North Miami’s Biscayne Landing project advanced after a long discussion on two items related to the project’s permit and conceptual plan during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Both items passed unanimously and were generally met with support from the public. Even those who expressed some concerns over the sale of a portion of the land to Oleta Partners last year said the city needed to move forward on the project at Northeast 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard.
“When I saw this on the agenda I was shocked. I thought it was forgone,” resident Beverly Hilton said. “Please, no more procrastination, let’s just move this on.”
The first item, an ordinance amending part of the city’s land development regulations, clarified what would be considered minor and major changes on the property. It also helped designate that Biscayne Landing, a more than 180-acre site, would need unique treatment given its size compared to other development in the city.
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The related resolution gave approval, with amendments, to the conditional use permit and conceptual master plan for the site. The changes to the master plan included a slight reworking of the housing units with the 4,315 multifamily housing units being designated to include elderly assisted housing units.
The updated plan also calls for a 1.3-acre increase of green space on the site and potential drainage areas across the property.
Vice Mayor Carol Keys asked for the spine road, which will weave through the project, to be moved farther east at the intersection of the road and Northeast 151st Street, away from Biscayne Boulevard.
Councilman Scott Galvin asked for language to be added stating that Oleta Partners will not consider Northeast 135th Street either as an access road between Biscayne Landing and the neighboring Florida International University campus or as part of the site plan.
“These approvals complete one of the primary components of the memorandum of understanding between the city and Oleta Partners and will allow us to move forward with the Biscayne Landing project,” Michael Tillman, president of Oleta Partners, said in a statement.
The council also discussed the contract of former mayor Joe Celestin, who was hired in 2011 to handle project management services for the Biscayne Landing site. The council didn’t discuss the terms for a new deal on the dais instead they directed staff to propose a resolution for renewing the contract at a future meeting.
A one-year renewal on Celestin’s contract expired last November and the city has been paying him on a month-to-month basis.