Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pardon me, you're blocking my view

The Bay View Overlay Code was put in place December 2012.  It was a new type of coding for properties on the north side of the JFK Causeway and was implemented specifically to encourage taller, narrower buildings that would have less impact on the views of the bay.  It was designed to prevent the condo canyon beachfront that diminishes much of the Beach area.  The Ordinance specifically allows higher buildings in exchange for open view corridors.  

The first building to apply under the new zoning immediately asked for three significant variances - to exceed the height, to change the zoning from commercial to hotel, and most importantly, to exceed the width.   This has the residents at nearby buildings, particularly the Lexi, deeply concerned and last night the developer B Developments held a meeting at the Lexi to discuss the issue.  

The message from the people attending was clear.  They all understood that something would be built there.  There were questions but not a lot of concern about changing the zoning to allow a hotel, but everyone present opposed the idea of a width variance.  

The developer promised to talk to the architect and will meet again with the Lexi residents this Thursday to discuss potential changes.   

The matter will come before Planning & Zoning on February 18 for reconsideration.  It's critically important, I believe, that we should hold firm on the width requirements.  We don't want to completely lose our views and access to the bay and that's exactly what could happen now that construction is starting anew in the city. There are projects planned for the lot where the old gas station was, the now shuttered Crab House and the lot next to Channel 7.   If we cave on the first one to allow them a wide building in spite of the Village's clear intent to keep the views open, we will have set a dangerous precedent.  

I will watch this closely and keep blogging about it.  

In the meantime, on tonight's agenda the village manager is proposing a resolution to change the parking permits on Harbor Island to require permits for residents to park overnight.  All other parking from 6 PM to 8 AM will be prohibited.   The permits will be limited to 2 per apartment, with a guest parking program allowing one guest permit per apartment, and permits will not be issued to those who are in buildings that are deemed to have sufficient onsite parking.   

The buildings who will not be allowed street parking are:

  • 7900 Harbor Island (the 360)
  • 7904 West Drive (Bayshore Yacht & Tennis)
  • 7914 West Drive
  • 7916 West Drive
  • 7918 West Drive
  • 7928 West Drive (Islander Club)
  • 7929 West Drive
  • 7933 West Drive
  • 7934 West Drive
  • 7938 West Drive
  • 7940 West Drive
  • 8000 West Drive (The site of the new Blu Development)
  • 7905 East Drive *(Will only be allowed one (1) parking permit per apartment)
  • 7922 East Drive
  • 7923 East Drive
  • 7924 East Drive *(Will only be allowed one (1) parking permit per apartment)
  • 7925 East Drive
  • 7928/7930 East Drive (Eloquence)
  • 7935 East Drive (Cielo)
  • 7939 East Drive
  • 7941 East Drive *(Will only be allowed one (1) parking permit per apartment)
  • 7945 East Drive
  • 7946 East Drive
  • 7948 East Drive *(Will only be allowed one (1) parking permit per apartment)
  • 8000 East Drive (Biscayne Sea Club Co-Op)
What surprises me the most about the list is 7904 West Drive, a building I believe offers hardly any parking to its residents and the Island Club which only offers 1 per apartment.  

This is a resolution so it will only be heard once and voted on.  If you live on Harbor Island, and have issues with this, tonight is your only chance.   

Kevin Vericker
February 11, 2014


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