Miami Beach

Miami Beach residents oppose proposed zoning change in North Beach

North Beach land use regulations and a citywide ban on polystyrene were among the issues discussed at Wednesday’s Miami Beach City Commission meeting.

The main item

Several North Beach residents gathered at Miami Beach City Hall to speak out against a proposed change to land use regulations in Ocean Terrace, a stretch of beachfront properties between 75th and 73rd streets.

The city is considering creating an overlay district in that area that would allow higher building heights and higher floor area ratio, which is the square footage of the building divided by the square footage of the lot. A higher ratio means a bigger footprint for the building. A ratio increase would have to be approved by voter referendum.

City commissioners may put a proposed increase on the November ballot. Although the item was continued until the July 29 meeting, the commission heard public comments Wednesday.

The proposal comes as Claro Development hopes to redevelop properties it has purchased in Ocean Terrace.

Kirk Paskal, of the North Shore Historic District Neighborhood Association, told the commission that the community welcomes development that can revitalize North Beach, but residents don’t want taller, denser buildings.

“We don’t want to be a high-rise community,” he said.

Resident and preservationist Clothilde Luce said the solution for underperforming real estate isn’t always upzoning.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Neisen Kasdin, a lobbyist representing Claro, said the ordinance has been delayed because the city’s planning board asked for some changes to the proposal. He added that there are many people in North Beach who support the plan and that any proposed development would have to go through the city’s Historic Preservation Board.

Other business

▪ Commissioners gave initial approval to a citywide ban on polystyrene, the material commonly known by the brand name Styrofoam. Commissioner Michael Grieco proposed the ban, which has already been implemented in the city’s marinas, parks and beaches.

The proposal, which will be up for a second vote at a future meeting, would quickly create a citywide ban on polystyrene coolers and give businesses who use polystyrene products (like restaurant to-go boxes) a one-year grace period to find alternatives and use existing inventory. After that, violators would be subject to $50 fines. Increased fines would follow for repeat violations.

They said it

“Several local businesses have already subjected themselves to nonpolystyrene products.” — Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco

You said it

“You all are dilapidating and diluting the visual postcard of what makes MiMo and Miami Beach unique.” — Resident Clothilde Luce, on proposed height and density increases in Ocean Terrace.

The next meeting

▪ When: 5 p.m., July 29

▪ Where: 1700 Convention Center Drive