On Tuesday, June 7, urban planning agency Dover, Kohl & Partners presented their North Beach master plan draft to a packed room that included residents, community leaders and business owners. Since December 2015, the firm has been diligently collecting data for the study that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Bay and from 63rd Street to 87th Terrace.
The agency synthesized all the information they gathered into five distinct “big ideas” that would completely reshape the area.
At the top of that list was the redesign of Town Center that would make 71st street more walkable and include more mix use buildings. Additional parts of this plan includes more parking, an extension of the beachwalk and even revamping the Byron Carlyle Theater.
“My business is growing and eventually I will need more office space,” said Megan Fitzpatrick, who attended the meeting and will eventually need office space for her consulting business. “I love the idea of growing my business in area that is also growing. I would consider having my business headquartered in this area.”
The study also included more transportation options for residents and guests to get around with ease. On the heels of the City of Miami Beach Transportation Master Plan, the draft would hope to create a trolley service that connects to Mid-Beach and South Beach and create dedicated bus lanes, to name a few of the suggestions.
The draft also addressed Sea Level Rise concerns and stressed the importance of making “resilient investments,” implementing beach replenishment programs, developing storm water infrastructures and building dikes-in-dunes. They would also like to raise streets, sea walls, and buildings.
One of the most controversial parts of the study was to create two new local historic districts: The North Shore Local Historic District and the Normandy Isles Local Historic District. This would protect historic structures from demolition. Additionally, they hope to add two Conservation districts that would protect the scale of an area but allow owners to replace buildings that are dilapidated. At the meeting, there was discussion over Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), which means development rights would be transferred from one district to another with the objective of enhancing the “receiving” district. There were also talks of holding workshops to discuss adaptive reuse of areas and new construction projects. They spoke of including affordable housing, transforming the area around the fountain into a pedestrian oriented shopping district and creating a BID to help with shaping the area.
However, some had their doubts regarding some parts of the plan. “It’s great that Miami Beach recalibrates its narrative but we need more incentives for developers instead of further restrictions,” said President of the North Beach Property Owners Association Matis Cohen. “We have to look at sea level rise as a matter fact and stop arguing about it. The majority of housing is 3 to 4 feet below sea level. How do you protect property that is below sea level? The city has to raise the land and incentivize new development.”
The master planners also included a section on the redesign of public lands. One area that would be redeveloped is the 72nd Street Parking lot. They envision adding green space, a recreational field and even a skate park to the space.
[Read also: North Beach Skate Park Gains Support]
The enhancement of the West Lots, which consists of eight half blocks fronting Collins Avenue across from North Shore Open Space Park, was addressed. The most popular idea for this area would be the development of it into a low scale residential section, which would include public use as well.
On Wednesday, June 8, the Miami Beach City Commission imposed a six-month moratorium on demolition in North Beach. This would protect structures from being destroyed until the historic districts were approved.
Click here to view the Master Plan for North Beach DraftSubscribe to Our Newsletter