planning board preview: june

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

planning board preview: june:

workforce and affordable housing initiatives dominate

Planning Board Meeting
Tuesday, June 27, 1:00 pm
City Hall, Commission Chambers
Full agenda

Workforce and Affordable Housing proposals make up a significant portion of next week’s Planning Board agenda. The City wants to encourage the development of affordable housing, however, Planning Staff notes in its memo to the Board, “[T]he current incentives have been limited and have not been very successful at encouraging the development of new affordable housing without the use of public subsidies.” One of the challenges they note is the increase in the City’s land values, resulting in a loss of workforce housing and increased traffic congestion when the City’s workforce has to commute to and from the Beach.
 
Items for consideration next week also include North Beach Yard, Entertainment Ordinance for South of Fifth, and Washington Avenue Incentives for office uses. Highlights:
 
Workforce and Affordable Housing Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Key points:
  • Provide an 80% density increase beyond the underlying allowable density to be used only for workforce or affordable units.
  • Reduce the goal of workforce and affordable housing units from the current 16,000 to 6,800 workforce and affordable units by 2030. Staff notes this is “a more attainable standard” due to limitations in floor area and the high cost of land on the Beach.
 
Addressing the question of FAR (Floor Area Ratio), which in Miami Beach requires voter approval, Staff writes, “While the proposed ordinances increase the allowable density for workforce and affordable housing, increased density does not equate to increased FAR. While FAR results in the amount of square footage that can be constructed, density relates to the number of units per acre that can be constructed. Density, therefore, relates to the number and size of units permitted within the allowable square footage.”
 
Details. This is also on the City Commission Agenda Wednesday evening for first reading and public hearing.

Affordable Housing Ordinance
Proposed ordinance to facilitate construction of affordable housing by reducing the minimum and average unit size to 400 square feet across all zoning districts where multifamily residential units are allowed. Current code requires minimum 400 square feet for rehabilitated buildings and 550 square feet for new construction.
 
The draft ordinance also reduces parking requirements from 0.5 to 0 for elderly housing and from 1 to 0.5 for housing for low and/or moderate-income non-elderly persons. It would also allow the number of units within a building to be increased without requiring additional parking.
 
Details. This is also on the City Commission Agenda Wednesday evening for first reading and public hearing.
 
Mandatory and Voluntary Options: The Planning Board will consider two proposed ordinances, one that requires the establishment of workforce housing units within certain projects and another that provides incentives for voluntary development of workforce housing.
 
Workforce Housing Ordinance (Mandatory requirements)
Proposed ordinance establishes mandatory workforce housing criteria and requirements.
 
According to the Staff memo, “The following types of projects would be required to provide workforce housing under this ordinance:
  1. New construction of 50,000 gross square feet or more, regardless of use.
  2. Any hotel redevelopment or renovation project that increases the number of lodging or dwelling units in a hotel by ten or more.
  3. New single family home construction in excess of 20,000 square feet of unit size on a single developable building site. (This requirement for large single family homes would be provided with a payment of a fee equal to 2% of the construction value of the home.)"
Many cities provide an FAR bonus for the inclusion of affordable or workforce housing units in a project, however, the requirement for voter approval for FAR increases in Miami Beach means that is not an option here without a public referendum.
 
The ordinance allows developers to seek a waiver if they can prove there is “no reasonable relationship or nexus between the impact of the development and the number of residential workforce housing units or in-lieu fees required.”
 
For applicable projects (listed above), the requirement would be inclusion of a “number of workforce housing units equivalent to at least 30% of a development’s floor area, regardless of use” or pay a fee in lieu “equal to $500 per square foot for non waterfront properties, and $1,000 per square foot for waterfront properties.”
 
Other key points:
  • The City would enter into a residential workforce housing agreement with a developer.
  • The City would set rental rates for workforce housing units, while developers would offer and manage the units, providing a compliance report annually.
  • Workforce housing units would need to remain as such for 20 years.
  • Minimum and average unit size would be reduced to 400 square feet across all zoning districts.
  • Parking requirements would be reduced for workforce housing to 0.5.
  • Allows workforce housing units to be established within an existing building without providing parking for the existing or additional units.
Parking would also not be required in the case of new construction of workforce housing units on a site with an existing building. Staff writes, “This may encourage smaller in-fill construction of workforce housing units on existing building sites that cannot otherwise provide required off-street parking." Details.

Workforce Housing Incentives
Similar to the ordinance for establishing mandatory requirements, this ordinance provides incentives for voluntary creation of workforce housing units.
 
Details. This is also on the City Commission Agenda Wednesday evening for first reading and public hearing.
 
The ordinance for mandatory requirements will be discussed at a workforce housing workshop tentatively scheduled for July 25 at 11:00 am.
 
North Beach Yard Comp Plan Amendments
North Beach Yard LDR Amendments
In order to allow for the proposed North Beach Yard culinary incubator concept to move forward on the City-owned West Lots, changes need to be made to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Currently, the lots are zoned GU (Government Use) with a future land use category of RM-1 (residential, multi-family, low-intensity). The proposal before the Planning Board would change the future RM-1 category to PF (Public Facility) and allow for commercial uses.
 
In addition, within the GU category, “waivers are limited to use by government facilities/uses, cultural organizations and not-for-profits.” The Planning Board will consider an amendment to the Land Development Regulations to “allow for private uses approved by the City Commission for a period of 10 years or less to be eligible for a City Commission waiver of development regulations, except for the historic preservation and design review processes.” Details.

North Beach Conservation Overlay
Also on the agenda is a proposed ordinance to create a Conservation Overlay for the RM-1 zoning district within the North Beach National Register Districts.
 
According to Planning Staff: “The proposed North Beach National Register Conservation District Overlay is comprised of area specific regulations that are intended to incentivize the retention of existing ‘Contributing’ buildings, as well as ensure that new infill buildings are compatible with their surroundings.” Details.

The Conservation District Overlay is an outgrowth of the North Beach Master Plan process and has been a long time in development. This week, architect Reinaldo Borges argues an economic analysis to understand the impact of an Overlay District is critical before implementing it while preservationist Nancy Liebman says, “The community has spoken,” it’s time to get on with it.

Entertainment ordinance
“Clarify that entertainment is not permitted in the City’s Performance Standard Districts”
 
This is in response to complaints in the South of Fifth neighborhood… see our story last month:

This is also on the City Commission Agenda Wednesday evening for first reading and public hearing.
 
Washington Avenue Office Incentives
Proposed ordinance to add “office space use” to the Washington Avenue Incentives
 
According to Planning Staff, encouraging development of office space on Washington Avenue “would provide activation during daytime hours and provide Miami Beach residents with access to jobs without hav[ing] to commute to the mainland.” The Planning Board will consider two options within the draft ordinance being considered: 1) Elimination of all parking requirements for office uses or 2) eliminating parking requirements as long as a facility with publicly accessible parking spaces is within 500 feet. Details.

Want to make your voice heard? Attend in-person to provide comment or email Antoinette Stohl.