Miami Beach planning board rejects review of all single-family home demolitions

Venetian Islands
Venetian Islands

The Miami Beach planning board on Tuesday rejected a proposed ordinance that would have required anyone seeking a demolition permit for a single-family home on Miami Beach to submit plans for a new structure before any demolition could take place. Five board members voted to reject the ordinance and two voted in favor of it.  

The board sent the ordinance to the city commission with an unfavorable recommendation, with some board members calling the proposed ordinance an “overreach” saying it could lead to a proliferation of unsightly vacant houses if passed. Several board members said they would “rather have a vacant lot than an unsightly home,” near where they live.    

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Commissioner Joy Malakoff, who is not a member of the planning board, had proposed the ordinance in a bid to prevent the spread of vacant lots in single family home districts of Mid-Miami Beach, where scores of older homes have been demolished over the past few years by developers seeking to build larger “spec” homes. Malakoff’s proposal was supported by the city’s planning department and by preservationists who said the measure could help buyers save older homes for renovation.    

Under current regulations, only homes deemed “architecturally significant” and built before 1942 face any review by the Miami Beach Design Review Board which cannot prevent homes from being demolished but only reject new plans to replace them. Only homes designated as “historic” by their owners can be prevented from being demolished.    

While they rejected the ordinance several board members said they would support broadening the definition of “architecturally significant homes,” which are currently restricted to homes built before 1942. Several said that date could be expanded up to 1966 for example which would include many examples of so called MiMo or Miami Modern homes that were built in the ’50s and ’60s.