Our Positions at the March 8th, 2022 Historic Preservation Board

MDPL’s Advocacy Committee has reviewed the following applications and offers our positions below. Please note, the lack of a position on a project does not indicate support for or opposition to that project. To review the full Historic Preservation Board Agenda, including public participation information: Click Here

CONTINUED ITEMS

4. HPB21-0483,  833 6th Street (South Shore Community Center)

Existing Building designed by Morris Lapidus (Proposed to be demolished)

Proposed New Fire Station

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the design of a new fire station building to replace the existing building proposed to be demolished, and site improvements. 

more details->833 6th St

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis: As noted in the Background section of this report, in 2018, the residents of the City of Miami Beach approved a General Obligation Bond Program that included the introduction of a new fire station facility within South Beach. The City has prioritized the construction of a new fire station because the current Fire Station No.1, located at 1051 Jefferson Avenue, has exceeded its useful life as a fire station and is obsolete in terms of current and future needs of the Miami Beach Fire Department. The site of the current Fire Station 1 building has several significant drawbacks that negatively impact the critical life-safety services and quick response times needed to serve the South Beach district. A new fire station is required to: Accommodate Miami Beach Fire Department vehicle and equipment needs.

  • Keep up with the growing demand for emergency services in South Beach.
  • Speed up emergency response times for the South Beach district (including for the high-
    rise developments South of Fifth Street, single-family homes on the islands, locations throughout the MXE/ADCD District, and vulnerable buildings within South Beach historic districts).
  • House Miami Beach Fire Department equipment in a resilient, structurally-sound, flood- resistant and hurricane-hardened building
  • Protect the health and wellness of Miami Beach Fire Department personnel.

In 2019, the Historic Preservation Board discussed the possible location of the new fire station facility in place of the existing South Shore Community Center building located at 833 6th Street and provided several recommendations. Since that time, the City has been working on addressing the Board’s recommendations. Additionally, on September 13, 2021, the Historic Preservation Board evaluated the classification of the South Shore Community Center building and made no change to its Non-Contributing classification.
The applicant is currently requesting approval for the design of a new fire station to replace the existing South Shore Community Center facility. In order to construct the new fire station, the applicant is proposing the total demolition of the existing building. As outlined in Section 118- 563(i) of the City Code, the Board’s review of a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of city-owned property is advisory with approval or denial determined by vote of the City Commission.


South Shore Community Center total demolition
The South Shore Community Center was constructed in two phases between 1970 and 1975 and designed by Morris Lapidus & Associates in the Brutalist style of architecture. The building has distinctive architectural features and finishes including rough board form concrete finish, smooth concrete finish, exposed concrete blocks in a stacked bond with raked joints and exposed precast concrete beams. While these elements are all characteristic of the Brutalist style of architecture, unfortunately, in this particular instance, they have been severely comprised over the decades with multiple coats of paint and other surface finishes. Additionally, significant and distinct features of the Brutalist design of this building, including the exposed concrete and related finishes, have been compromised and may be beyond repair and restoration. The alterations that have occurred over time, including the introduction of security apparatus and the enclosure of open-air areas, as well as the extremely low finish floor elevation, indicate that the subject structure cannot be effectively adapted to function as a secure municipal facility without severely compromising the original design. Further, as noted in the Background section of this report, in September 2021, the Board

determined that the existing structure did not contribute to the sense of time and place significant in the development of the Flamingo Park Historic District. Consequently, staff recommends that the Board issue a favorable recommendation to the City Commission for the demolition of the building.


New fire station facility
The applicant is proposing to construct a 3-story fire station building on the site. The main level of the building is proposed to be located at approximately 16.25’ NGVD and will contain four apparatus bays for emergency vehicle parking and maintenance. In order to access the elevated apparatus bay level, extensive ramping is proposed to be introduced on the east (entrance) and west (exit) sides of the building to negotiate the over 12’-0” level change from grade (3.38’ NGVD).

The upper level is proposed to contain sleeping quarters for 20 employees, a kitchen/lounge and a fitness area. The lower level will contain 27 covered parking spaces. An entrance terrace along 6th Street will provide public access to the building. Within the northern portion of the site, access to Meridian Court via a proposed 14 space public surface parking lot will be maintained and a new 7 space employee surface parking area will be introduced.

UPDATE

On January 11, 2022, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application to a date certain of March 8, 2022, to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. The applicant has submitted revised plans including the following modifications:

  • The demolition site plan has been revised and clearly indicates the site elements that are to be retained. Specifically, several areas of cast in place concrete planters along 6th Street are proposed to be preserved. Additionally, a portion of one of the concrete entrance canopies as well as both sets of concrete columns are proposed to be retained, relocated, and integrated into the raised terrace at the southwest portion of the site. This area will also include a plaque describing the historical evolution of the site.

Currently proposed modifications to the 6th Street façade include the extension of the concrete block in a stacked bond pattern to the exterior stair, the introduction of solid masonry railings on the exterior stair, the extension of the stair framing element to the west and modifications to the storefront window system including the elimination of the vertical projecting fins and the reorientation of the window mullions in a horizontal pattern.

  • Staff is extremely supportive of the modifications proposed including the retention of portions of the existing cast in place concrete planters as well as the repurposing of one of the entry canopies. These elements allow for better engagement of the site along 6th Street and should significantly improve the quality of the pedestrian experience effectively mitigating the impact of the ramping systems. Additionally, staff is supportive of the modifications to the façade design which represents an improvement over the previous design. In summary, staff recommends approval as noted below.
    RECOMMENDATION
    In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria.

MDPL Position as of March 8, 2022: MDPL has reviewed the revised application and supporting documentation related to the proposed fire station design. MDPL continues to support the preservation of the South Shore Community Center, especially since the proposed fire station design is incompatible with the historic district and fails to address the guidance provided by the Historic Preservation Board. The revised plan leaves remnants of the Center spread across Sixth Street with seemingly no attempt to integrate them into the design or incorporate the actual historic structure into the design. Indeed, the city’s inability to present a satisfactory design is yet another indication that the Sixth Street location is not an appropriate site for the new fire station. Moreover, the city’s actions in regard to the South Shore Community Center and the fire station design are demonstrative of a wider disregard by the administration of city historic preservation code and the direction of the Historic Preservation Board.

MDPL Previously Shared Position: We are disappointed in the decision of the city commission to grant development waivers because these waivers will lead to the loss of the architecturally and historically significant South Shore Community Center, and the building’s proposed replacement will cause negative impacts on the residents and on the architectural landscape of the Flamingo Park Historic District.

Preservation of the South Shore Community Center

MDPL appeals to the Historic Preservation Board to meet the spirit and letter of the municipal code and preserve the South Shore Community Center. Section 118-501 of the city code is clear that “It is hereby declared by the city commission that the preservation and conservation of properties of historical, architectural and archeological merit in the city is a public policy of the city and is in the interest of the city’s future prosperity.” The city code also extends protections to all buildings within a historic district – whether contributing or not at the time of review.

The South Shore Community Center more than satisfies the criteria to warrant its preservation intact for its architectural significance and its importance in the history of Miami Beach and the nation. Created in response to changing demographics and acute social issues, the Community Center is both part of and the witness to local and national history. Moreover, its association with prominent historical figures (Rep. Claude Pepper and Sen. Edward Kennedy) and an emerging social movement gives the Community Center local and national importance. This historical significance is matched by its architectural merit. It is an extraordinary example of the evolution of the work of Morris Lapidus.

Finally, the HPB had given guidance to the city that a new fire station design should incorporate and adapt the community center building. The proposed design for the fire station only retains an entrance element. Such a plan to completely erase the community center and leave a small recreated appendage in its place, with an overwhelming new municipal building, flies in the face of proper urban planning and is inconsiderate to the low-scale, protected neighborhood surrounding it.

Proposed Fire Station Design

MDPL has concerns about the design of the fire station and its impact on residents and the fabric of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood. Orientation of the fire station with large ramps for fire trucks and emergency vehicles entering and exiting the building will adversely impact residential buildings on the north, east, and west of the site. Noise from the station will be directed toward residential buildings. Headlights and emergency lights will shine directly into the windows because of the elevation of the fire station.

Increases of traffic on two residential streets that are designated as slow streets, and therefore, the placement of emergency vehicles is contrary to the stated policy of the city in regard to the area (e.g., decrease non residential traffic and encourage pedestrian use of streets and sidewalks).

MDPL does not believe that this has been adequately studied, and the Trip Generation Study commissioned by the city from Richard Garcia and Associates is flawed. It assumes that the fire station will have less impact than the daycare center because there will be less trips. This does not consider the difference between fire trucks entering and exiting the block of two separate streets and parents picking up their children. In addition, the Study assumes that the childcare center is to be removed from the area instead of relocated across the street from the proposed fire station.

This study also does not evaluate the impact of the “turning zones for emergency vehicles” on traffic and pedestrians on Jefferson and Meridian avenues. Enormous curb cuts disrupt the continuity along both streets, essentially separating Sixth Street from the remainder of the neighborhood, and the loss of street parking will adversely affect residents and businesses.

In summary, the City is relying upon the HPB to ensure that the certificate of appropriateness standards are upheld. We strongly believe that in this case, the project needs a thorough review and should not be approved as presented.

5. HPB20-0440 a.k.a. HPB20-0380, 550 Washington Avenue 

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition and renovation of the existing building including the construction of attached additions and modifications to original public interior spaces and a variance to exceed the maximum permitted building height. Specifically, the applicant is requesting to modify a condition of the final order to allow for the introduction of new signage on the vertical feature along Washington Avenue, a Certificate of Appropriateness for modifications to the marquee and a variance to exceed the maximum permitted size for signage.

more details-> Paris Theater

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis:  On November 9, 2021, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application to a date certain of January 11, 2022 in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. The applicant has submitted revised plans, but the signage proposal remains unchanged, with the following exceptions:

  • The design for the marquee replacement light box now includes horizontal lines to mimic the appearance of the original marquee sign rails.
  • The applicant has provided renderings of proposals for additional signage on the Euclid Avenue façade. Staff would note that these signs are not part of the Board’s review at this time and would require a separate request for a certificate of appropriateness. Additionally, this signage may need to be modified to comply with the sign regulations set forth in the City Code.
    Staff continues to be generally supportive of the application as noted below.
    On September 8, 2020, the Board reviewed and approved modifications to the existing building including the construction of three small additions and interior modifications. As part of the proposed project, the existing “PARIS” signage located on the projecting vertical fin element along Washington Avenue was proposed to be restored. Additionally, the board imposed the following condition requiring that the Eiffel Tower icon be introduced:
    I.C.1.a. The historic Paris signage located on the projecting vertical feature along Washington Avenue shall be restored inclusive of the Eiffel tower icon, in a manner to be reviewed and approved by staff consistent with the Certificate of Appropriateness Criteria and/or directions of the Board.
  • Vertical projecting fin signage
    The applicant is currently requesting to eliminate this condition in order to introduce new signage with the name of the restaurant, “QUEEN”, replacing the existing “PARIS” signage. Two options have been presented to the Board for consideration, one with a Queen of Hearts scepter logo and the other without any logo.

Staff has no objection to the elimination of the condition and the signage replacement, as the proposed signs have been designed in a manner that is consistent with the original open-faced exposed neon signage of the theater. Additionally, as is often the case, the signage for this building has changed over time. The existing “PARIS” signage, which replaced the original “VARIETY” theater signage, was introduced in 1961. While staff believes that both options

are suitable, Option 2 with the logo better captures the spirit of the early Post War Modern theater architecture.

Marquee signage

The applicant is also requesting approval for the replacement of the existing internally illuminated marquee signage boards with new edge lit aluminum panels. Staff is not supportive of the removal of this character defining feature of the historic theater building and strongly recommends that the existing marquee be restored in its entirety, including the signage boards. The retention of the marquee features will not preclude the applicant from introducing new signage consistent with the signage currently proposed.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variance:

1. A variance to exceed by up to 57.4 sq. ft. the maximum sign area allowed of 15.1 sq. ft. for wall signs in order to install two signs on either side of the projecting vertical fin with a total aggregate area of 72.5 sq. ft.

• Variance requested from:

Sec. 138-16. Wall sign.

Wall signs are signs attached to, and erected parallel to, the face of, or erected or painted on the outside wall of a building and supported throughout its length by such wall or building and not extending more than 12 inches from the building wall. Such signs shall be governed by the following chart:

Maximum area calculation, Wall Sign Design Standards per District, CPS-2: 0.75 square feet for every foot of linear frontage, with a minimum of 15 square feet permissible, regardless of linear frontage.

The applicant is proposing the installation of two signs on the prominent vertical element above the marquee facing Washington Avenue for a new restaurant and entertainment venue. The signs with the copy “QUEEN’ are proposed to be placed on the north and south sides consistent with the historic location of previous signs on the building. Although the Code allows the re-creation of historic signs regardless of the current regulations, the proposed signs do not technically qualify as a change of copy for a historic sign due to the proposed change in font.

The maximum sign area, based on the length of the street façade for this building, is 15.1 square feet. The larger of the two options proposed has an aggregate sign area of 72.5 square feet, which exceeds the maximum area allowed. Staff finds that the variance request satisfies the criteria for approval based on the retention of the historic building with the distinctive marquee and vertical signage fin that were designed by architect Henry Hohauser for the purpose of sign placement. In addition, the irregular shape of the property with minimal frontage on Washington Avenue, contributes to practical difficulties. As such, staff recommends approval of the variance as proposed.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position: We oppose the replacement of the historic PARIS sign with a new, larger QUEEN sign. We do not believe this is consistent with the original design of the building. We also request that the patron entry on the west side facing Flamingo Park residential neighborhood be prohibited. The Paris sign may not be original, but it has been in place for decades – far longer than the original sign – and demonstrates an element of our historic continuum worthy of preservation

6. HPB21-0481; 1901 Collins Avenue—Shore Club Hotel

Scope of Work Overview excerpts

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition and renovation of two buildings on the site, the total demolition of two buildings, the construction of two new additions and landscape and hardscape modifications. 

more details->Shore Club

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis: The applicant is proposing a comprehensive renovation of the subject property which contains two Contributing hotel structures and multiple later additions. Additionally, the applicant is proposing to construct a new residential tower addition at the center of the site to replace the existing 20-story addition and a 2-story cabana structure at the eastern portion of the site. Further, landscape and hardscape improvements are proposed throughout the site.

Shore Club Hotel

The original 3-story Shore Club Hotel was constructed in 1949 and designed by Albert Anis in the Post War Modern style of architecture. In 1955, an 8-story attached addition, designed by Melvin Grossman, was constructed at the end of the south wing of the hotel. In 1997, the Joint DRB/HPB reviewed and approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for a 17-story addition, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, on top of the existing 3-story north wing of the hotel, for a total of 20- stories.

The applicant is currently proposing the renovation of the existing Shore Club hotel structure including the restoration of the primary façade facing Collins Avenue and the original lobby space. Proposed demolition includes, the original south wing of the hotel, the attached 8-story rear addition constructed in 1955, a portion of the north wing and the entire 1998 Chipperfield addition. While the amount of demolition is significant, staff would note that the original wings of the hotel and the 1955 addition contain little in the way of significant architectural details and are not visible from Collins Avenue or from the Beachwalk. As such, staff has no objection to demolition requested.

Within the original hotel lobby, the applicant is proposing to retain and restore all significant architectural features including the cross shaped columns with cloud shaped ceiling details, terrazzo flooring and curved wall with sculpture. Additionally, the applicant is proposing to demolish the existing non-original reception desk and back of house spaces at the southern portion of the lobby in order to introduce a new lobby bar.

Cromwell Hotel

The Cromwell Hotel, constructed in 1939 and designed by Robert A. Taylor, is an excellent example of classic Art Deco, resort architecture. The structure incorporates significant

nautical references including the stepped massing of the primary facade, culminating in a multi-tiered central element recalling a ship’s bridge, vertical window openings, raised vertical bands and portholes which define its towering ocean liner-like design character. In 1997, the Joint DRB/HPB reviewed and approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for a 1-story roof top addition, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, on top of the existing 7-story structure.

Lobby

The applicant is proposing to reconfigure the ground level floor plan of the structure to include a residential lobby connecting to the new residential tower and a new restaurant. Staff would note that the ground level of the hotel building including the lobby was subdivided over time. Staff has located the original ground level floor plan within the Building Department records which reveals that original lobby occupied the majority of the north side of the first floor and a dining room and kitchen were located at the south side.

Additionally, the applicant has provided images shown on page 15 of the historic resources report that document much of the original lobby design. Based upon the original floor plan and historical photographs, staff believes the original Cromwell Hotel lobby could be accurately restored including the geometry of the space, the octagonal columns and the flooring pattern and recommends as such.

External modifications

Along the north (20th Street) side of the building, the existing non-original stair is proposed to be removed and replaced with a new staircase designed in a manner more consistent with the architectural character of the building. Additionally, the architect is proposing the introduction of a new canopy structure over a portion of the front porch. Staff is supportive of the proposed design which has been inspired by the profile of the existing projecting eyebrow; however, staff is concerned that this new structure obscures this original architectural feature and could be perceived as part of the original design. As such, staff recommends the architect explore ways to further differentiate this feature which may include a greater separation vertically between the elements and/or a change in material between the new canopy and the existing building.

Along the east (ocean) side of the building, the applicant is proposing the introduction of projecting balconies. This modification will require the demolition of portions of the wall below the existing window openings. Staff has no objection to this request as this is a non-primary façade and will not require the demolition of any significant architectural features.

New residential tower addition

The applicant is proposing to construct a new 17-story residential addition within the center of the site, replacing the 1998 Chipperfield addition. The new tower will physically connect to both the Shore Club and Cromwell hotel buildings at the ground and second levels. The location within the center of the site (behind the Shore Club and Cromwell hotels) helps to

minimize the visual impact of the tower from Collins Avenue. Additionally, the design of the eastern portion of the tower steps back at three intervals minimizing the perceived height of the addition from the Beachwalk and allowing for additional light and air to penetrate the site.

Staff is supportive of the design for the proposed addition as it has been developed in a manner that responds well to the existing buildings and site conditions. In this regard, the design of the proposed addition has been significantly influenced by the nautical architectural character of the Cromwell Hotel. Further, the glass to masonry ratio appropriately responds to the punched masonry character of both Contributing buildings on the site.

Additionally, staff would note that the applicant is requesting approval for an increase in the floor plate size. According to the regulations outlined in Section 142-246(f)(2) of the City Code, the maximum floor plate size for the portion of an addition that exceeds 50’-0” in building height is 15,000 sq. ft., excluding projecting balconies. The Historic Preservation Board may allow for an increase in the overall floor plate, up to a maximum of 20,000 sq. ft. per floor, excluding balconies, in accordance with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria. The applicant is requesting approval for floor plate sizes that range between 16,280 sq. ft. and 19,177 sq. ft. for levels 5 through 12 of the addition.

To the north of the Cromwell Hotel, the applicant is proposing to construct a 1-story service building that includes a ramp to the basement level parking, a loading area and additional back of house space. Staff believes that as originally submitted, the loading spaces and associated wide curb cut along 20th Street will have an adverse impact on the character of the surrounding historic district. Consequently, staff recommends that the loading spaces be relocated within the basement which will allow for a reduction in the curb cut and will provide an opportunity to introduce additional landscaping, significantly enhancing the pedestrian experience along 20th Street.

Pool deck and accessory structures

The applicant is proposing a complete renovation of the rear pool deck area including the construction of multiple pools and decks, the demolition of the existing 2-story cabana structure and the construction of a new 2-story cabana building. The structures proposed within the rear yard have been designed in a manner compatible with the more casual beachfront environment. As such, staff has no objection to the improvements proposed.

UPDATE

On February 8, 2022, the application was continued by the Board to the March 8, 2022 meeting at the applicant’s request. Since that time, the applicant has submitted the following supplementary information:

  • A revised letter of intent dated February 14, 2022.
  • A letter from Desimone Consulting Engineers, dated February 14, 2022.

Revised plans for the loading area and canopy along 20th Street in response to staff recommendations outlined in the February 8, 2022 staff report.

  • Staff is supportive of the proposed modifications to the loading area and new canopy structure along 20th Street which are consistent with the intent of staff’s previously issued recommendations. In summary, staff recommends approval as noted below.

  • RECOMMENDATION
    In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application be approved subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria. 

MDPL Position: We are strongly opposed to the proposed demolition of the contributing Melvin Grossman addition of the historic Shore Club hotel. The proposal essentially keeps only the main lobby/facade of the Shore Club, leaving the bulk of floor area for the new condominium residence tower. Removal of such significant historic elements will erase the opportunity for visitors to experience seeing and inhabiting/staying at the historic Shore Club hotel rooms overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (see below red historic building proposed to be demolished)

Overall, there is simply too much demolition being proposed for this property. We remain concerned about Sunny Isles-ification of Miami Beach. Contributing buildings should not be sacrificed to expand new construction.

The proposed site from the north looking south

In view of the foregoing, MDPL opposes this application and asks that it be denied.


7. HPB21-0486; 411 Michigan Avenue, 419 Michigan Avenue & 944 5th Street

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of one existing building, the renovation, restoration and relocation of one existing building, the construction of a new office building, a variance to eliminate the open court requirement and one or more waivers. 

more details-> 411 Michigan

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis:  Staff would preface this analysis by noting that the subject site has remained vacant for some time, notwithstanding the two separately approved development projects noted in the Background section of this report. The site is comprised of three lots, the northern two of which are part of a previously proposed hotel development that was never completed. However, the foundation and basement levels for this project were built, and are currently located on these two lots.     

The southern lot contains two Contributing buildings: i. a 2-story multi-family building located at the center of the lot; and ii. a 1-story rear accessory building located along the alley. The applicant is currently requesting approval for the construction of a new office building and parking garage, the total demolition of the rear 1-story accessory building and the relocation, elevation and restoration of the 2-story center building.

Relocation, elevation and restoration of the 2-story center building

The center building located at 411 Michigan Avenue was constructed in 1934 and designed in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture. The modestly detailed building incorporates some architectural features, including a mission style parapet and groupings of scuppers. The applicant is proposing to restore and relocate the building from the center of the lot westward, along Michigan Avenue. Additionally, the building is proposed to be elevated approximately 4’-1” from 4.87’ NGVD to 9.00’ NGVD. Staff is supportive of the elevation and the proposed relocation to a more prominent location on the site which will ensure its preservation for the future.

Staff does have one concern relative to the raised terrace along Michigan Avenue. As currently designed, the solid masonry guardrails and raised terrace give the appearance of an over 7’-0” tall wall. As such, staff recommends that the transition from the sidewalk to the terrace be further refined; this may include a different railing type and/or the introduction of an intermediate terrace or planter.

Total demolition of the rear 1-story accessory building

The existing 1-story rear building was constructed in 1933, likely as a 2-car garage. As noted on the building card, the garage was built by the owner and no original permit plans have been located. The building contains modest architectural detailing similar to the main residence. In 1954, the structure was converted to residential use. Staff has no serious concerns relative to the demolition of this building and would note that this structure has been altered over time. Further, the rear accessory building is only visible from the alley. Finally,

staff would note that this building was approved to be demolished as part of the 2012 Board approval.

New 5-story mixed use office building

Located on one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the City, the proposed office building is generally compatible with its neighbors in terms of its overall scale and massing. The architect has successfully created an active street presence along both 5th Street and Michigan Avenue, even with the challenges associated with retaining and incorporating foundation and basement structure from the prior project. To this end, the architect is proposing intermediate planter areas with integrated seating, allowing for an appropriate transition from the sidewalk to the raised terrace. This will serve to greatly enhance the pedestrian experience along the site. Further, staff is supportive of the overall contemporary design language of the proposed structure which incorporates variations in surface materials resulting in a project that responds well to existing historic district and the site conditions.

Staff does have some concern relative to the impact the balcony structures on the south side of the building have on the relocated Contributing building. Although the architect has set back the first level of the south facing balconies adjacent to the 2-story building, as presently designed, the upper balconies have an adverse impact on the site. Staff recommends that the architect explore ways to minimize the impact of these structure on the Contributing building. Staff also recommends that all allowable encroachments at the roof level be reduced to the greatest extent possible.

3-level parking lift enclosure

In addition to the basement parking below the new office tower, the applicant is proposing to construct a semi-enclosed parking structure along the south property line, to the immediate east of the relocated 2-story contributing building. This parking structure, which is 25 feet in height and can accommodate the vertical stacking of 3 vehicles (for a total of 27 parking spaces) is proposed to be accessed via an internal driveway. The parking structure is enclosed with solid walls along the entire south side, as well as the returns to the north, and incorporates open breezeblocks on the north elevation. The applicant is proposing a landscaped wall on the sides and rear.

In order to minimize the impact of this structure on the Contributing building located on the abutting property to the south, staff would recommend that the 9 stacked spaces closest to the alley (spaces 19-27) be eliminated, in order to allow for a more appropriate setback from the existing residential structure to the south. Alternatively, these 9 spaces could be converted to a single row of parallel spaces (parallel to the internal driveway); this option would result in a net loss of 6 parking spaces. Staff believes that this modification would allow for a more sensitive transition to the lower scale, contributing building to the immediate south. Given the number of parking spaces being provided within the basement, as well as the approval for 3-stack vehicle lifts, staff believes that a reduction of 6 – 9 parking spaces will not have a negative impact on the project.

Off-street loading waiver

The applicant is requesting a waiver of the off-street loading space requirements outlined in Section 130-101 of the City Code. The project is required to provide three off-street loading spaces. As currently proposed, the applicant is not providing any off-street loading spaces. The Historic Preservation Board may waive the requirements for off-street loading spaces for properties containing a Contributing structure, provided that a detailed plan delineating on-street loading is approved by the Parking Department. Staff would note that while technically the applicant is not providing any loading spaces on site, there may be opportunities when the internal driveway could be used for off-street loading. The applicant has preliminarily met with the Parking Department and will submit an on-street loading plan as required. Consequently, staff does not object to the granting of this waiver.

Finally, it is important to note that the proposed project requires a Conditional Use Permit for a development project greater than 50,000 gross square feet, including the use of mechanical parking to be reviewed and approved by the Planning Board. On January 25, 2022, the Planning Board reviewed and approved the application with regard to important issues related to the operations of the project, including parking, traffic, noise, deliveries, sanitation and security.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variance:

1. A variance to reduce by 450 sq. ft. the minimum required open court area of 450 sq. ft. in order to eliminate the open court requirement. Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-699. – Setback requirements in the C-PS1, 2, 3, 4 districts.

(c) For lots greater than 100 feet in width the front setback shall be extended to include at least one open court with a minimum area of three square feet for every linear foot of lot frontage, except for those properties located in the C-PS1 district described in section 142-698(a).

For zoning purposes, the front of the lot is located along Michigan Avenue and the open court area is required to be provided within the front setback. The purpose of the open court requirement is to break up long uninterrupted building mass and reflecting the historical development pattern of this portion of the city. Staff would note that in this instance, the proposed office building would occupy approximately 70% of the width of the site and the remaining width is dedicated to the relocated 2-story Contributing building and the internal driveway. Staff believes that the location of the driveway and 2-story Contributing building along Michigan Avenue effectively serve the purpose of the open court requirement. As such, staff finds that the unique site conditions including the retention of the Contributing building justify the granting of the variance.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends that the application be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Practical Difficulty and Hardship criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position: We thank the applicant and their team for their presentation to the advocacy committee. We understand their objectives and design plan. This site has been an eyesore for many years due to the previously approved project never having been completed. 

We are enthusiastic about the plan to elevate the historic building on the site and make it more prominent by moving it closer to the street. We thank the applicants to their commitment to historic preservation in this regard.

However, we are not able to support the overall project as currently proposed due to significant concerns related to certificate of appropriateness standards.

Compatibility: we have concerns about the contextuality of the new construction and how it relates to historic buildings and surroundings, in particular to the low-scale south of fifth historic neighborhood and lack of distinct but compatible design methodology of the project. The building as currently proposed is out of scale to the historic district and would encroach on the neighboring properties – particularly to the south – in a way that we do not believe would be sensitive or compatible to its surroundings.

We understand that the owners would prefer to build on the foundation of the previously approved but unfinished project on the site. However, this element of their program greatly increases the overall scale of the structure, creating a large indoor atrium that pushes all sides of the building outward. As such, we oppose the design as currently proposed, including the setback variance.

8. HPB21-0490; 333, 337, 343 and 345 Jefferson Avenue

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting an after-the-fact Certificate of Appropriateness for partial demolition of the buildings located at 333 and 343 Jefferson Avenue and modifications to the west (front) façade of 343 Jefferson Avenue.

more details-> 333, 337, 343 and 345 Jefferson Avenue

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis:  The subject site is comprised of two platted lots containing four structures. The two primary buildings fronting Jefferson Avenue are classified as Contributing and the two buildings located along the alley are not classified. In 2017, an application was submitted for a building permit (BC1704595) that included the renovation of all of the existing structures on the site, as well as the conversion of an existing residential apartment building to an apartment hotel. The application was reviewed by staff for a certificate of appropriateness (COA) pursuant to Section 118-563(d)of the LDR’s. The building permit, inclusive of the COA, was issued on September 30, 2020, and construction work commenced.

On September 23, 2021, Planning Department staff inspected the site and observed that the scope of demolition exceeded that which was approved in the building permit plans. Subsequently, the Building Official issued a stop work notice to the applicant. Consequently, the applicant has submitted an after-the-fact Certificate of Appropriateness request for partial demolition of the buildings located at 333 and 343 Jefferson Avenue, and modifications to the west (front) façade of 343 Jefferson Avenue.

On January 11, 2022, the Board reviewed the application, approved the reconstruction of the roof structure located a 343 Jefferson Avenue and continued the remainder of the application to the March 8, 2022, meeting. Since the January meeting, the applicant has submitted the following additional documentation:

  • A revised Letter of Intent with exhibits outlining the permitting history and inspection logs, dated February 2, 2022.
  • A copy of a Letter to Commission issued by the City Manager on September 14, 2021, outlining the history of the approved building permit (BC1704595).
  • • An Historic Resources Report prepared by Heritage Architectural Associates, dated February 7, 2022.
  • 333 Jefferson Avenue

The building located at 333 Jefferson Avenue was constructed in 1939 and designed by H. George Fink in the Mediterranean Revival/Art Deco Transitional style of architecture. The building was originally constructed with four apartment units and four hotel units. Over time, the hotel units were combined to create additional apartments and currently the building contains six units. Renovations to this building noted in the building permit issued in 2020 include the replacement of non-original windows with new casement windows with an historically accurate muntin configuration, removal of the through-the-wall air conditioning units, interior renovation, and structural repairs. Staff would note that the existing and proposed elevation drawings in the approved permit plans lack detail with regard to existing exterior architectural features. As such, staff recommends that revised drawings be submitted that clearly identify all significant exterior architectural features are to be retained and restored including but not limited to the shallow angled canopies at the entrance doors, raised horizontal banding, vertical and horizontal stucco score lines, octagonal window openings and decorative curved built-in planters.

Regarding the after-the-fact increase in scope of demolition, the applicant has verbally indicated that during the course of demolition the existing structural conditions of the first-floor wood joists and interior bearing walls were such that they warranted replacement rather than repair, exceeding the scope of demolition of the approved building permit. Temporary shoring has been installed to support the second floor during reconstruction. Staff recommends that the after-the- fact certificate of appropriateness be approved, allowing for the retention and restoration of this Contributing building.

337 Jefferson Avenue

The building located at 337 Jefferson Avenue (within the rear portion of the property containing the 333 Jefferson building) was constructed in 1955 as a 2-story apartment building containing 6 efficiency units. This building was designed by T. Hunter Henderson and is not classified within the City’s Historic Properties Database. The approved building permit includes window replacement, interior renovation and roof replacement.

343 Jefferson Avenue

The building located at 343 Jefferson Avenue was constructed in 1922 and designed by architects Rowan & Schaffer in what appears to be the Masonry Vernacular style of architecture. The building was originally constructed as two apartment units, one per floor. Over time, the apartment units were divided, and the building currently contains four apartment units. The building permit issued for this structure includes the replacement of doors and windows, structural repairs and a change of use from apartment units to hotel units.

As noted in the Background section of this report, the Board approved the applicant’s request for the reconstruction of the roof structure at the January 11, 2022, meeting. The applicant is currently requesting approval for an after-the-fact modification to the front (west) façade. Specifically, the applicant is proposing to relocate the entry door and modify one window opening which will require the demolition of a portion of blank stucco wall.

Staff has revaluated this request in light of new information contained within the more comprehensive historic resources report submitted to the City on February 8, 2022. The report includes an excerpt of a Sanborn Map that shows a structure at the center of the front façade; likely the stairs that were removed in 1948. Additionally, the report includes a photograph of the building from 1955. Based upon this new evidence, staff has concluded that the original façade design was likely symmetrical. As such, staff recommends that the after-the-fact modification of the door and window opening not be approved and that the front façade remain in a symmetrical design.

345 Jefferson Avenue

The building located at 345 Jefferson Avenue (within the rear portion of the property containing the 343 Jefferson building) was constructed in 1922 as a garage/warehouse. In 1952, the building was renovated and converted into 6 apartment units. No architect is listed on the building card and the structure is not classified within the City’s Historic Properties Database. The approved building permit includes interior renovation and window replacement.

SUMMARY

In summary staff recommends approval of the application, including the after-the-fact increase in the scope of demolition of the building located at 333 Jefferson Avenue and the restoration of the previously existing façade configuration of the building located at 343 Jefferson Avenue. Additionally, staff recommends that prior to the lifting of the stop work order at the subject site, revised architectural plans be provided for all 4 buildings within the site, as more specifically noted in the attached draft order.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application be approved subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria.

MDPL Position: We are alarmed by the work done without obtaining the certificate of appropriateness. Such unauthorized work puts our historic resources and neighborhoods at risk.

MODIFICATIONS TO PREVIOUSLY APPROVED BOARD ORDER

9. HPB21-0493; 1751, 1757 & 1775 Collins Avenue—The Raleigh Hotel

PRIOR ORDER NUMBER: HPB19-0341

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the three contributing buildings on the site, the construction of a detached ground level tower addition at the southeast portion of the site, the construction of a detached ground level addition at the northeast portion of the site and the construction of two attached additions, including one or more waivers and a variance to reduce the required subterranean rear setback. Specifically, the applicant is requesting approval for the introduction of two additional basement levels below the previously approved basement level.

more details->Raleigh Hotel

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis:  As noted in the Background section of this report, on September 8, 2020, the board reviewed and approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for the redevelopment of the site including, but not limited to partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the South Seas, Richmond and Raleigh hotels, the construction of a new multi-family residential tower and 2-story pavilion. Additionally, a new approximately 64,000 sq. ft. basement located primarily below the new residential tower and pavilion was approved. The previously approved basement level included a residential vehicular drop-off area accessed via 18th Street, through the pavilion, back of house and service areas and an approximately 15,000 sq. ft. spa.

The applicant is currently requesting approval for the introduction of an additional two levels of basement area to provide 112 parking spaces. The approved project requires 155 parking spaces, and no parking was provided. Staff would note that in lieu of providing the required parking spaces, the applicant may pay a fee-in-lieu of provided parking or provided dedicated parking within 1,200 feet of the site.

The additional basement levels will have no visual impact on the site and is a more appropriate option than attempting to provide an above grade parking garage structure that would have an adverse impact on the contributing structures within the site and surrounding historic district. Additionally, the LDR’s currently do not prohibit basement parking. Notwithstanding the foregoing, staff has serious concerns relative to the additional excavation and construction of a 3-level basement, particularly for the purpose of storing vehicles. Although this location has one of the higher site elevations in the City, Miami Beach is a barrier island and the future impacts of sea level rise make a proposal such as this exceedingly precarious.

Staff would note that as part of the previous approval, the Board imposed a condition requiring additional precautions be taken during construction to protect the structures on the site and surrounding buildings, including vibration monitoring. In an abundance of caution, staff recommends the implementation of additional safeguards in accordance with the Board’s authority as provided for in Section 118-561(b) to further ensure the retention of the Contributing buildings on the site to promote the general welfare of the City by providing an opportunity for study of local history, architecture and design of this building. To this end, staff recommends the following additional measures:Prior to the issuance of a building permit for the construction of 2nd and 3rd levels of the basement, the project engineer shall submit a letter to the Planning Department. Such

  • letter shall include a construction schedule identifying events that render the historic structures most vulnerable during the excavation and demolition phases.
  • The applicant shall be required to provide onsite supervision by the structural and/or shoring engineer of record, as applicable.
  •  The applicant shall be required to notify the Planning Department no later than the next business day if there is any indication of structural compromise or failure during this phase of construction.

In summary, as is the case with similar requests for basement parking, staff has concerns with implementing this type of parking storage on the site. Additionally, given the transient nature of the proposed use, and access to alternative modes of transit, staff also questions the actual need to provide the amount of parking proposed on the site. However, staff continues to be supportive of the restoration and redevelopment of all Contributing buildings on the site and are enthusiastic about the property’s return to an active and vibrant use. As noted above, since basement parking is not currently prohibited under the code, staff recommends approval of the project, subject to the conditions in the attached draft order.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for modifications to a previously issued a Certificate of Appropriateness be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria.

MDPL Position: we remain concerned about the restoration of the Raleigh hotel and the impacts of construction on the historic buildings of the site as well as nearby buildings. We understand the staff’s support for the additional level basement but want to ensure that any increased subterranean development does not threaten the integrity of the structure of the historic buildings. This has been a concern of ours previously and one that the city planning department had originally raised. 

NEW APPLICATIONS

10. HPB21-0482; 1300 Lenox Avenue

Current Home

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the existing single-family home, including the construction of attached and detached additions and variances from the required setbacks, open space, lot coverage and retaining wall regulations.

more details->1300 Lenox Ave

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 

Staff Analysis:  The subject single-family home was constructed in 1936 and designed by architect Lester Avery in the Mediterranean Revival/Art Deco Transitional style of architecture. The applicant is requesting approval for the renovation, restoration and elevation of the existing home including the construction of attached additions and the construction of a detached 2-story accessory building at the rear of the site.

Structural modifications and elevation

The applicant is proposing a significant renovation of the existing residence, including the elevation of the floor slab and roof structure approximately 3’-2” to make the home more resilient for the future. Structural modifications include the reinforcement of the existing foundation with helical piles, the removal of the existing floor slab (located at 6.00’ NGVD) and the construction of a new floor slab within the existing building walls (at an elevation of 9.20’ NGVD). Additionally, the exterior walls are proposed to be extended vertically and the window and door openings will be vertically relocated. A new roof structure, matching the design of the existing roof, will be constructed and the grade elevation of the site is proposed to be raised.

Staff would note that this type of “adapt in place” intervention is consistent with the recommended strategies identified for the Flamingo Park Local Historic District in Buoyant City – Historic District Resiliency and Adaptation Guidelines. The Board unanimously recommended in favor of these guidelines and were adopted by the City Commission. Staff is supportive of the structural modifications and would note that while the level of intervention is extensive, the modifications will ensure the preservation of the home for the future.The applicant is proposing to partially restore the house including the removal of the non-original front porch structure (constructed in 1944). A small addition is proposed to be constructed at the north side of the home and a 2-car garage is proposed to be constructed in front of the existing 1-car garage along 13th Street. Staff has no objection in concept with the proposed additions, staff would however, recommends that the new garage addition be further refined in manner more consistent with the original design. This could include wider areas of masonry on the sides of the addition and a slight reduction in height of the garage doors. In order to implement the additional masonry staff would have no objection to a minimal extension of the garage further to the west.

Additionally, the applicant is proposing modifications to several of the door and window openings. In comparing the original and proposed elevations, staff has identified a number of openings that differ in proportion to the original openings. As such, staff recommends that all window openings be proportionate to original window design. Regarding the front door and windows adjacent to the left, staff recommends that these elements be restored consistent with available historical documentation to the greatest extent possible. Finally, staff recommends that the applicant explore the reintroduction of the chimney.

Rear accessory structure

The applicant is proposing to construct a new 2-story addition containing guest quarters at the rear of the site. Staff is supportive of the contemporary design of the detached addition which is clearly a modern intervention and will not be mistaken as part of the original design. Additionally, staff believes the location of the new addition at the rear of the site is the most appropriate and will not overwhelm the existing Contributing home. In summary, staff is generally supportive of the proposed project and recommends approval.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variances:

  1. A variance to exceed by 5.7% (434 sq. ft.) the maximum permitted lot coverage of 30% in order to provide a lot coverage of 35.7% (2,684 sq. ft.). Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-105. – Development regulations and area requirements.
    (a) The development regulations for the RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
    Maximum Lot Coverage for a 2-story Home (% of lot area): 30%
  2. A variance to reduce by 10’-0” the minimum required side yard facing a street setback of 15’-0” in order to construct an attached addition at a setback of 5’-0” from the south side property line. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.
    (a) The setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling in the RS-1, RS-2, RS- 3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
    (2) Side yards,
    (b) Side, facing a street.
    (1) Each required side yard facing a street shall be no less than ten percent of the lot width or 15 feet, whichever is greater.

A variance to reduce by 2’-8” the minimum required interior side yard setback of 7’-6” in order to construct an attached addition at a setback of 4’-10” from the north side property line. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.

  1. (a) The setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling in the RS-1, RS-2, RS- 3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
    (2) Side yards,
    (c) Interior sides.
    (2) For lots 65 feet in width or less each interior side yard shall have a minimum of seven and one-half feet.
  2. A variance to reduce by 2’-8” the minimum required sum of the side yards of 12’-6” in order to construct attached additions with a sum of side yards of 9’-10”. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.
    (a) The setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling in the RS-1, RS-2, RS- 3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
    (2) Side yards,
    (a) The sum of the required side yards shall be at least 25 percent of the lot width.
  3. A variance to exceed by 29.5% (332.75 sq. ft.) the maximum permitted accessory building lot coverage of 25% (281.25 sq. ft.) in order to provide a lot coverage of 54.5% (614 sq. ft.). Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.

(b) Allowable encroachments within required yards.

(1) Accessory buildings. In all single-family districts, the following regulations shall apply to accessory buildings within a required rear yard:

(a) Lot coverage. Accessory buildings that are not a part of the main building, shall be included in the overall lot coverage calculations for the site. and may be constructed in a rear yard, provided such accessory building (or accessory buildings) does not occupy more than 25 percent of the area of the required rear yard. Areas enclosed by screen shall be included in the computation of area occupied in a required rear yard lot, but an open uncovered swimming pool shall not be included.A variance to exceed by 10’-5” the minimum required side facing a street setback of 15’- 0” in order construct the accessory building at a setback of 4’-7” from the south property line, to exceed by 5’-5” the minimum required side interior setback for an accessory building of 10’-0” in order construct the accessory building at a setback of 4’-7” from the north property line and to exceed by 11’-2” the minimum required rear setback of 15’-0” in order construct the accessory building at a setback of 3’-10” from the west property line. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.
(b) Allowable encroachments within required yards.
(1) Accessory buildings. In all single-family districts, the following regulations shall apply to accessory buildings within a required rear yard:
(d) Setbacks:
(2) Two-story. A two-story accessory building shall not be located closer than ten feet
to an interior side lot line, or the required side yard setback, whichever is greater; 15 feet when facing a street; or 15 feet from the rear of the property.

A variance to reduce by 24.5% (276.5 sq. ft.) the minimum required rear yard open space area of 70% (787.5 sq. ft.) in order to provide a rear yard open space area of 45.5% (511 sq. ft.). Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-106. – Setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling.
(a) The setback requirements for a single-family detached dwelling in the RS-1, RS-2, RS- 3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
(3) Rear. At least 70 percent of the required rear yard shall be sodded or landscaped pervious open space.

A variance to exceed by 1.26’ the maximum permitted height for a retaining wall located within the required front yard and required side yard facing a street of 5.74’ NGVD in order to provide a retaining wall at a height of 7.00’ NGVD within four feet of the property lines. Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-105. – Development regulations and area requirements.
(b) The development regulations for the RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, RS-4 single-family residential districts are as follows:
(8) Exterior building and lot standards. The following shall apply to all buildings and properties in the RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, RS-4 single-family residential districts:

(c) Maximum yard elevation requirements. The maximum elevation of a required yard shall be in accordance with the following, however in no instance shall the elevation of a required yard, exceed the minimum flood elevation, plus freeboard:

(6) Retaining wall and yard slope requirements. Within the required front yard and within the required side yard facing a street the following shall apply:

(A) Within the first four feet of the property line, the maximum height of retaining walls shall not exceed 30 inches above existing sidewalk elevation, or existing adjacent grade if no sidewalk is present.

Variances 1 through 7 are related to the construction of attached and detached additions to the Contributing home. Staff would note the retention of the existing single-family house, which has a larger front setback than required, reduces the available area for new construction on the site. Staff finds that the variances requested minimize the impact on the existing structure and will not have an adverse impact on the adjacent neighboring properties. However, staff recommends a minimum setback of 5’-0” for the sides of the accessory structure to align with the proposed garage addition on the south and to allow for additional landscaping adjacent to the property to the north. Finally, staff would note that if the existing residence were located outside of a local historic district, the retention of the existing home would allow for a lot coverage up to a maximum of 40% without any variance. Since the property is located within the Flamingo Park Local Historic District, the owner is not eligible for this incentive. Consequently, staff is extremely supportive of the variance requested to increase the allowable lot coverage from 30% to 35.7%.

Variance 8 is related to the elevation of the home and yard. The applicant is proposing to raise the home approximately 3’-2” above its current elevation. Correspondingly, the elevation of the yard is also proposed to be raised. The relationship of the house to the site is critical to the understanding of this historic property and should be maintained. As such staff finds this unique condition justifies the requested variance.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variances be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness and practical difficulty and hardship criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position: This project is the latest to propose adapting historic structures for resilience purposes. The home’s ground floor will be elevated to the same level as new construction is required to be built. While this is not legally required, the owner has proposed to elevate the property and we applaud the intent of prolonging the life of this contributing historic structure. We hope this may serve as a model for other homeowners who want to invest in making their properties more resilient over the next several decades.

MDPL echos the staff recommendation regarding proposed changes to the fenestration of the building. They should match the historic fenestration. Changing such a quantity of windows and locations of those windows to the front facing facades would have a negative impact on the historic restoration of the property.

We look forward to seeing this project move forward with staff conditions. This single-family home neighborhood continues to thrive with restoration and renovation of historic properties, and we are thankful to the owner and neighbors for their stewardship.

11. HPB21-0495; 622 15th Street

Current Structure

622 15th Street

Proposed Changes

View Item Details

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the building on the site, the classification of the rear accessory building as Non-Contributing, the total demolition of the rear accessory building, the construction of a new detached rear addition and variances from the required setbacks and the minimum average apartment unit size. 

more details-> 622 15th Street

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report): 
Staff Analysis:  The applicant is proposing the renovation and restoration of the primary building at the front of the lot and the construction of a new detached 3-story addition at the rear of the site. In order to construct the addition, the applicant is proposing the total demolition of the 2-story rear accessory building. The existing rear structure is classified as

Contributing within the Miami Beach Historic Properties Database. Per City of Miami Beach code section 142-155(a)(3)(g):

Only those portions of a contributing building that were not part of the original structure on site, or that have not acquired any type of architectural significance, as determined by staff or the historic preservation board, may be proposed to be demolished.

The applicant is requesting that the Board re-classify the rear structure as Non-Contributing as a part of this application.

Reclassification request

On May 14, 1994, Section 19 of Miami Beach Zoning Ordinance No. 89-2665, entitled “HISTORIC PRESERVATION BOARD AND HISTORIC DISTRICT REGULATIONS”, was amended to require that non-individually designated historic sites in historic districts be listed in the Miami Beach Historic Properties Database are classified as either Contributing or Non-Contributing only. The definition of a “Contributing Building, Structure, Improvement, Site, or Landscape Feature”, in said Ordinance reads as follows:

One which by location, scale, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling or association adds to a local historic district’s sense of time and place and historical development. A Building, Structure, Improvement, Site or Landscape Feature may be Contributing even if it has been altered if the alterations are reversible and the most significant architectural elements are intact and repairable.

Pursuant to Subsection 118-534 (b) of the Land Development Regulations of the Miami Beach Code, the Historic Properties Database may be revised from time to time by the Historic Preservation Board, in accordance with procedures set forth in said Subsection.

The 2-story multi-family residential building located at the front of the lot was constructed in 1925 and designed by J. C. Gault in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture. A 2-story accessory building was constructed at the rear of the site either concurrently or shortly thereafter (as it appears in a 1927 aerial photograph). Staff has located original microfilm plans and elevation drawings of the main structure; however, no plans have been located for the accessory building. Interestingly, the original construction of the accessory building is not identified on the Building Card and the structure is not mentioned until 1956 when a Certificate of Occupancy was issued for two residential units. Based upon a 1941 aerial photograph that shows a driveway leading to the accessory building, staff can assume that at least a portion of the ground level included a garage.

Regarding the requested classification of the rear accessory structure, staff would note that the building has been altered over time including the conversion of the garage into a residential unit. The applicant has provided an excellent historic resources report that outlines many of the modifications to the building. As such, staff has no objection to the applicant’s request to classify this structure as Non-Contributing in the Historic Properties Database. If the Board approves the request for reclassification, staff supports the applicant’s request for the total demolition of the building.

Restoration of the existing Contributing 2-story multi-family residential building

Staff is extremely supportive of the proposed renovation and substantial restoration of the primary structure along 15th Street. This includes the replacement of all windows and doors with new impact resistant windows and doors with an historically accurate muntin configuration. Additionally, many of the original window openings that have been modified or eliminated over time are proposed to be reintroduced. Most notably, the applicant is proposing to substantially recreate the porch/porte-cochere per the original 1925 plans which staff believes is an essential piece to the originally designed primary façade composition.

New 3-story detached rear addition

The applicant is proposing to construct a new 3-story addition at the rear of the site containing three apartments. Staff is supportive of the proposed design and would commend the applicant for proposing to construct a high-quality structure on the site. The new addition, which will be minimally visible from 15th Street, has been designed in a manner that is compatible with the existing Contributing building on the site. To this end, the proposed addition incorporates red terra-cotta cladding referencing the terra cotta roof tiles of the existing building. Further, the new addition is well within the scale of the neighboring buildings and the surrounding historic district.

Finally, staff would note that even with the construction of this addition, the proposed FAR for the site (0.95 FAR) remains significantly below the maximum 1.25 FAR permitted.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variances:

  1. A variance to reduce by 8’-8” the minimum required front yard setback of 20’-0” in order to construct a porch and porte-cochere at a setback of 11’-4” from the north side property line. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-156. – Setback requirements.
    (a) The setback requirements for the RM-1 residential multifamily, low density district are as follows:
    Subterranean and pedestal, Front: 20’-0”
  2. A variance to reduce by 8’-8” the minimum required front yard setback of 20’-0” in order to construct an at-grade parking space at a setback of 11’-4” from the north side property line. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-156. – Setback requirements.
    (a) The setback requirements for the RM-1 residential multifamily, low density district are as follows:
    At-grade parking lot on the same lot, Front: 20’-0”

Variances 1 and 2 are related to the construction of a new covered front porch and porte-cochere substantially consistent with the original 1925 design. Currently, the existing building has a non- conforming front setback of approximately 15’-2”. As originally designed the covered front porch extended an additional approximately 8’-0” into the front setback, for an overall non-conforming setback of approximately 7’-2”. The applicant is proposing to construct the porch and porte- cochere with a shallower depth at a setback of 11’-4” from the front property line. This unique condition creates a practical difficulty specific to the substantial reconstruction of the covered front porch and porte-cochere. Staff believes that the variances requested for these elements are necessary in order to retain and restore this historically significant building.

  1. A variance to reduce by 5’-0” the minimum required rear yard setback of 10’-0” in order to construct a new detached addition at a setback of 5’-0” from the south side property line. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-156. – Setback requirements.
    (a) The setback requirements for the RM-1 residential multifamily, low density district are as follows:
    Subterranean and pedestal, Rear: 10% of the lot depth.
  2. A variance to reduce by 29 sq. ft. the minimum average required unit size of 800 sq. ft. for apartments in order to construct a new multi-family residential addition with an average size of 771 sq. ft. Variance requested from:
    Sec. 142-155. – Development regulations and area requirements.
    (b) The lot area, lot width, unit size and building height requirements for the RM-1 residential multifamily, low density district are as follows: Average Unit Size (Square Feet): New construction – 800
  3. Variance 3 is related to the construction of the detached 3-story addition at a rear setback of 5’- 0”. The minimum required setback is 10% of the lot depth (100’-0”), in this case 10’-0”. Staff would note that as part of this application, the primary building on the site is proposed to be retained and restored. Further, as per the additional regulations contained within the RM-1 zoning district for properties located with the Flamingo Park Local Historic District, any new addition must be separated by a minimum of 10’-0” from the rear of the existing building. Additionally, staff would note a 5’-0” rear setback is generally consistent with the existing buildings within this area of the city.
  4. Variance 4 is related to the minimum average unit size proposed for the new rear addition. The RM-1 zoning district requires that new apartment units comply with a minimum size of 550 sq. ft. and an average size of 800 sq. ft. The new addition contains three units ranging in size from 722 sq. ft. to 802 sq. ft.; however, the proposed average size (771 sq. ft.) is slightly below the minimum 800 sq. ft. required.
  5. Based upon the existing site conditions, including the retention and restoration of the Contributing building, as well as the additional requirements for the Flamingo Park area, staff believe that these special conditions warrant the granting of these variances.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends that the Board reclassify the rear accessory building as Non-Contributing within the Historic Properties Database and the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variances be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness and practical difficulty and hardship criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position: 

We appreciate the design proposal which includes rehabilitation of the main building and bringing back original elements of the design. We applaud the applicant for their design.

However, we cannot support the proposed reclassification of the contributing building in the rear of the lot along with its proposed demolition. We believe this building could be restored and improved to meet the needs of the owner. The building clearly reflects the same design style of the primary building and is listed as contributing.

This is not a new position for MDPL. We remain committed to preserving contributing buildings that maintain their architectural integrity and are able to be restored. Removal of such features erases an important characteristic of these historic structures.

Art Deco Weekend:
Jan 13-15 2023
"Art Deco Worldwide"

Our Annual Online Giving Event is Happening Now!

Latest Blog Post

Art Week Miami Beach 2022

Art Week Miami Beach 2022

Art Week Miami Beach 2022 is upon us! We made this video to highlight just a few of the historic places and contemporary art experiences in store throughout the Art

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Giving Day 2022

We are Now Accepting Donations for our Annual Online Fundraising Event!