YTech vs City of Miami Beach: Update on Tatum Waterway

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Tatum Waterway
Photo Credit: North Beach Neighbors Alliance

MDPL is saddened by a preliminary decision of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court to quash the ordinance that made the Tatum Waterway part of the locally-designated North Shore Historic District. The neighborhood, already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was designated in 2018 with overwhelming support of the community. This came after a series of public hearings where all stakeholders were able to be heard.

After the designation, one property owner filed suit claiming a host of issues and seeking to overturn the historic designation. While this case has taken significant public time and resources, the developer has improved its property and now has it on the market for sale. Still, the developer’s effort to overturn the historic designation of the neighborhood continues.

The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court opinion is shared below. Note that the Court makes no judgment on the underlying historic designation zoning code and appears to point to the City’s process being almost entirely proper. The Court’s only issue appears to be the final Commission hearings – the last in a long public process. The City contends that the process to ratify the Historic Preservation Board recommendations is legislative in nature, while the Court’s opinion states that since the process follows a quasi-judicial process at the Historic Preservation Board, that the Commission hearings should also be quasi-judicial.

The city will be seeking a rehearing on this decision. In the meantime additional hearings will be taking place to re-affirm the Tatum Waterway’s status as a locally-designated historic district. This has been the wish of residents, property owners, and stakeholders in North Beach for many years. That wish culminated in a Master Plan adopted by the City of Miami Beach with wide-ranging support.

While we are disappointed by the need for an expensive and laborious legal process to ensure the historic designation of this neighborhood, we urge the City to stay the course and continue to protect the rule of law.

Read the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Opinion below:

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