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

Help Protect the Harding Corridor from Incompatible Design

We need your support in asking the Design Review Board (DRB) to defer a ruling on variances requested by the architect and developer for a new hotel on Harding Avenue in North Beach (DRB File No. 23248).

The variances, if granted, would allow a setback reduction and ground-level parking on every side of the building. These variances go squarely against the Master Planner’s recommendations for creating traffic easement and making the neighborhood more walkable.

Moreover, the proposed construction includes the demolition of three structures recognized as historically significant in the North Shore National Register. In addition to the deferment request, NBNA asks the architect to celebrate and protect the historic character of the existing buildings in the new construction.

If you value the Harding Corridor and support the balanced vision we hope to achieve between preservation and development in North Beach, we ask that you take the following steps:

  • Write the Design Review Board expressing your support of a deferment of DRB File No. 23248, 8011-8035 Harding Avenue from the developer, Harding Excalibur LLC to ensure walkability, traffic easement and a compatible design;
  • Write or call the Mayor and City Commission requesting their support of the deferment to keep the Master Planning process on track;
  • Come speak at the April 5th Design Review Board Meeting being held in the Commission Chambers beginning at 8:30AM in City Hall in support of your recommendations.

Make it clear to the DRB, Mayor and Commission that what happens to the Harding Corridor is important to you and to the future of North Beach. We have included a listing of the DRB, Mayor and City Commission members and contact information below, as well as the letter NBNA sent them.

Thank you for your support!

North Beach Neighbors Alliance, PC
Steering Committee
Tom Richerson, Allison Park resident
Kathryn Comer, North Shore resident
Franziska Medina, Park View Island resident
Kirk Paskal, North Shore Historic District/Biscayne Beach resident
Glenda Phipps, Fairway Park/Normandy Isle resident

Design Review Board

  • Carol Housen, Chairperson:
  • Katie Phang:
  • Annabel Delgado:
  • John Turchin:
  • Elizabeth Camargo:
  • Michael Steffens:
  • Deena Bell:

Mayor & Commission

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

Letter Sent to DRB on March 28th, 2016

DRB Chairperson and Committee:

We write to ask that the the Design Review Board defer a ruling on DRB File No. 23248, 8011-8035 Harding Avenue from the developer, Harding Excalibur LLC at your next meeting scheduled on April 5th. We are including the Mayor, Commission and City Planners in our request as the variance request comes at a crucial moment for North Beach.

As you know, North Beach is in the process of developing a Master Plan in collaboration with Dover, Kohl & Partners. The neighborhood participation before, during, and since the Charrette demonstrates the community’s commitment to this process, and the preliminary results are promising. The success of a coherent and broadly supported MP rests on everyone working together to strike the right balance between the preservation of North Beach’s historic character and development of its economic potential. This is particularly true along the Harding Corridor, where these 4 parcels are located. Due to the significance of these properties within the North Beach Master Plan, we ask that you defer this item until that plan is complete.

A Coherent Plan is Imperative

Based on our community’s engagement with the North Beach Master Planners at Dover & Kohl and the collaborative and cohesive vision we are all working toward in advancing North Beach, the variance requests that include ground-level parking along every facade and a setback reduction, would make parking the dominant visual image and set a dangerous precedent that would significantly undermine our collective efforts as a community. Such a move would not only work at odds with the Master Planners’ vision of walkability and improved traffic easement, but it could also sidetrack the attention of a neighborhood that is poised to embrace more innovative city planning. The historic character of the Harding Corridor is an integral component of the balanced vision we hope to achieve through the Master Planning process. Help us stay on course and maintain goodwill.

Safeguarding Historic Areas is Key

The review item and variance request contains three contributing structures recognized as historically significant as part of the North Shore National Register District (see a picture of 8035 Harding below), although the area in question has, to date, no local historic protection. Many community members would like to see the architect incorporate the historic facades, a strategy used consistently throughout the historic districts in South Beach and to great effect in North Beach at the Queen Elizabeth development at 67th and Indian Creek (also pictured below). The Harding Corridor has been recognized nationally and by the local HPB for its concentration of Miami Beach’s classic MiMo style. As Dover, Kohl & Partners noted in their presentations, this historic character should become the calling card of North Beach. We should celebrate and protect the architecture that makes our neighborhood special and appealing to residents, tourists, and investors. New developments should fit seamlessly into the future of Harding as well as its past. For this reason, whether or not local historic protections are in place, design decisions should be compatible with the Master Plan’s vision for this historic area. Help us move forward together.

For these reasons, we urge the members of the Design Review Board to defer the item. Commissioners and City Planners please reach out to the DRB members and the community to express support of this deferment.

For our part, we will continue to work with the residents in North Beach to listen and educate them about the request in the Harding Corridor. We will also reach out to the city planning staff and the architect to express our concerns and reach a more agreeable compromise.

North Beach Neighbors Alliance, PC