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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Let's stop lot-splitting in Coconut Grove

Received this email today, not sure how the NCD's can be changed at this point since they are in the process of being re-drawn and re-done and from what I hear, lot-splitting is a negative on the new plans. But here is info on Monday's meeting. 

On Monday, July 31 at 6:30 pm at City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive) there will be a meeting to propose changes of NCD codes to eliminate the prohibition of lot splitting in the Grove. This is item #3 on the agenda. Of course, this meeting was scheduled for when so many Grove residents are out of town during the summer. If you are in town, please come. We must speak up now or lose the Grove forever.

Wherever you are, please take a few minutes to oppose this, by copying the letter below and emailing it to those below before Monday.

Your Honor, Sir or Madame, Members of the Board

We object to the amendments to NCD-2&3  PZAB-10 File ID: (ID # 2661)

·         Proposed  changes to city NCD codes which would eliminate prohibition on lot splitting and impose the same requirements as the rest of the city.  See pages 1213 and 1214 of PZAB material. It will take some time to download as the material is 1220 pages.
·         What is eliminated:  “Wherever an existing single-family residence or lawful accessory building(s) or structure(s) is located on one or more platted lots or portions thereof, such lots shall thereafter constitute only one building site and”
·         Further it would impose the burden of the warrant process on every construction or remodel of a house in Coconut Grove, thus insuring that the properties that should be protected are obscured in the flock of legitimate projects.
·         Here is the language in the Coral Gables Code which prohibits lot splitting: (Art #3-206 E.2.)  (page 48)
2. Building site requirements. Wherever there may exist a single-family residence(s), duplex building(s) or any lawful accessory building(s) or structure(s) which was heretofore constructed on property containing one (1) or more platted lots or portions thereof, such lot or lots shall thereafter constitute only one (1) building site and no permit shall be issued for the construction of more than one (1) single-family residence or duplex building.
3. Removal of buildings. If a single-family residence or duplex building is demolished or removed, whether voluntarily or involuntarily or by an act of God or casualty, no permit shall be issued for the construction of more than one (1) building on the building site.
·         This language is amazingly similar to the language prohibiting lot (building site) splitting in NCD-2&3. In Coral Gables it is, for the most part, understood and enforced. We advocate similar language and enforcement in the City of Miami.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous John Dolson said...

It is unfortunate that this letter sent to the Grapevine and is circulating via e:mail is filled with inaccuracies and innuendo (i.e.-conspiracy theories regarding timing of the meeting while people are out). Much progress has been made toward code revision, but there is much more to do. First, lot-splitting is not inherently illegal. Property owner rights figure prominently in the warrant process. Like it or not, that is a fact. Neighbors have rights too, however, which is why we have this process.

Secondly, this is a 'first reading', not up for final decision. It outlines the procedures planning and zoning would like to follow, thus clarifying what is a murky decision making process now. Frankly, the warrant process is awful. It is slow,and pits neighbor against neighbor, home owners and developers.

We shouldn't expand this process, but rather, provide clear rules that limit the need for the process for everyone. We can't have code that relies upon the whims of politicians or P/Z staff that come and go with time. This is an opportunity for open discussion, and I applaud the board for getting it out there. This clarification has been requested repeatedly over the last year or so. No surprise there, no conspiracy.

The other big issue isn't even mentioned--FAR. The Floor-Area-Ratio of 80% hardscape allows these oversized homes to come in and strip the canopy. That MUST be part of the later rewrite--cut that to 50 or 65% and see how quickly the tree issue gets minimized.

All that said, it is important to show up, listen, speak up as needed and be part of a constructive process. P/Z has been working hard of late to understand and support concerns about the NCD-3 and 2. Let's take a positive and collaborative approach.

July 31, 2017 8:13 AM  
Blogger John Snyder said...

• Whether there is or is not a conspiracy this “discussion” is very ill timed.
• Certainly this is not a time conducive to community input, nor has it been well announced.
• The prohibition on lot splitting has been in force in Coral Gables, as well as many other Florida municipalities for over twenty years. This prohibition worked in Coconut Grove for at least 10 years before the current onslaught of development. The prohibition against Lot splitting is at the heart of Neighborhood CONSERVATION District , NCD Code: to eliminate that wording in the code, would destroy the NCD code and ultimately change the Grove into just another indistinguishable area of the city of Miami.
• The language of the proposed changes would allow the Planning and Zoning department to exercise their discretion on allowing single family building sites to be sub-divided, becoming a very subjective process, ripe for pressure on city employees. We have already observed too many instances where “errors” have occurred, this is not the direction to go to Conserve the Character of the Grove.
• The Coral Gables code works, let’s use it as a model, copy it, do away with the warrant altogether, not subject every prospective builder, remodeler, homeowner to a warrant process. The only thing accomplished by doing that would be to unnecessarily burden the community and our zoning board and building department. In the rare instances where the property rights of an owner are being infringed upon, perhaps let them take it to the city commission.
• While there is nothing in the proposed changes which addresses FAR or Lot to Building ratios, these are certainly issues which need attention, but are complex, and deserve serious consideration.

July 31, 2017 12:09 PM  

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