Monday, March 31, 2014

The Short History of ... Harbor Island Parking

Part of a series on the history of the current problems in North Bay Village
 Part 2:  The Short History of ... Harbor Island Parking

Harbor Island is one of three designated neighborhoods in North Bay Village with its unique coding for multifamily housing and hotels.  Whereas the North Bay Island neighborhood is designated solely for single family homes, and Treasure Island for a mix of single family homes, multifamily buildings and commercial, Harbor Island is closest to the reality of North Bay Village as the most densely packed municipality in Florida.   

As far back as the 1960's, when Harbor Island was mostly low rise garden apartments with a large hotel, a spa and several nightclubs, there has always been a parking problem.  As the neighborhood has transformed to mostly high rise residential buildings, the parking issue has become more visible and more urgent.   But here's the thing nobody talks about.  

The parking issue is almost exclusively caused by one building - 7904 West Drive.  The building has had many lives - a hotel, then a rental complex and finally a condo.  And even though as an older condo it does not have the same stringent requirements for onsite parking as other buildings, the building was and still is responsible for providing up to 160 off street spaces.   

Things got complicated.  The zoning for the building is useless.  The south side is zoned as pure residential and the north side as commercial / residential, meaning that the first floor shops on the south side are not strictly legal.   No other building I can find is zoned like this.  

This led to a dispute with the owner of the penthouse unit, who wants to use the space commercially and can't.  It is zoned straight down the middle of the unit and only allows residential in half.   Well the same owner also owned the parking lot used by the other residents.  When the residents fought him on his zoning change request, he decided not to rent to the building association anymore, meaning that their cars all wound up on the street.   

The owner is not popular with the Mayor's Positivity Club so they have continued to hold his unit hostage while decrying his unwillingness to give away the lot for free.   He's not moving on the subject.  The residents won't move from their position.  The city can start fining them for not having parking but they won't since the Mayor and her cabal dislike the parking lot owner.  The commission won't hear the changes requested and the Harbor Island residents have no extra parking at all.  

Just another day in North Bay Village Crazy™.

Kevin Vericker
March 31, 2014

1 comment:

  1. Dulcenoguera@the-beach.netMarch 31, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    This was very interesting, so no one is making a move.


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