Miami Springs’ proposal to increase building height limits up to eight stories faced a major setback just before Monday’s council meeting when it was abruptly pulled from the agenda.
“I asked for them to pull 10-G from [Monday’s] agenda and they have,” said Councilwoman Rosie Buckner, who is visiting Tallahassee and learned about the issue on short notice.
Currently, the maximum building height in the “central” and “neighborhood” business districts is just three stories, or about 40 feet tall, states a Feb. 8 internal city memo obtained by the Herald shortly before it was removed from the city’s website.
City leaders did not discuss the height limit proposal during Monday’s city council meeting.
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The areas marked for height limit increases include City Hall, parts of Westward Dr., the Circle, Canal St., and Royal Poinciana Blvd., according to a detailed map attached to the memo. Noticeably absent from the memo, and map, was any mention of building height limit increases along Northwest 36th St., the commercial district that faces Miami International Airport on the city’s south side.
“The ... discussion was pulled from tonight’s [Monday’s] agenda at Councilwoman Buckner’s request,” City Manager Ron Gorland said. “The change process alone would mean an ordinance amendment which means at least three different agenda meetings and discussions.”
Gorland did not respond to requests by the Miami Herald to list the “several property owners and developers” who have discussed the matter with city officials, according to the Feb. 8 city memo to council members written “via” Gorland.
Gorland also did not comment on much “increased tax revenue” the city could gain from height changes if “redevelopment occurs.”
“Multi-story buildings in both neighborhoods are important as they allow for a mix of uses, including floor retail or office uses, with office and or residential units above,” the memo states. The units will provide “energy and dynamism.”
One resident, however, strongly opposes the measure.
“Residents who like our unique low density quality of life need to pay extreme attention to who on city council are backing this developer’s effort to change our community forever,” said Martin Marquez, an architect and city council candidate who has lived in Miami Springs for decades.
If the measure passes, Martin added, would destroy the “child safe, low-density, historical community that Glenn Curtiss envisioned when he created Miami Springs in 1926.”
The city invites residents to speak for or against the proposed height limits during open forum at the next council meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, at City Hall, 201 Westward Dr.