Short Term Rentals, Increased Building Height, and Demolition Moratorium for North BeachJuly 27, 2016
SHORT TERM RENTALS
At their July 13 meeting Miami Beach’s City Commission voted on legislation effecting real estate property development and historic preservation on one of North Beach’s main thoroughfares, Harding Ave.
An ordinance amendment passed allowing short term or extended stay rentals for certain properties in North Beach’s historic Harding Avenue Miami Modern neighborhood that runs from 87th Street south to 73rd Street.
This ordinance was designed specifically to allow the older MiMo buildings in the area to have a usage that is more profitable and responsive to the market place than renting for long term or multi-year leasing.
These older building are considered undesirable as residential/permanent living places because Harding Avenue is a major automobile thoroughfare and a busy congested area, not an attractive location to make a home.
This legislation hopes to encourage upkeep and discourage owners from demolishing classic MiMo or Art Deco structures. Although they lie in the North Shore National Register District, these buildings have no legal protection from demolition, which cash strapped owners contending with high insurance costs, old building maintenance requirements and property taxes may opt for, in order to make way for new more profitable structures, very likely hotels according to the amendment’s sponsor Commissioner Michael Grieco.
The minimum rental length under the new ordinance would be seven days and the maximum would be six months.
“It’s a preservation initiative, to improve the economics behind this corridor and preserving these buildings,” said Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán, who along with Commissioners Ricky Arriola noted a need or niche in the rental market for stays of this length, specifically by out of the country renters such as Europeans, who want amenities like a kitchen that are usually not had in a hotel. Both voted in favor of the ordinance.
Last month Miami Beach’s Planning Board unanimously voted in favor of this ordinance. The idea of allowing short term rentals has been discussed and considered by the city government, local preservation groups and other stakeholders for at least two years.
There are thirty seven building eligible for this usage, all historic properties on Harding Ave., most of which were originally designed as vacation rentals. Before qualifying these historic structures must be fully renovated and restored in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior Guidelines and Standards. Preservationists are pleased that large scale renovation may be required for many of these structures to take advantage of this new usage. “We are providing ourselves with an opportunity to have more control over the situation,” said Grieco .
Commissioners Kristen Rosen Gonzalez and Commissioner Micky Steinberg, who both voted against the ordinance, expressed concern about the lack of workforce housing in the area and the possibility of low income residents being forced out of the area by gentrification. This was the ordinance amendments first reading.
At the July 13 Miami Beach City Commission meeting an ordinance passed amending land development regulations that will greatly affect the future look and feel of the coming North Beach Town Center District. This legislation changes height allowances for buildings.
The height change would increase the vertical limits for new property fronting 71st Street from the current 75 feet to 125 feet, allowing for 12-story buildings in the area. Setback rules were also modified, the first through fourth floors will have to have a minimum setback of 10 ft., and the fifth through 12th floors will to have a minimum setback of 25 ft. Other real estate in the surrounding TC-1 district will also be affected by these rules.
This legislation hopes to promote an ambitious plan for the development of a North Beach community ‘downtown’ type area.
“The purpose of these districts is to promote development of a compact, pedestrian-oriented town center consisting of a high-intensity employment center, vibrant and dynamic mixed-use areas and attractive residential living environments with compatible office uses and neighborhood-oriented commercial services,” wrote City Manager Jimmy L. Morales in his recent memorandum to the City Commission on the subject.
In June urban planners hired by the city, Dover Kohl and Partners, presented a North Beach Master Plan. It recommended increasing the height of buildings and to encourage slender towers, as opposed to lower “boxy” towers. The slender towers will allow for buildings that block out smaller vertical portions of the sky. “You’re not going to be overwhelmed with skyscrapers, it’s not going to be a canyon,” said Commissioner Joy Malakoff who voted for the ordinance. She said fears of North Beach becoming another Sunny Isles Beach or downtown Miami were unfounded. She also said that the new height allowances would “provide a stimulus” for the desired high quality development in the neighborhood.
Also at the meeting an ordinance passed creating a six month moratorium on demolition of buildings listed in the two National Register Historic Districts contained within the North Beach Master Plan Study Area.
One is known as the “North Shore National Register District,” and is generally bounded by 73rd Street to the south, Dickens Avenue, Hawthorne Avenue and Crespi Boulevard to the west, 87th Street to the north, and Collins Court to the east.
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