Miami land-use changes on hold through 2008
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Because the state has "significant concerns" about how Miami has altered its land-use plan, all land-use changes in the city are on hold pending a state review. At least a dozen are waiting.
Early 2009 is the soonest the city could consider any of them, city officials say, and zoning changes that require altering land use are also halted.
The city commission cannot approve any now, City Manager Pete Hernandez said. Some on today's (9/25) agenda are to be deferred.
The Florida Department of Community Affairs objected to parts of the city's proposed amendment to its comprehensive plan, said Ed George, department spokesman, referring to changes the city presented to the state planning agency.
The department returned the plan to the city in July, giving it until November to make required changes. Meanwhile, the city can't change land use or accompanying zoning.
Mr. George said his department is waiting for the city to review his agency's recommendations and make needed changes.
Land-use changes can alter residential use to commercial, single-family to multi-family residential, or other shifts.
Miami already had a one-year extension and pardon from the Department of Community Affairs for not amending its state-required comprehensive development plan by deadline.
The Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which the city commission adopted in 2005 and the state approved in 2006, is the foundation for changes sought in the comprehensive plan. The state requires that assessment every seven years. Miami developed its report in 2004 following several workshops.
After the state reviewed Miami's plan this summer, it noted "significant concerns" about proposed changes to objectives and policies related to the Miami River. It also has issues with the plan's elements for future land use, transportation, housing and capital improvements.
The city planning department is gathering data to adopt changes based on the state's review, said Luciana Gonzalez, department spokeswoman.
The city-assigned planning team must make changes before the city commission okays the plan. Next step: re-submitting it to the state for what the city hopes is a final approval.
Meanwhile, at least 12 applications await land-use changes or zoning changes that also require land-use changes, said Anel Rodriguez of Miami's hearing boards. He said applicants have been notified of the delay.
The department continues to accept applications but is informing applicants of the halt, Ms. Gonzalez said. "When we meet with customers, we let them know there is an issue that needs to be resolved before items move forward."
Under normal circumstances, a land-use change could take about three months. But Mr. Rodriguez said many of them are triggered by requests for zoning changes because both have to be compatible. That causes such requests to take about five months.
While the city struggles to perfect the plan, Mr. Rodriguez said, the planning advisory board, the zoning board and the city commission are prohibited from discussing planning and zoning requests that require land-use changes.