Commissioner: vote on Miami 21 changes could be deferred

Commissioner says existing lots wouldn't be affected

Jan.January 27, 2016 06:00 PM

A 2009 photo of Miami’s skyline (Credit: Nigel Morris)

A controversial amendment to the Miami 21 zoning code will likely be deferred a second time as its author hammers out the kinks, according to city commissioner Francis Suarez.

The proposal met stiff resistance from Miami’s real estate community when it first came to the city commission for a vote in November. Brokers and developers’ chief concern was a lack of clarity about what the changes meant for small landowners and developers.

City documents show the amendment would set new minimums for developable lots throughout Miami. Some of the biggest changes were in the T4 urban districts like Little Havana, where minimum lot sizes would jump from just 1,400 square feet to 10,000 square feet and up. And in T6 zones like Brickell, the minimum size for a lot would grow from 5,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet.

(Click to enlarge) A chart of the proposed changes

Those with the most to lose include small lot owners, who would potentially lose their ability to develop without buying more parcels or requesting a variance. But commissioner Suarez told The Real Deal that wouldn’t be the case.

He said his recent conversations with Francisco Garcia, director of the Planning and Zoning Department, revealed owners of parcels that are already platted have a vested right to develop. The changes would primarily be felt by developers who want to subdivide their lots into parcels that would individually fall below the new minimums.

The proposal is back on the agenda for Thursday’s planning and zoning meeting, but commissioner Suarez told TRD there’s a good chance it will be delayed for another 30 to 60 days.

“The reservations that have been expressed in my opinion have not been completely addressed,” Suarez said. “Our planning director is still trying to clarify the language.”

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