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


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.