Letter from Commissioner Russell’s Office Re: PZAB Meeting on 7/31

The following email was sent to residents from Commissioner Russell’s office regarding the proposed new NCD language:

Good Afternoon,

I’d like to thank you for reaching out to Commissioner Ken Russell about the item coming
before the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board tonight.

We have heard from many residents concerned about lot-splitting and share that concern
equally. The Planning Department has indicated that the intent of this legislation is to clarify
and strengthen the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD). The NCD is intended to
protect neighborhoods and unfortunately, we’ve all seen a number of examples where it has
failed to do so. Our office would like to clear up a couple of misconceptions about the
proposed changes to the NCD 3 and how they will affect the lot-splitting issue.

The amendments under consideration at PZAB will accomplish the following:

– Clarify that the warrant requirement for lot splitting applies to both platted and unplatted
lots. A warrant would still be required to split any lot and that is spelled out specifically in
the language: “No Lots shall be diminished in size except by warrant.”

– The amendment will also eliminate the confusion over what constitutes a “building site.”
The warrant requirement for lot-splitting will apply to all “Lots” in the NCD-3, defined as any
individual lot, tract or parcel of land, intended as a single building site or unit, having an
assigned number or numbers, letter or letters, or other name through which it may be
identified for development purposes. A Lot may also be any combination of lots, tracts,
parcels or other areas of land established by acceptable legal joinder, delineated by a
closed boundary and assigned a number, letter or other name through which it may be
identified, intended as a single unit for development purposes.

– Specify that any proposed lot splitting must comply with Design Review Criteria in Article
4, Table 12 of Miami 21. Any proposed single family residence must be reviewed for
compliance with Design Review Criteria on issues such as the proposed building’s design
and its fit within the context of the neighborhood in scale, architectural features, impact on
the pedestrian environment and landscaping.

– Outlines requirements and factors to be considered during Planning review of warrant
applications for lot splitting, including; minimum lot area (10,000 square feet for
diminishment of lots under one acre; 20,000 square feet for diminishment of lots over one
acre); average lot size of surrounding properties within 500 feet; diminishment of lots cannot
result in lots smaller than the average lot size; the original plat from the City of Miami
Municipal Atlas; all submittals required for compliance with Chapter 17, including a
disposition plan, boundary survey, protection plan, arborist report, and photos of the site.

Hopefully, these changes will strengthen the City’s ability to protect the character of the
NCD 3. However, the Commissioner will be watching closely and if the product that comes
to Commission does not accomplish that, he will not approve it. The Commissioner
welcomes any additional suggestions you may have about how to improve the language.

Best regards,

James P. Jackson Jr.
Office Manager/ Special Aide
Office of Commissioner Ken Russell
City Hall, District 2
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, Florida 33133
Telephone: (305) 250-5333
jamesjackson@miamigov.com