including density and intensity, in order to create an ideal mix of uses that encourages walking and mass transit use while minimizing single occupancy vehicle use, have been proposed.


    The proposed ordinance includes limits on the increase in residential units above what is currently permitted under the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and that are generally consistent with the recommended land uses.  However, instead of differentiating between units by size, the proposed ordinance includes of a limit of 500 apartment units in order to simplify review and permitting.  Additionally, the draft ordinance includes a limit of 500 units for co-living, workforce, & affordable housing as opposed to the 300 recommended in the Mobility Report.  Since these types of units do not have an impact on parking and maximize the use of alternative modes of transportation, a slightly larger number was utilized in order to more equitably distribute housing throughout the district. 


    Currently, the maximum densities and number of dwelling units within the subject TC-C area are as follows, pursuant to the adopted Comprehensive Plan:


  • TC-1:  150 units per acre X 9.62 acres = 1,443 units
  • TC-2:  100 units per acre X 1.15 acres = 173 units
  • TC-3:  60 units per acre X 10.07 acres = 604 units
  • Total:  20.83 acres = 2,162 units


If the full 20.83 acres is changed to allow for 150 units per acre, as is proposed, the maximum density will be 3,125 units.  Therefore, the additional 500 apartments and 500 co-living, workforce and affordable units (1,000 residential units total) will provide for sufficient units to allow for ALL properties within the TC-C district to achieve the proposed maximum allowable density. 


As an example, if a property previously had a TC-3 zoning designation its maximum density would have been 60 dwelling units an acre.  A one (1) acre TC-3 site would therefore allow for a maximum of 60 units.  Since the proposed maximum density is 150 units, if a development wanted to max out its new development capacity, it would be required to consume 90 units from the established pool of units. 


The revised minimum off-street parking requirements are more specifically outlined in the draft ordinance.  Additional, updates have been made to the section regarding the limit of hotel uses, which are described further in the summary section of the memorandum. 


City Charter Issues

The request for increasing the FAR for the North Beach Town Center Area is affected by the following City Charter provision:  Sections 1.03 (c), which partially states: 


            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.


The proposed ordinance would increase the zoned floor area ratio to 3.5 for all areas in the district and as a result required a general referendum.  The following question was submitted to the electors of the City of Miami Beach:  


FAR Increase For TC-1, TC-2 and TC-3 to 3.5 FAR


Floor area ratio (FAR) is the measure the City utilizes to regulate the overall size of a building. Should the City adopt an ordinance increasing FAR in the Town Center (TC) zoning districts (Collins and Dickens Avenues to Indian Creek Drive between 69 and 72 Streets) to 3.5 FAR from current FAR of 2.25 to 2.75 for the TC-1 district; from 2.0 for the TC-2 district; and from 1.25 for the TC-3 district?


On November 7, 2017, the referendum was approved by 58.64 percent of the voters.  Therefore the ordinance can be considered for adoption by the City Commission. 



At the July 2, 2018 meeting, the City Commission transmitted the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and LDRs to the Planning Board and further requested that the Planning Board discuss and provide specific recommendations concerning the following aspects of the ordinance:


·         Building Height

·         Parking

·         Number of Hotel Units

·         Co-living/Micro Units

·         Affordable Housing Component

·         Public benefits.


The draft ordinance referred to the Planning Board by the City Commission on July 2, 2018 contained some minor updates from the amendments which were discussed at the June 26, 2018 Planning Board meeting.  The additional changes were double-underlined or underlined-stricken.  The modifications included the non-substantive revisions preferred by property owners at the June 13, 2018 Land Use and Development meeting which the Planning Department found acceptable (these changes do not  include suggested modifications to increase height or tower length further). These minor changes were also included in the referral to the Planning Board by the City Commission on July 2, 2018. 


Additionally, the Planning Department incorporated the following minor changes for consideration:


·         Allow for clear pedestrian path to be delineated through the use of ground markers.

·         Allow clear pedestrian path for the 70th Street Alley/Class D Streets of one project to utilize 5 feet from the adjacent property into order to facilitate activation of the alley through outdoor cafes.

·         Require that non-conforming buildings that are incorporated into a unified development site for the purposes of shifting FAR be made conforming to the requirements of the new code, unless the building is architecturally significant.  For those buildings that have existing long-term leases, the proposal allows for the modifications to that building to be phased-in at a later date.


Modifications and clarifications were also incorporated into the section of the proposed ordinance regarding the limitations on residential and hotel uses pursuant to the recommendations of the mobility study. 


The first modification relates to the number of hotel rooms.  Rather than place 1,800 hotel rooms above what would have been permitted prior to the FAR increase, an overall limit of 2,000 hotel rooms is proposed.  Under current regulations, if developers decided to forego building residential units, and build out the full FAR of the district with hotel and retail uses only, the area could contain approximately 8,410 hotel rooms.  The proposed limit of 2,000 hotel rooms is consistent with the assumptions of the mobility study that estimated that prior to the FAR increase, only approximately 131 hotel rooms could have been built because of the likelihood that most new development would have been primarily residential in nature, for a total new hotel program maximum of 1,931 hotel rooms.  Because of the amount of FAR available in the district, this limit will ensure that sufficient FAR remains for the Town Center to have a full residential component.   For reference, the recently approved hotel development on 72nd and Collins will contain approximately 187 hotel rooms. 


Additional modifications included into this section clarify how credits for units are issued and how long they are valid.  A change was also incorporated to allow for transfers between the regulated uses as long as the peak hour traffic impact is not increased pursuant to the Peak Hour Traffic Trip Rates as established by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Manual.  For reference, using current rates, 10 hotel rooms are approximately equivalent to 11 market rate apartments and 17 co-living, workforce, and affordable units. 



On June 26, 2018, the Planning Board discussed the proposed ordinance.  On July 24, 2018, the Planning Board held a public hearing regarding the proposed Amendments to the Land Development Regulations and transmitted the Ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation by a vote of six to zero (6-0).  Additionally, the Planning Board discussed the following items, as requested by the City Commission, and recommended the following:


  1. Building Height – Recommended that the maximum height be increased to 220 feet from the proposed 200 feet.


  2. Parking – Remain as proposed in the attached ordinance.


  3. Number of Hotel Units – Remain as proposed in the attached ordinance


  4. Co-living and Micro Units


  1. Reduce the minimum percentage of floor area to be dedicated to amenity space from the proposed 20% to 10%.


  1. Modify the requirement for amenity space that is “physically connected to and directly accessed from the co-living units without the need to exit the parcel” to be “on the same site.” 


  1. Affordable Housing Component – Remain as proposed in the attached ordinance.


  2. Public Benefits – Remain as proposed in the attached ordinance, and provide an additional option that exempts a project from the public benefit requirements if a full building permit is obtained within three (3) years of the effective date of the ordinance.


    Additionally, the Planning Board recommended that hours for sidewalk and outdoor cafes be made consistent with the general citywide standards, which are 8 am to 2 am. 



    On July 31, 2018, the Land Use and Development Committee (LUDC) discussed the proposed Ordinance, inclusive of the recommendations of the Planning Board. The LUDC continued the item to their September meeting and requested that the Administration provide recommendations regarding the following:


  1. Height: Provide a tiered approach to overall building height in accordance with the following parameters:


  • For Lots under 25,000 SF: Max Height of 125 feet

  • For Lots between 25,000 and 50,000 SF: Max Height of 165 feet

  • For Lots greater than 50,000 SF: Max Height of 200 feet


    The Administration will further study and provide recommendations on the tier height limits based on lot aggregation, with specific recommendation as to the location of where the highest buildings should be located.


  1. Co-Living and Micro-Units: Capping the number of co-living units to 10% of the total number of residential units in the TC-C district and maintaining the 20% minimum amenity space requirement.


  2. Public Benefits: Finalize and define the public benefits program, including the proposed fees and allowing additional height by obtaining a full building permit within 15 months of adoption of the TC-C regulations. 


    The September LUDC meeting was moved from September 5, 2018 to September 28, 2018.



    At the request of the item sponsor, the Planning Board version of the proposed Ordinance, inclusive of the aforementioned Planning Board recommendations, was transmitted to the City Commission for First Reading consideration on September 12, 2018.  On September 12, 2018, the City Commission approved the proposed amendment to the Land Development Regulations with the following modifications:


    Maximum Building Height: The maximum height should not exceed to 200 feet. Additionally, a tiered approach to overall height, based upon lot size, should be considered for second reading, based upon the following, which was discussed by the Land Use Committee on July 31, 2018:


·         Lots under 25,000 square feet: Max height of 125 feet;

·         Lots between 25,000 and 50,000 square feet: Max height of 165 feet; and

·         Lots greater than 50,000 square feet: Max height of 200 feet.


2.    Co-Living Units:  The requirement for amenity space shall be a minimum of 20% of the floor area and co-living units shall be limited to no more than ten (10%) percent of the total number of allowable residential units.


3.    Public Benefits:  That the timeframe for obtaining additional height without paying into the public benefits height shall be within 15 months of the effective date of the proposed ordinance.  Additionally, it was requested that an additional qualifier tied to the issuance of a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy, whichever comes first, be included. 



On September 28, 2018, the Land Use and Development Committee (LUDC) discussed the proposed Ordinance, as approved by the City Commission at First Reading. The LUDC recommended that the City Commission adopt the ordinance at 2nd Reading, as recommended by the Planning Department, including the following:


1.    Inclusion of the tiered approach to overall height, based upon lot sizes recommended by the Planning Department.


2.    Increased minimum tower setbacks from 69th Street, as recommended by the Planning Department.


3.    For co-living units, the 20% minimum amenity space is maintained, and a cap of 312 co-living units has been incorporated into the ordinance, as recommended by the Planning Department.


4.    The public benefit option for expedited permitting and construction was set at 15 months to obtain a permit, and 30 months to obtain a TCO, as recommended by the Planning Department.


The LUDC also recommended the following modifications


1.    The public benefits shall be further studied and include an increase in the per square foot dollar amount, and a discounted per square foot dollar amount for those projects that are expedited.


2.    The requirements for increased mandatory on site storm water retention and re-use shall be further studied and explored.  



The subject Ordinance has been modified in accordance with the approval at First Reading on September 12, 2018, and the recommendations of the LUDC on September 28, 2018.  Additionally, the measurement of maximum tower length has been clarified by adding text specific to parallel frontage on a single street.  The following is a summary of the modifications in the draft Ordinance for Second Reading:


1.    Height:  In addition to the public benefits program, the ability to exceed 125 feet in height is tiered according to the following parameters:


·         For lots under 20,000 SF:  Max height of 125 feet

·         For lots between 20,000 and 45,000 SF:  Max height of 165 feet

·         For lots greater than 45,000 SF:  Max height of 200 feet


2.    Co-Living Units:  The number of co-living units was capped at 312 units within the TC-C district with a minimum of 20% amenity space.


3.    Expedited Permitting and Construction:  The public benefit option to  obtain a building permit and complete construction within a certain timeframe is as follows:


a.    Obtain a full building permit for a development project consisting of new construction in excess of 100,000 square feet within 15 months of the effective date of this ordinance.  An additional 75 feet of height shall be provided for this option. The 15 month period shall not be eligible for any extension of time and cannot be tolled by extensions or modifications of board orders or state extension of development orders.  If a full building permit is not obtained within 15 months, participation in an alternative option shall be required in order to achieve the additional height.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that, with staff’s favorable recommendation, the Design Review Board (DRB) approval of the subject development project is continued by the Board or appealed by a party other than the applicant, such 15 month period to obtain a Full Building Permit shall be tolled until the conclusion of such action.


b.    In addition a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) or Certificate of Occupancy (CO) shall be obtained within 30 months of approval of the building permit; however, state authorized extensions may be utilized for the purposes of tolling of the TCO or CO time limit. 


Failure to comply with any of the aforementioned timeframes shall require payment of the full public benefits fee or an alternative public benefits option.


4.    Public Benefits Fee:  The LUDC recommended that the minimum public benefit fee be increased from $3 per square foot of floor area located above 125 feet, which was recommended by the City’s economic consultant.  The LUDC also recommended that expedited developments be required to pay a lower percentage of this public benefit fee. As noted above, the expedited option requires that a full building permit be obtained within 15 months of the effective date of the ordinance, and that a TCO or CO be obtain within 30 months of obtaining a building permit. 


As it pertains to the public benefits portion of the legislation, at the direction and recommendation of the LUDC the Administration has re-studied this portion of the legislation. At the September 28, 2018 LUDC, the City’s economic consultant recommended a public benefit fee of $3.00 per square foot of floor area above 125 feet in height. The LUDC recommended that a higher amount be explored. Additionally, the LUDC recommended that as part of the public benefit related to expedited permitting and construction, a reduced fee be required.


The Administration has looked at different, potential scenarios regarding the amount of money the public benefit fee will generate. For example, a building at 200 feet in height will likely have 7 additional floors above 125 feet, and a building at 165 feet will likely have 4 additional floors above 125 feet.  The following columns assume a 10,725 SF floor plate at 200 feet in height, and a wider floor plate of 12,375 SF at 165 feet in height.


Max Height (Ft)

Base Height (Ft)

Bonus Height (Ft)

Estimated Bonus Floors

Tower Length

Tower Width

Estimated Floor Plate (SF)

Estimated Floor Area (SF)


















$ 2.00

$ 3.00

$ 4.00

$ 5.00

200 Ft

$ 150,150

$ 225,225

$ 300,300

$ 375,375

165 Ft

$ 99,000

$ 148,500

$ 198,000

$ 247,500


As noted above, the public benefit fees generated by $3.00 per square foot are not insignificant, and they increase substantially above $3.00 per square foot. In this regard, the Administration has concerns that increasing the fees above $3.00 per square foot could result in developers foregoing additional height and, in turn, not going forward with a project, or developing a project that would not provide more significant overall benefits for the area.  Additionally, a number of the standards of the ordinance, including mandatory requirements for the undergrounding of utilities, minimum pedestrian paths and size of required street trees, will result in significant public benefits.  As such, the Administration recommends that the public benefit fee be set at $3.00 per square foot, in accordance with the recommendation of the economic consultant.


As it pertains to the proposal to require a reduced fee for those projects that participate in expedited permitting and construction, the Administration has considered the overall benefit that an expedited permitting and construction timeframe would have in terms of jump starting development in the area. The Administration would recommend that this remain as a stand-alone benefit option, without any fee, reduced or otherwise, required. In this regard, given the overall risk involved in being the first, or one of the first, projects to move forward in a comprehensive manner, the imposition of an additional fee, albeit reduced, could impact the potential for an accelerated project(s).


Given the tight timeframe proposed to permit and complete construction, this would likely only be applicable to a select few development projects, which are ready to move forward.  The City Commission may also want to consider incorporating a Consumer Price Index Adjustment Factor, which would increase over time, further incentivizing development of the area.


Regarding the recommendation of the LUDC to include requirements for increased mandatory on site storm water retention and re-use, the Ready Team discussed this proposal. The current standards in the Public Works Manual require that all developments maintain their own storm water.  Given the complexity of increased storm water retention and re-use, particularly within an urban area, the Administration recommends that this particular item be further studied and explored at the appropriate City Commission Committee.  


The Administration recommends that the City Commission adopt the subject Ordinance, with the following modifications:


  1. The public benefit fee in appendix A shall be set at $3.00.


  2. Sec. 142-747(e) shall be revised as follows:


“(e)            Expedited Development Construction.  A contribution to the Public Benefits Fund, in the amount of TBD percent (TBD%) of the amount identified in Appendix A shall not be required for each square foot of floor area located above the 125 feet if the following development timeframes are adhered to:”

Legislative Tracking
Commissioners John Elizabeth Aleman and Ricky Arriola

TC-C Maps
TC-C Massing Studies
LTC - Summary June 13 LUDC
Economic Analysis - LTC