Palmetto Bay took a major step forward in redeveloping the village’s downtown area off U.S. 1.
On Dec. 14, the village council unanimously approved Palmetto Bay’s Downtown Urban Village zoning code (DUV), a process almost three years in the making that involved more than 100 public presentations.
“The Palmetto Bay Village Council came one step closer to realizing its dream of a livable, walkable downtown,” village spokesman Bill Kress said.
The village began the process in early 2013 to encourage investment in the distressed commercial corridor along Franjo Road and U.S. 1— an area commonly referred to as the Franjo Triangle or the U.S. 1 Commercial Island.
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“We’ve been trying to put together a code that would be more responsive to market conditions and accommodate what the market would demand,” said Darby Delsalle, the village’s planning and zoning director. He said the area has been reflective of older 1960s-era warehouse units and auto dealerships built on a suburban model.
The new downtown will have a mix of green spaces, residential space and businesses. Village staff also hopes to lure small businesses such as restaurants, cafes, grocers and salons. The tallest buildings will not exceed eight stories in site-specific areas.
The village expects to see a boom in developers’ interest within the next 12 to 24 months.
“Right now, the interest really just has to come in,” Delsalle said.
Based on some conversations, the village anticipates a mixed-use development with about 1,000 residential units and 100,000 to 500,000 square feet of commercial space, Delsalle said.
Over time, the downtown area will be the heart of our community.
Bill Kress, Village of Palmetto Bay spokesman
The new code is aimed at encouraging developers to invest in the village, but contains safeguards against overdevelopment, such as density and height restrictions, Kress said.
Kress described the zoning code as a “forward-thinking plan.”
“This will provide open, urban spaces and parks within the fabric of a mixed-use development pattern that combines work, play and living spaces within the urban core,” he said.
The DUV zoning code also includes designs that capitalize on public transportation, such as wider sidewalks, bike racks, bike lanes, and a hub that would tie in to the South Dade Busway.
“The overall design is bicycle/pedestrian friendly and will offer the residents of Palmetto Bay a venue to work, live, shop, dine and enjoy a night out in their own community,” Kress said. “Over time, the downtown area will be the heart of our community, cementing our village as the gateway to South Dade and the premier place to be in Miami-Dade County.”