Tatum Waterway Historic Designation Moves Forward

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Tatum Waterway Historic Designation Moves Forward:

part of compromise to increase density in north beach town center

The Historic Preservation Board this week asked Miami Beach Planning staff to prepare a “formal designation report” for the Tatum Waterway, the first official step to include the area in the new North Shore Local Historic District. The City Commission approved the North Shore Historic District on first reading last week and is expected to give final approval at its meeting in January.
 
The expansion to include the Tatum Waterway area was part of a compromise reached with developers to gain support from the preservation community for increasing the density in the North Beach Town Center. The designation report will include the area bounded by 77th Street on the south, Hawthorne Avenue and Crespi Boulevard on the west, 87th Street on the north, and Tatum Waterway Drive and Byron Avenue on the east. Town Center is a ten-block area around 71st Street.
 
Both were recommendations in the North Beach Master Plan approved last year by the Commission. Voters approved the density (known as FAR or floor area ratio) in November.

Staff originally had expressed concern about including the Tatum Waterway area in the Local Historic District due to the threat of sea level rise. City Design and Preservation Manager Debbie Tackett told the Board, “We would note that this is a very low lying area of the city which will likely see changes over time in terms of the roadway elevations, the sidewalk elevations… it is likely this particular portion of a historic district will require some more flexibility and more creativity in terms of new resilient development as well as the adaptation of existing structures.”
 
Daniel Ciraldo, Executive Director of the Miami Design Preservation League, one of the key participants in the compromise said, “We are very excited to have the Tatum Waterway expansion back.” Ciraldo called the Waterway “one of the crown jewels of the North Shore District and said the compromise was a commitment “to the vision of the North Beach Master Plan”.
 
Another key member of the compromise, preservationist and HPB member Nancy Liebman said,“Tatum Waterway is probably the most wonderful part of North Beach … for the most part, it’s kind of old Miami which we have forgotten about.”
 
Board member Kirk Paskal recognized the resiliency concerns but said he sees what’s coming as “a tremendous opportunity”.  The requirement to consider sea level rise and resiliency criteria in their decisions is new to the Miami Beach land use boards. Paskal said, “I think it has worked for us, for the Boards to take into account preservation and resilience together, but I think it’s important work and I embrace it. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to show leadership and I’m looking forward to it.”
 
Regarding future road elevation for the Tatum Waterway, Tackett said, “In terms of this area, you’re looking at over a foot in most cases of infrastructure elevation. So that was something that needed to be pointed out. That was our initial concern why it wasn’t our first priority for local historic designation initially.”
 
The request for the designation report begins “zoning in progress” meaning, Tackett said, “until the designation is either approved or denied at a City Commission level, that area is currently under the jurisdiction of this Board so any proposals for redevelopment, demolition, new construction, additions to properties would be required to come before this Board.”
 
As the Tatum Waterway designation moves forward, the other side of the bargain – the increase in FAR – now needs approval of enabling legislation. There was a bit of uncertainty on the timing of that last week as preservationists expressed a desire to have the Tatum Waterway designation move at the same time as the FAR, creating concern among developers. But at the HPB meeting this week, Liebman said, “Now the compromise is coming to a conclusion and I’m happy to hear that maybe by March we will have finalized that and the FAR will have its guidelines and be ready and North Beach is really going to come to life again.”
 
 

Commission Seeks Proposal for West Lots

North Shore


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
master plan would include log cabin location

Ocean Terrace Plans Unveiled

North Shore


Susan Askew
Susan Askew
preservation board to consider in january