The Real Deal Miami

Miami zoning board balks at mandatory public art proposal for private projects

Projects costing $3M and up would be required to participate
By Francisco Alvarado | March 02, 2017 10:30AM

Art in Public Places in Miami

A city of Miami proposal to force developers to pay for public art at their residential projects continues to meet stiff resistance.

During its regular meeting Wednesday evening, Miami’s planning and zoning appeals board delayed a vote on the legislation, citing a need for city staff to meet with the Builders Association of Florida to iron out details of revisions to the proposed art in public places program.

“When you have an industry that is going to bear the brunt of this I think it is good practice to vet that with them,” said board member Maria Lievano-Cruz. “I don’t think that was done. This is going to have an impact on developers and residents because the cost is going to be passed on to the rental or condo sales price.”

Truly Burton, the builders association government affairs director and executive vice president, said she received a draft of the new legislation the day before the appeals board hearing.

“I would like the opportunity to present it to my members, especially ones who would have to pay the fee,” she said. “I think one productive meeting with staff would be important before this board took its next step.”

In January, the Miami City Commission instructed staff to continue working with representatives of the building industry on how much developers will have to pay for installing art in their projects or contributing to an art in public places fund. The city’s program has been dormant for many years while other municipalities such as Doral, Miami Beach and Coral Gables have aggressively pushed developers to either include public art on their properties or contribute funds for art on government sites and public right of ways.

Originally, staff recommended that projects in Miami with a construction cost of at least $1 million be required to have public art installations or contribute to the pot of money. The value of the art would be equal to 1.25 percent of a project’s construction cost. Under a revised proposal, the city increased the threshold to $3 million, said Miami city planner Efren Nunez.

In addition, the legislation would not apply to Wynwood because the neighborhood’s business improvement district will develop its own program, Nunez added.