Voters weighed in on South Miami zoning rules, Surfside public property sales and Bal Harbour building heights, producing mixed results from Tuesday’s election.
A referendum in the city of South Miami failed to pass on Election Day, so zoning vote requirements will remain the same. South Miami Referendum 1 proposed replacing a unanimous five-commissioner vote needed for zoning changes with a rule that would require only four commissioners to pass changes. The measure failed with a 51 percent “no” vote out of a total of 6,004 votes.
The proposed change to voting rules would have expanded to the rest of the city a change approved by voters in 2018 to require four commissioners’ approval instead of a unanimous five for commercial, industrial and mixed-use projects in the city’s downtown area.
That referendum came a year after city commissioners rejected zoning changes for a redevelopment proposal for the Shops at Sunset Place by a partnership among Federal Realty Investment Trust, Grass River Property and The Comras Co. In 2019, the developers received unanimous approval to transform the roughly half-a-million square-foot shopping center into a mixed-use site featuring a reimagined mall, a pair of apartment buildings and a hotel.
Voters in the town of Surfside approved a measure placing new restrictions on the sale and lease of town-owned property.
Passage of Surfside Referendum 2 means that instead of a simple majority vote by three commissioners to sell or lease town-owned property, a buyer or a signer of a lease of more than three years must receive four commissioners’ approval, plus 60 percent of voters approval at a future referendum.
The measure passed with 74 percent, out of a total of 2,681 votes.
In 2018, residents opposed a major project approved by commissioners. A joint venture between Pointe Development and Monceau Realty withdrew its bid for a public-private partnership in Surfside after facing opposition from residents, despite receiving the votes to move forward with a $33.5 million project that called for a new town hall and civic center between 87th and 96th streets.
Voters in Bal Harbour approved the sole referendum on the ballot, which changes how the village measures maximum building height on single-family homes.
In the past, the village measured building heights from the street, not taking into account the state or federal base flood elevation. Now, the village will measure from the highest minimum base flood elevation required by state or federal law, as that changes. The measure is aimed at allowing greater height for homes.
According to the village charter, waterfront single-family homes can’t exceed two stories and 35 water feet in height. The height drops to 30 feet on dry lots.
The referendum passed with 77 percent of the vote, out of a total of 1,471 votes.