South Miami

South Miami moves forward with Madison Square development project

Despite being one commissioner short, some big decisions were made Tuesday regarding affordable housing in front of a jammed-packed City Hall at the South Miami city commission meeting.

The main item

Several ordinances related to the Madison Square development project passed 3-1 on first reading, with dissent from Commissioner Gabriel Edmond and in the absence of Vice Mayor Walter Harris.

The items will move on to a second reading, where they will require a five out of five commission vote. One ordinance passed Tuesday on first reading: amending the city’s land development code to adjust the density caps in the special retail (SR) zoning districts in the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and to allow the commission to approve special-use applications for density bonuses for affordable housing. Several ordinances passed relating to the increased residential densities, in the CRA, needed to qualify for a tax credit.

An ordinance to increase the project, on Southwest 61st Court and Southwest 64th Terrace, from single-family residential-two story to multifamily residential-four story also passed. The commission agreed to pass an ordinance changing the property from small lot single-family residential district RS-4 to low density multi-family residential district RM-18. Lastly, the commission approved an ordinance that revised parking requirements for the project. The amendment also provides one space per unit for low affordable, affordable and workforce housing unit, when located within one-half mile of the Metrorail station.

The land use and zoning package will be sent to the planning board for review on Sept. 29. After that meeting, the commission will hold a special meeting to have a second reading of the items at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14.

“What I’m going to say may not please either side,” Commissioner Josh Liebman said from the dais. “I think my vote for the ultimate project may not. I’m going to support every item regarding Madison Square. I’m going to support every item tonight and in four weeks when we have our second meeting.”

“There is a risk that no one is going to be happy, but I’m going to support it because I believe that it’s the right thing to do and I’m never afraid to make the right decision.”

Other business

▪ Drainage: The commission unanimously approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Steven Alexander to negotiate and enter into a contract with Coramarca Corp. for construction of the Soutwest 78th Street roadway and drainage improvements.

▪ Seeing statues: The commission will ask the Florida Legislature to inform Congress of its desire to place a statue of environmentalist Majory Stoneman Douglas or civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune or other appropriate Floridians in the congressional collection representing Florida, to replace the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith. Smith’s statue is one of two statues representing Florida in Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

▪ Welcome: The commission consented to authorize Alexander to pay Bermello Ajamil & Partners to complete engineering documents for city welcome signs. One vehicular-scale, gateway monument sign will be placed at Fuchs Park while another will be placed elsewhere in the city.

They said it

“We’ve had a lot of people, both staff and outside consultants … two attorneys, working on this,” Alexander said at the meeting. “This has been what we’ve been doing for about the last month. We had to get the items ready for the agenda.”

“We tried to as best we could to work with the CRA, developers and city commission and try and put together the package that would give the commission the greatest flexibility. We are on an incredibly short time frame here. It seems like a lot of time if I say the deadline for the tax credit application is Nov. 9, however it has literally taken us a month’s time with a large team working hard and long hours and one draft has 15 revisions.”

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. Oct. 6

▪ Where: City Hall, 6130 Sunset Dr., South Miami