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 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

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: carolhousen@gmail.com
  • Katie Phang: kphang@bergersingerman.com
  • Annabel Delgado: annabeldh.drb@gmail.com
  • John Turchin: jturchin@turchinserver.com
  • Elizabeth Camargo: ecamargoDRB@gmail.com
  • Michael Steffens: mike@nevillesteffens.com
  • Deena Bell: deenabellllewellyn@gmail.com

Mayor & Commission

  • Mayor Philip Levine: philiplevine@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7035
  • Commissioner Micky Steinberg: micky@miamibeachfl.gov Ph: 305.673.7103
  • Commissioner Michael Greico: 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

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

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.