NBNA Scorecard on April 6th North Beach Committee Meeting

Balance of Master Plan Tipping Toward Increased Height & FAR in North Beach & Away from Affordable Housing Options & Preservation in Town Center

What can we say except OMG! And ugh.

If you haven’t heard the latest, Mayor Levine reconvened the North Beach Committee to take a look at the Master Plan recommendations—you know, the thing we spent all that money and time on building consensus around last year—and forward suggestions for Commission review and vote.

A motion passed to expand Town Center, which would mean a larger area with increased height to 12 stories, and another to increase FAR (density) within the expanded area.

Although these suggestions were part of the Master Plan, they were balanced alongside support for local historic districts (we lost the Tatum Waterway), a commitment to bolstering affordable housing options and adherence to the detailed guidelines in the plan (which are currently being debated) for the proposed North Beach conservation districts.

Take a look at our scorecard below for more about the recent actions of this North Beach Committee to see what these seven “representatives” are up to:

Scorecard from April 6th
North Beach Committee Meeting

Wait a minute…  Didn’t we all agree as a community, along with the professionals and experts at Dover & Kohl, to a limited height increase in Town Center as long as the proposed local historic were adopted as proposed (we lost Tatum Waterway… so far) and affordable housing options were integrated?  And didn’t we also agree—again with the professionals—that a FAR increase should be balanced against these protections for the character and diversity of our neighborhoods?

Oh, FYI, the Committee also vetoed the concept of inclusionary zoning in Town Center, which would have required developers to include mixed-income units and encouraged a variety of affordable options (like micro units) for residents.

One positive recommendation was the unanimous support of a historic preservation fund that would provide grants to property owners to help restore or adapt MiMo structures.  Sadly, however, a motion to support finding options for how best to preserve historic structures on 71st failed. This would mean the possible loss of the iconic parabolic arch (NBNA’s trademark!) on 71st.

Folks, it’s time to reach out and show up. Why are parts of the Master Plan getting implemented while others are intentionally undermined and denied? Many in the community consented to concessions they would not have otherwise agreed – because they were promised something in return. Wasn’t that the foundational compromise of the plan? The North Beach Committee needs to hear from us. The Commission and Mayor needs to hear from you (current and running). Let’s begin a dialogue regarding what are sure to be hotly contested issues. See easy to cut and paste email lists below.

Join residents on Thursday, April 27th from 8:00AM to 11:00AM at the Normandy Golf Club when the North Beach Committee will propose changes to the Conservation District ordinance.

Given the motions thus far, we fear these recommendations will not favor clearly expressed resident concerns regarding parking, space between buildings, height and the maintenance of the character and scale of our neighborhood.

If we don’t begin to ask questions and voice our vision, we are allowing 7 handpicked residents to determine the future of North Beach even though hundreds of residents and stakeholders worked side-by-side with Dover & Kohl to hammer out a balanced, compromised vision of the North Beach of the future.

Current North Beach Committee Members Contacts

Margueritte Ramos, Nancy Liebman, Betsy Perez, Brad Bonessi, Daniel Veitia, Carolina Jones & Kirk Paskal


Current Mayor & Commission Contacts

Philip Levine, Mickey Steinberg, Joy Malakoff, Michael Greico, John Aleman, Ricky Arriola, Kristen Gonzalez


Commission & MayorAL candidates Contacts

Dan Gelber, Michael Grieco, Micky Steinberg, Daniel Kahn, Mickey Steinberg, Zachary Eisner, Robert Lansburgh, Joshua Levy, Rafael Velasquez, Michael Gongora, Adrian Gonzalez, Cindy Mattson


Preserve historic districts to protect North Beach’s future.

Our long, hard fight to achieve local designation for North Beach’s historic districts is almost over, but we need you to make another stand.

On December 5 at 3:00, the City Commission is holding a “special meeting” designed to undermine these districts—and the years of collaborative work they represent.

Against the recommendations of the Master Plan, City Planning has suggested eliminating South Shore Drive and the Tatum Waterway from local designation, cutting large chunks out of our National Registry Districts. The Historic Preservation Board reviewed their arguments and rejected these cuts.

Now, Commissioner Aleman, apparently under pressure from outside development interests, has called for a “special meeting” to discuss the boundaries of the local districts. Their arguments focus on sea level rise, but of course that’s not the whole story.

Without preservation of the waterfront, developers would be able to amass plots to build oversized developments in the middle of our historic neighborhoods.

After this meeting, the Commission will decide whether to support the local designation as put forth by HPB and the Master Plan or suggest reduced boundaries.

We know, it feels like we’ve all been working on this for ages… and this is our big moment. Sea level rise cannot be used as a reason to reject local preservation.  What will happen to the already designated areas throughout Miami Beach if this argument wins?

North Beach demands that the Mayor and City Commission stand by their word—and respect the (expensive) expertise of Dover, Kohl & Partners—by confirming designation of our local historic districts as defined by the Master Plan.

We’ve provided some background and talking points below.  Please come out on Monday, December 5 at 3:00 at City Hall (1700 Convention Center Drive, 3rd Floor). Whether you can attend or not, please call and email your Mayor and City Commissioners to make sure they hear from as many of us as possible.  All info for contact below image.

The Mayor and Commissioners are on record in support of the Master Plan and local designations. Now they need to stand by that promise—and we need you to hold them to it.

The Background

  • In 2014, the Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously in favor of local designation. The Commission blocked this, deferring the decision until the Master Plan.
  • The North Beach Master Plan was crafted based on a full year of community engagement and expert evaluation. It calls for local designation of these districts as well as conservation of surrounding areas, with unanimous support by the Steering Committee.
  • In July, the promise of local designation was used to support a height increase in TC-1, the area along 71st street from the Normandy fountain to the beach.
  • In August, the Mayor and Commission unanimously approved the Master Plan and stated (on video) their intention to support local designation.
  • In September, the Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously in favor of local designation as laid out in the Master Plan.
  • Now, in December, the boundaries of the districts are being challenged under the pretense of concern over sea-level rise.

The Talking Points

Respect the Balance of the Master Plan

  • The Master Plan was a genuine consensus among residents and stakeholders regarding where to develop and what to preserve. It’s a good-faith compromise, and local designation is a central feature in that balance to counter height increases that are already being pushed through based on the promise of local designation.
  • The Master Planners dealt extensively with sea-level rise, and they recommended local designation of these entire districts. The plan’s balance of development and preservation are in accordance with FEMA recommendations: Massing should happen in higher areas, like Town Center. Vulnerable areas should have lower density and less new development, not more.

Sea Level Rise: Adapt and Preserve

  • SLR cannot be used to invalidate all local preservation designations. Climate change adaptation is complex and multifaceted. It requires many complementary strategies that are not incompatible with preservation.
  • Yes, areas of our waterfront will need higher and/or stronger sea walls and drainage. But the structures in those areas are reinforced concrete, which is sturdy. Many, if not most, have crawl spaces and there are numerous remedies in practice which can be applied to adapt many or all of the significant architectural components that contribute to the historic allure and authenticity of our National Register districts. What’s needed now are design guidelines that account for the realities of local preservation given the need to adapt for resilience.
  • Again, the Master Plan considered this: FEMA recommends lower density and less new development in vulnerable areas, not more. Massing should happen in higher areas, like Town Center.

Respect North Beach’s Historical Value

  • North Beach has been distinguished by its two National Register District nominations. These districts are unlike any other – with their rich, extensive and cohesive concentration of Mid Century Modernist tropical architecture that is representative of the exuberant postwar golden age of American innovation in one of the nation’s most sublime resort cities.
  • Local designation would give the Historic Preservation Board the authority to ensure that the quality and integrity of these neighborhoods are respected. Without local designation, they’re likely to be demolished and incompatibly overdeveloped under the Design Review Board.
  • North Beach has waited long enough to share in the cultural legacy and economic boom that has made Miami Beach (and the MiMo Biscayne district for that matter) a thriving global destination and an internationally renowned brand by virtue of its preservation efforts. Lack of local designation would threaten the genuine character that comprises the allure and economic viability of our beautiful historic neighborhood.
  • What makes North Beach any less worthy of local historic designation than Flamingo Park, the Art Deco district, MiMo Biscayne, Coral Gables, Savannah, Charleston, St. Augustine, Key West, etc. where adaptation and resilience are no less pressing?

The Big Finale

This is a momentous time for North Beach. The community has talked and listened and compromised and come up with a balanced plan for our future. We can’t lose this opportunity. This last-ditch fear mongering seems like a calculated attempt to undermining the thoughtful outreach, widespread neighborhood engagement, care, advisement and compromise that has gone into developing the Master Plan—and a convenient justification to thwart the interests of the community and subvert this balanced plan in favor of incompatible development.

The Mayor and Commissioners are on record in support of the Master Plan and local designations. Now they need to stand by that promise — and we need you to hold them to it.

Actions (in order of effectiveness)

Come: City Hall Commission Chambers, December 5 at 3:00


  • Mayor Philip Levine: 305.673.7035
  • Commissioner Micky Steinberg: 305.673.7103
  • Commissioner Michael Greico: 305.673.7104
  • Commissioner Joy Malakoff: 305.673.7106
  • Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: 305.673.7030 Ext 6854
  • Commissioner Ricky Arriola: 305.673.7030 Ext 6274
  • Commissioner John Aleman: 305.673.7102

Write: philiplevine@miamibeachfl.gov; johnaleman@miamibeachfl.gov; micky@miamibeachfl.gov; michaelgrieco@miamibeachfl.gov; kristenrosengonzalez@miamibeachfl.gov; rickyarriola@miamibeachfl.gov; joymalakoff@miamibeachfl.gov

Share: Forward this information. Circulate posts on Facebook. Get the word out.

Preserve Our History, Protect Our Future

This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. North Beach is at a critical crossroads, and the future of historic preservation — our strongest safeguard against out-of-place overdevelopment — depends on you.

We have two big opportunities in the coming weeks to protect North Beach’s heritage and character, and we need your help to make the most of them.

Master Plan Meeting on Preservation on Monday, May 23rd @ 6:30PM: Attend and Speak Up

Dover, Kohl & Partners are holding a public workshop about local historic designation options at the North Shore Youth Center next Monday, May 23 at 6:30pm. We need you and your friends, family, and neighbors there. Without historic designation, North Beach will remain powerless to protect our local character and scale against demolition and unsuitable development.

Demolition Moratorium in North Beach: Attend Meeting on Wednesday, June 8 and/or Write Commissioners

Commissioners Ricky Arriola (Sponsor) and Joy Malakoff (Co-Sponsor) have proposed a temporary moratorium on demolitions of contributing historic structures within the North Shore National Register and the Normandy Isles National Register Districts until the in-progress Master Plan by Dover, Kohl and Partners is completed and implemented by the Commission. Please contact the Commission (info below) and/or come to the meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, June 8 (time TBD) to show your support. This evening meeting starts with awards at 5PM.  The demolition item should be up for discussion between 6 and 7PM.

There will be intense, profit-driven pressure against both the moratorium and local historic designation, so your voices are absolutely essential. Too often, these conversations are being dominated by calls for relentless development (often via demolition), without enough emphasis on protection of our local character.

Facebook likes and shares can help spread the word, but they can’t substitute for a powerful, live presence at these events. If you want a balanced plan for North Beach’s future, it’s time to show up and show it.

Based on your input, NBNA placed historic districts at the top of our priority list for the Master Plan back in January:

Priority #1 Historic Designation: North Beach deserves local historic designation of our National Register Districts.

North Beach is already recognized by the National Registry for its cohesive, irreplaceable concentration of mid-century modern tropical architecture–and yet our historic neighborhoods remain nearly completely unprotected locally. Local Historic District designation should be the foundation of the Master Plan. (In fact, this designation was unanimously passed by the Historic Preservation Board in 2014 but delayed by city officials until it could be integrated within this planning process.) With development pressure and aggregation of parcels within our RM-1 districts at an all-time high, historic designation offers the best protections to ensure the compatibility of new development within these areas. North Beach deserves the same local designation that has helped preserve the integrity of South Beach without sacrificing suitable development.

This is the community’s only chance to protect not just our historic structures, but the scale and charm and style that make North Beach special. Don’t let it slip past us.

Mayor & Commission

  • Mayor Philip Levine: philiplevine@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7035
  • Commissioner Micky Steinberg: micky@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7103
  • Commissioner Michael Grieco: michaelgrieco@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7104
  • Commissioner Joy Malakoff: joymalakoff@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7106
  • Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez: kristenrosengonzalez@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7030 Ext 6854
  • Commissioner Ricky Arriola: rickyarriola@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7030 Ext 6274
  • Commissioner John Aleman: johnaleman@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7102

NBNA Statement of Shared Priorities for the North Beach Master Plan

Based on conversations with our North Beach community, North Beach Neighbors Alliance (NBNA) has identified the following 7 shared priorities for the Master Plan:

#1 Historic Designation: North Beach deserves local historic designation of our National Register Districts.

North Beach is already recognized by the National Registry for its cohesive, irreplaceable concentration of mid-century modern tropical architecture–and yet our historic neighborhoods remain nearly completely unprotected locally. Local Historic District designation should be the foundation of the Master Plan. (In fact, this designation was unanimously passed by the Historic Preservation Board in 2014 but delayed by city officials until it could be integrated within this planning process.) With development pressure and aggregation of parcels within our RM-1 districts at an all-time high, historic designation offers the best protections to ensure the compatibility of new development within these areas. North Beach deserves the same local designation that has helped preserve the integrity of South Beach without sacrificing suitable development.

#2 Government-Owned Parcels: North Beach’s city-owned properties must serve the good of the local community through recreational and educational uses.

All city-owned property, including but not limited to the West Lots and public parks, should be carefully developed to support the public good and not private interest. The West Lots should be used for some combination of efficient parking, green space, and public resources like an expanded library, skate park, educational/research institution, etc. While many are in favor of light commercial use like cafes and small-scale retail, particularly along the Harding Corridor and around the perimeter of (not within) the West Lots, the vast majority oppose profit-driven development of residences, hotels, or large-scale shopping centers.

#3 Green Space & Open Sky: North Beach’s natural beauty and fragile environment needs respect and protection.

Public parks should never become sites for commercial development, nor should special interests be granted land use rights that would endanger our green spaces. The North Shore Open Space Park and Allison Park, as well as our smaller local parks, should be preserved as scarce, valuable resources for residents’ enjoyment and environmental protection.

#4 Land Use Regulations: North Beach’s existing zoning laws should be consistently enforced, particularly when it comes to height.

While the public has the right to vote on density increases, the City Commission can—as it did on Ocean Terrace—offer height variances that undermine the integrity of the neighborhood. We need the Master Plan to call for height certainty: consistent adherence to the current laws. Despite the claims of some developers (and as proven by South Beach), profitable development does not require massive high-rises. The recent vote against the Ocean Terrace upzoning demonstrates locals’ opposition to over-development; that should be formalized in our Master Plan.

#5 Transportation: Creative expertise should be used to improve circulation of traffic.

Improving traffic in North Beach will not be simple, and it will require a combination of solutions. Some suggestions from neighbors include revision of traffic flow to ease pressure on main arteries; expansion of the North Beach Trolley route to include both north/south and east/west routes; the completion of the bike- and pedestrian-friendly beach path between North and South Beach; the addition of water taxis (or better yet, busses); clearer markings and stronger enforcement of existing bike lanes; and critical analysis of possible connections to proposed monorails and other city and county initiatives.

#6 Parking: Enhanced public parking options are needed for local residents and visitors.

The importance of accessible, affordable public parking options cannot be overemphasized for residents or visitors. Rising population in residential areas coupled with a growth in commercial district use requires more parking spaces. Increased public parking options should be considered with a long-term view of future mass transit hubs.

#7 Neighborhood Character: North Beach wants to promote livability for residents, not become a luxury destination.

What we love most about our neighborhood is its quality of life: family-friendly resources, local businesses, accessible rents, natural beauty, and cultural and economic diversity. We choose to live here—and many choose to visit—based on the charm and character of our low-scale and historical beach town feel. North Beach is not South Beach, and we don’t want to be a luxury destination or haven for absentee investors. Planning should prioritize the local community through support of small businesses and the creation of facilities and public spaces that prioritize year-round livability for a mixed-income resident population.

Other commonly expressed wishes for your consideration:

  • Activation of the Harding Corridor through walkable West Lots, allowances for short-term (‘guesthouse’) rentals within restored existing MiMo structures (with the caveat that 24-hour management remain on site at all times) , and light commercial development.
  • Pedestrian-only Ocean Terrace.
  • Parking structures up to 3 stories.
  • Limiting concessionaires on beach.

The consensus on these issues is reassuring and inspiring. If we all get out there and communicate these messages—clearly, civilly, and consistently—with the Steering Committee and Dover & Kohl, we have a real opportunity to craft a Master Plan that serves all of North Beach.

Let’s make North Beach better by keeping what we love the same.

NBNA Statement on the North Beach Master Plan Steering Committee: Excluding the Majority Undermines the Master Plan

Dear Neighbors-

Happy New Year from North Beach Neighbors Alliance! Looking back on 2015, we are proud and grateful for the many community members whose successful commitment to local advocacy inspired this coalition. We are all looking forward to the North Beach Master Planning process that will kick off 2016 on a positive note.

Unfortunately, we have to report a fundamental problem already. Mayor Levine recently announced his appointments to the Steering Committee that will work closely with Dover, Kohl & Partners on the Master Plan: Margueritte Ramos (Chair), Nancy Liebman, Daniel Veitia, Carolina Jones, and Betsy Perez. Sadly, if perhaps not surprisingly, this committee has been designed to exclude a significant portion of North Beach stakeholders.

While these are valued local voices, they are a highly selective (mis)representation of the North Beach community as a whole. The problem is twofold:

  1. Each of these individuals, with the exception of Ms. Liebman, publicly supported the Ocean Terrace upzoning that was defeated by a significant majority of Miami Beach voters in November. The perspective of such an imbalanced group cannot be considered representative of the city or our community.
  2. All of the North Beach residents on the committee live in exclusive, single-family home districts. This committee includes no representation from the multi-family districts which are the largest and most populous in North Beach and will be most directly affected by the Master Plan.

The Mayor’s appointments send a clear message, intentional or not, about the voters he privileges and those he disregards. This divisive decision was made despite the North Beach Neighbors Alliance’s formal requests for fair representation in letters to the City management team and the Mayor, which never received the courtesy of a response.

This move threatens to undermine the integrity of the entire North Beach Master Plan before the process even begins. Although public input will be invited in the scheduled charrettes hosted by Dover, Kohl & Partners, greater influence will be wielded by the selected Steering Committee. We all know that.

But we also know that this is the decision of one person, made in spite of the clear message sent by the Save Ocean Terrace campaign this past Novemberand perhaps to spite those who contributed to that effort. Such petty politics should not govern this important process. All of us committed to fair representation and democratic decision-making should reject this attempt to divide the community and advocate for healthy dialogue and consensus building. 

To that end, we encourage the following groups to take specific action:

Master Planning Steering Committee

We ask current members to publicly acknowledge the unbalanced committee roster and request the appointment of resident representatives from the RM-1 and other Multi-Family districts of North Beach who shared the majority’s opposition to the upzoning of Ocean Terrace. This would demonstrate your genuine commitment to the community-oriented nature of an ethical Master Planning process.

Dover, Kohl & Partners

We encourage you to inform yourselves about recent debates over planning in North Beach, including the rejected Ocean Terrace FAR increase and the Biltmore Terrace/Eighty-Seven Park bait-and switch, as well as the City Commission’s September 2014 veto of the Historic Preservation Board’s unanimous decision to designate two small local historic districts within the North Shore and Normandy Isles National Register Districts. This will help you recognize and navigate the underlying tensions in this Master Planning process. With this history in mind, we also ask that you take particular care to consider divergent perspectives within the North Beach community.

Miami Beach City Commissioners  

We ask our city leaders to call for the appointment of resident representatives from the RM-1 and other Multi-Family districts of North Beach who shared the majority’s opposition to the upzoning of Ocean Terrace to the Steering Committee. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to all the diverse residents you serve by modeling inclusive, transparent governance. Please do not allow political prejudice to undermine the effectiveness and credibility of the City Commission.


Please stay vigilant and vocal; the future of your neighborhood is at stake. Write to the Mayor (philiplevine@miamibeachfl.gov) and Commissioners to voice your concerns about the Steering Committee. Participate early and often in the Master Planning process.

Mark your calendars for these events:

  • Mayor’s North Beach Master Plan Steering Committee Tuesday, January 5 at 8:00am @ Normandy Shores Golf Club
  • Charrette Kick-Off and Hands-On Design Session Thursday, February 11 at 6:00-9:00pm @ North Shore Youth Center
  • Charrette Design Studio & Technical Meetings Friday, February 12 to Wednesday, February 17 at 10:00-6:00pm @ Byron Carlyle Theater
  • Charrette Open House Tuesday, February 16 at 5:00-7:00pm @ Byron Carlyle Theater
  • Charette Work-in-Progress Presentation Thursday, February 18 at 6:00-8:30pm @ North Shore Youth Center

Participate in relevant networks:

Thank you for your attention and care. We look forward to collaborating productively with all of you in the new year.