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July 15, 2008

By Tania Valdemoro, The Miami Herald

Jul. 15–Miami Beach City Commissioners have ratified more than a dozen recommendations aimed at regulating large developments.

The action came Monday during a special growth management workshop at City Hall, and the commission directed city staff to draft ordinances that will put the 16 recommendations into effect.

In the past year, Beach officials asked three consultants, Clarion Associates, TischlerBise and Glatting Jackson, to study how the city could develop a more comprehensive system to evaluate and control the impacts of “major development projects,” whose floor area equals or exceeds 50,000 square feet or more.

Currently, projects of that size located in commercial and light-industrial zoning districts are reviewed by the city’s Planning Board.

The consultants’ report further revealed that Miami Beach can accommodate a “significant” amount of new development: 7,287 more residential units and 8 million square feet of nonresidential development before the city reaches “build out.”

Among the suggestions city commissioners approved:

Define and codify a “major development project.”

Make the review process for major development projects apply citywide.

Consider different thresholds for a “major development project” in South Beach, Mid Beach and North Beach based on location and use.

Change the existing review standards so that they cover issues such as appearance and compatibility, off-street parking, pedestrian circulation, open space set asides and workforce housing.

Make sure the design standards of a project include standards for site and building layout, building height, access and circulation and building design.

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