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City leaders discuss North Miami development plan

North Miami’s future land use map from the 2007 comprehensive plan process.
North Miami’s future land use map from the 2007 comprehensive plan process. City of North Miami

Members of the North Miami City Council and the city’s planning commission convened Monday night to discuss the city’s comprehensive development plan and offer recommendations before it’s adopted.

The city and its planning firm, The Mellgren Group, heard suggestions from the commission and council members, during a forum at City Hall. Recommendations included a greater focus on mixed-use development on major roads in the city and a plan to study increases in height and density across the city.

Michele Mellgren, the principal with the firm, said that the plan meets the state department of economic opportunity requirements, including complying with state laws and adding an optional component to address climate change, but she and her staff needed additional direction on the other parts of the plan.

“The comprehensive plan is a policy document, it’s a vision of the future to help you in your decision making,” Mellgren said.

State law requires an update to the plan every seven years.

Mellgren said that potential changes in height and density and the way that the city will divide a pool of 5,000 dwelling units in the neighborhood redevelopment overlay district, all needed to be considered and planned to ensure North Miami can handle the new development.

Members of the commission and City Council suggested looking at streets such as Northeast Sixth and Northwest Seventh avenues, West Dixie Highway and Biscayne Boulevard as corridors where mixed-use and other development could be considered and encouraged.

They also said the city needs to remove requirements for above-ground parking garages and to divide the 5,000 dwelling units across the city’s major roads with a focus on the downtown area.

“We have a land use plan that has catered to benign neglect for too long,” planning commissioner Kevin Seifried said. “We understand the economic downturn, but we also understand that the overall incentives are not there to build.”

Discussion and work on the updated plan began last September and was followed by community meetings and public hearings. The comprehensive plan was previously discussed in 2007 and the state approved the plan in 2008.

City leaders also considered creating an architectural design review board at the forum and discussed building a reverse osmosis water treatment plant to support increased density in the city.

The plan also addresses development around the city's potential All Aboard Florida train station at Northeast 125th Street and West Dixie Highway.

The Mellgren Group will study the recommendations and bring back an amended plan for the planning commission’s approval in August. The plan will likely be presented for City Council approval at the Aug. 25 meeting. The plan is scheduled to be submitted by September.