The City of Miami Springs Council Meeting on Monday, December 10th, was by far the most attended Council Meeting of the year with standing room only and the overflow audience filling into the hallway.
The reason for the big crowd was that residents wanted to share their views on the plans to redevelop downtown including the Gateway Overlay District and a Proposed Ordinance that would lower the square footage requirements for apartments, impact setbacks, and eliminate the mixed use ratio.
The marathon meeting started at 7pm and finished closed to 11:15pm. Mayor Billy Bain graciously allowed residents to speak their mind and share their views and opinions on downtown redevelopment.
After several hours of listening to the residents, the city council began the process of discussing the various sections of the ordinance.
The Miami Springs City Council voted (4 to 1) to lower the minimum apartment size allowed within the Gateway Overlay District from 900 square feet to 800 square feet so long as the minimum average size is 900 square feet. That’s higher than what was originally proposed as a 700 square foot minimum and minimum average of 800 square feet. The lone dissenting vote was from Maria Mitchell who appeared to want to keep the minimum apartment size at 900 square feet.
At close to 11pm, the issue of Mix Use Ratio and its impact on the allowable residential came up. Councilwoman Mitchell brought up the fact that if the Mix Use Ratio is eliminated, it would allow a greater amount of units on some of these properties. After some back and forth discussion regarding units and residential square footage with the city attorney, the city planner spoke up and agreed with Councilwoman Mitchell that if the Mix Use Ratio is kept as is, it would allow less residential units. If the mixed use ratio is eliminated it would allow more residential units.
At close to 11:15pm it became clear that the Mix Use Ratio was going to need a significant discussion and Mayor Billy Bain suggested the item remain as is and be revisited for the second reading of the ordinance at the next council meeting. The rest of the council members agreed to table the item and will revisit the Mix Use Ratio at the next council meeting.
Mix Use Ratio
What is the Mix Use Ratio? Current law requires a 2:1 mix use ratio. For example, if a developer builds 10,000 square feet of retail / commercial, they can only build 20,000 square feet of residential. If a developer builds 5,000 square feet of retail / commercial they cannot build 20,000 square feet of residential. They are currently capped at two times the commercial. So a building with 5,000 square feet of retail can only build 10,000 square feet of residential.
However, if the mix use ratio is eliminated, which is what the current ordinance is proposing, it would allow a developer who may only build 5,000 square feet of retail, build far more than just 10,000 square feet of residential.
In other words, if the mix use ratio is eliminated, it will allow more apartments downtown. If the mix use ratio is kept as is (2:1) it will limit the residential development to a similar footprint as the retail component. For example, the Bella Bakery building is built within the 2:1 ratio. The two upper floors have the same footprint as the retail first floor.
However, eliminating the mix use ratio at the Bella Bakery property would have allowed the two upper floors to be extended over the rear parking lot.
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
As a resident, you’re allowed, and encouraged to communicate with the city administration, mayor, and city council on pending ordinance changes as well as anything in the city, regardless of whether it’s on the agenda or not. It’s your city and your council is here to represent your concerns.
To share your thoughts and opinions with the city council, you can copy / paste the following emails into your email client:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Petralandaj@miamisprings-fl.gov, email@example.com
WATCH THE FULL MEETING
You can watch the full four hour plus marathon meeting below: