By Briana McKellery, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Following a three-year master planning process that included more than 1,000 participants, a consensus document emerged that recommended the development and by an overwhelming margin (59 to 41), Miami Beach voters supported an increase in FAR (floor area ratio) and upzoning of the Town Center.
Establishing the blueprint of an active future for the North Miami Beach streets along 71st Street, the recommendations were approved by the City Commission in an effort to revitalize North Beach.
“North Beach has a unique character and substantial potential that, for decades, has failed to be capitalized on,” says Mayor Dan Gelber.
The project includes permitting and construction process for developers, affordable housing components, mixed-use co-living and micro units, creates a pedestrian corridor between 69th and 71st streets, includes alternative transportation options favoring pedestrians, creates wider sidewalks, an improved streetscape, and much more.
Depending on the building’s square footage and location, developers will be able to build from 125 to 220 feet with a requirement to provide public benefits or contribute to the public benefit fund.
In an effort to induce development, the City will waive the public benefits requirement for projects that obtain a building permit within the next 21 months and obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy thirty months after obtaining the building permit.
In order not to limit the district to traditional types of residential development, the City has also put in place a requirement that a minimum of twenty percent of a building’s gross floor area is to be utilized for amenities available to residents. This will allow for co-living units and micro-hotels to offer affordable housing for future residents allotting them to to enjoy their neighbors in communal spaces
Many in the NoBe community and Miami-Dade County are excited to see the bright future. “A better Town Center will make North Beach a more desirable place to live,” said Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán, much like the South Beach and Mid-Beach area.
However, some North Beach residents don’t agree with the new regulations for the Town Center. They object to allowing 200-foot or higher towers, which they fear that micro-units will be used for short-term rentals, which are legal in the Town Center area, rather than to provide housing for residents.
While some residences may disagree with the total layout of rules, regulations, and limitations, the Mayor and City Commission are confident that this overdue project will bring a great deal of life and vivaciousness to the North Beach area, that has historically seen minimal development, making North Beach a more desirable place to live, shop, and invest.
Commissioner Michael Góngora said, “We are moving this forward and we want to see something happen.” With the approvals and plans moving forward there is a sense of urgency to get this project up and running and for developers to begin the construction very soon.