The Miami Springs City Council unanimously approved a variance application last week for a new apartment project being proposed at 400 Park Street. The proposal includes six apartments designed to look like 3 story townhomes. The existing 2,227 square foot single story structure has 2 units with a total of 5 beds and 3 baths.
NOTE: The property is already zoned for multi-family use. In other words, it’s perfectly okay to build apartments at this location. The applicant (a Miami Springs resident and architect who has owned the property for nearly 20 years) asked the City to grant a 10′ and 8″ side yard set back on Glen Way. In consideration for the request, the applicant highlighted the following:
- The irregular shape of the lot.
- The side yard variance is being requested on Glen Way (only) which has a large triangular green median directly across the street. In other words, there’s no direct impact to the neighbor (Grace Lutheran Church).
- There are several mature trees on the Glen Way side yard that would screen the project from the street, including a 30′ high Banyan Tree.
- The swale adjacent to the property measures nearly 15′ which adds another level of separation from the public.
THE PROPERTY: The property consists of a single parcel of land, nearly rectangular in shape, with an angular cut at the corner facing Glen Way. The property abuts three streets: Hibiscus Drive, Park Street, and Glen Way. A 16 foot wide alley abuts the property on the south. The subject property covers 15,241 square feet in land size.
In order to construct the project as set forth in the site plan, the applicant requested a variance pursuant to section 150-060(E) of the City’s Code of Ordinances to provide a front yard setback of 10’8” for a portion of the building where the Code requires a minimum front yard of not less than 30 feet or the average depth of the front yard of the lot or lots next adjacent thereto on either side, whichever is the lesser of the two. In this instance, the requested variance results in a 19’4” variance for a portion of the building from the required setback. As indicated above, the variance was approved.
The six units are identical in size, design and layout. Each unit is approximately 1,500 SF in size and three stories in height. The ground floor contains an en-suite bedroom or office and a carport/garage. The floor is accessed both from the front door and through the carport at rear. A staircase leads to the second floor, which contains a living area, dining area, open kitchen, and a half bathroom with laundry room. A large balcony extends along the front of this level looking out into Hibiscus Drive. A staircase leads to the third floor that contains two en-suite bedrooms, including a master bedroom with a Juliette balcony facing Hibiscus Drive.
Parking required is 14 spaces, and 14 spaces are provided on the property. That’s two parking spaces for each unit and 2 extra spaces for visitors. The property also has an extensive swale along Hibiscus, Park Street, and Glen Way for any extra visitors. In other words, the parking plan for this property will not cause problems for neighbors unlike the new downtown project at 1 Curtiss Parkway which never had sufficient parking and never paid the City of Miami Springs for using on-street parking.
(Side note: The City of Miami Springs established a parking fee for the Gateway Overlay District that could have netted the City of Miami Springs over a $1 Million. We are still flabbergasted that the City Administration never made an effort to collect parking fees from the biggest project in the history of downtown Miami Springs.)
400 PARK ST FLOOR PLANS
Generally speaking, we’re not crazy about adding more density in Miami Springs. However, this project is replacing a home being used as a duplex with six large and highly desirable apartments. In other words, these won’t be cheap econoboxes. I appreciate that the owner / developer is a local resident and architect. I also appreciate that the project was tastefully designed to enhance the area with an “elegant” look. In other words, lots of care has been put in place to make these apartments augment our community and add value to our community. We wish other Miami Springs projects had the care and love for our community that this project has. Maybe this project will be used as a template for future developments in our area.
If you haven’t heard, Miami-Dade County has a major housing crisis. Many middle class families who could previously afford a detached single family home in Miami Springs can’t anymore. Based on the design, layout, and size of these new apartments, they will clearly charge a premium to be able to live in a brand new building on a quiet Miami Springs residential community with easy walking access to the Westward commercial area. At last week’s City Council Meeting, the owner indicated similar units are renting for about $3,000 per month.
The City Planner, Chris Heid, added the following commentary: “…I always ask myself this when I’m reviewing a residential property…Would I want to live here? …When I look at this one, I say yes. I like this…I want to be there.”
Funny. I don’t recall Chris Heid saying the same thing about the downtown project at One Curtiss Parkway and the gross lack of parking at that project.