North Beach Town Center plans stretch skyward

“For better or worse, probably worse, something was said to the community where 125 feet got locked into,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian.

“Unfortunately, that is in the public mind. Having said that, we have to do now what we think is best.”

October 2, 2018 | Miami Today | North Beach Town Center plans stretch skyward

North Beach Town Center: Still Debating Development Guidelines

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he thinks it is important that all projects contribute to a public benefit fund. He said he supported some incentive, but maybe through a discounted fee to ensure all projects contributed. He also said he wanted to “raise the bar” and require an “elevated” level of stormwater retention rather than offering that as a public benefit contribution.

Samuelian said he can see discounts to the “public benefit as a catalyst” and said he was open to “land on a number at 3 plus” per square foot. “If we do want to have incentives for development it seems rational to me that you pay less. I think that’s a big lever to get stuff going, to reduce the amount of the benefit.”

As the discussion wound to a close, Samuelian said, “One thing people said is they want us to move forward.” He proposed increasing the public benefit fee recommended by the consultant and to use a “discount as a catalyst” to move development forward. He also reiterated his desire to have more robust requirements for stormwater retention and reuse.

September 29, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | North Beach Town Center: Still Debating Development Guidelines

North Beach Town Center: How high and where?

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said, “This issue has prompted a lot of community outreach… it’s the FAR decision that was the catalyst that drives some of the issues around quality of life, traffic, development. That issue was decided by the voters. We’re here to take it from there.”

He said he understands the concerns expressed about the process. “A certain number of height was latched onto and, maybe looking back,” he said, there might have been a way “to help [residents] better understand” the process that would happen after the vote which, he said, “was the step on a journey but it wasn’t the final answer. But for a lot of people, they heard that was the answer so that was a complication. Nothing mischievous going on but I could clearly see a lot in the community thought we had an agreement” of 125 feet in maximum height.

“We now have to do what’s right with the information that we have,” Samuelian said. “Our goal is revitalize… we need to make sure we get shovels in the ground,” With regard to the public benefit being tied to obtaining a permit within 15 months he said he wasn’t comfortable with that being the only milestone and suggested incorporating temporary certificates of occupancy (TCOs) into the mix.

“On the topic of height, this is a tough one,” he said. “I’m open to considering going above 125. For me, at this point, I find it hard to believe that we would get anything above 200.” He said he would support the proposed guidelines on first reading, knowing the options for variations in height based on location or lot size would be further discussed at the Land Use meeting this week.

September 22, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | North Beach Town Center: How high and where?