After last year’s arduous discussion and amendment process, North Miami has received objections and recommendations from the state on the city’s comprehensive land use plan.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity objected to a number of proposed changes in the plan and centered on a lack of specificity in the city’s land use map changes.
According to the report, the city and its planning firm, the Mellgren Planning Group, failed to specify changes to the city’s future land use map in a timely way. The state department said the additional information from the consultant arrived too late for them to consider it in their report.
“The amendment package, as submitted, does not provide the location, scope, description or analyses of these amendments,” the department wrote in the report.
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Votes on the plan were delayed on several occasions in 2015 thanks in part to disagreements about heights limits in various areas of the city such as the Biscayne Boulevard corridor, neighborhoods surrounding Northeast 125th Street and along Northwest Seventh Avenue.
The city council also debated removing a requirement for a supermajority vote to approve land use and zoning amendments but ultimately chose to keep it in place. The four-fifths vote requirement was included in the 2008 comprehensive plan.
Council members eventually approved the comprehensive plan after three attempts, and submitted it to the state department in October. The process and public meetings to discuss the plan began in September 2014.
The department report also suggested that the city include language from state statutes to identify North Miami’s coastal high-hazard areas and to clean up more broad language about North Miami’s plans to develop student housing and other smaller clarifications.
At a recent planning commission meeting, city planner Nixon Lebrun said the Mellgren Group is working to address the report’s findings and that the city does not have much leeway in complying with the report.
“We just have to do what they told us to do at this point, we cannot make any change to high densities or any other policy changes,” Lebrun said at the Jan. 5 meeting.
Interim City Manager Arthur Sorey said the plan will likely go to the city council for final approval at the first council meeting in March.