New Zoning Code To Pave Way For New Era Of Development

After an era of massive development, the City of Coral Gables will soon be adopting a revised Zoning Code paving the way for new regulations for developers to shape the City Beautiful.

The item has tried to be rushed through city hall on multiple occasions. Most recently the new zoning changes were supposed to have been taken up on first reading at the last City Commission meeting. However, several commissioners stated they were not ready as they had insufficient time to review over 1,000 pages over the weekend for their Tuesday meeting. Instead, the commissioners were presented an overview power point by the consultant and staff was directed to meet with each commissioner individually to address questions and concerns.

The reorganized Zoning Code is proposed to have a series of updates that are recommended by the consultants, DPZ CoDesign.

In a memo to the city commission there are at least 19 major and 47 minor changes to the existing zoning code.

Earlier this week, the city’s Transportation Advisory Board, has taken it upon themselves to ask for a presentation of the changes to better understand how these changes will effect the city’s traffic gridlocks. Until now, they have not been made part of the process.

Gables Insider confirmed there will be a sunshine workshop meeting between commissioners before first and second reading in about a month’s time. The public will have the opportunity to comment only during first and second reading.


8 thoughts on “New Zoning Code To Pave Way For New Era Of Development

  1. I wonder why you would want to change a section of the zoning from mixed use to Industrial. So all the homes in the area will never see the sun if they don’t sell to you. This is the MOST corrupt period in the history of Coral Gables, and it happened so swiftly that people were caught by surprise and the concrete was a pouring before the community had a grasp as to what was going on. These hideous 800 sq. ft. apartments for $800k that but right up to the highway and don’t even have room for a tree. That’s affordable housing for seniors looking to downsize? You paved over paradise in the name of greed and kickbacks and don’t think the residents of a certain age don’t know it. Your sidewalks on Miracle Mile which you needlessly renovate every 11 years and make things worse are a prime example. You put the shop owners out of business with construction for a year and for what? If a restaurant wants to put tables outside they have to lease them from YOU at an exorbinate price. These sidewalks are massive and unused. Whoever thought of this is an idiot.

  2. Coral Gables states that its’ zoning code is the main document that “preserves the distinctive historic and architectural character of the municipality.”

    Recently, Dade Heritage Trust was given a grant by the county to purchase, restore, and preserve a historic property and keep it as an affordable housing option. As a longtime Coral Gables resident and active in the historic preservation movement, I commend Dade Heritage Trust for its visionary program to preserve Miami neighborhoods and also Miami-Dade County for its financial support of affordable housing through the preservation of neighborhoods and their historic resources.

    My optimism hinges on the hope that this program will trickle down to other municipalities including Coral Gables.

    The city’s historic residential downtown area [off of Ponce toward SW 8 Street and between Douglas and LeJeune], also known as the “garden” neighborhood is mostly made up of properties 50 years and older and has been a beacon for affordable housing since its original development. The area, made up of one and two stories multi-family units, is quaint and nostalgic. One can still enjoy a nature walk among Spanish moss covered trees and sculptural fountains, but for how long?

    These charming “garden” neighborhoods are endangered. Developers continue to spend millions, buying up full city blocks, demolishing the small affordable housing units, and building higher, bigger, luxury condos. Goodbye quaint. Hello concrete. In fact, between March and May of this year, fourteen properties [50 years and older] have either been demolished or are set for demolition. Yes, these properties go through a historic review under the city’s preservation ordinance, however, the process lacks checks and balances including research on the effects of physical and environmental damage brought on by ongoing demolitions and new construction. I recently suggested to the City Commission to consider mapping the “garden” neighborhood and documenting each historic resource in the area with the objective of creating a holistic approach to for the preservation of these neighborhoods.

    THE NEW ZONING CODE FOCUSES ON DENSITY. Why not focus on keeping “…the distinctive historic and architectural character of the municipality.”
    Dr. Karelia Martinez Carbonell, Local Preservationist

  3. The reason we moved to Coral Gables 3 years ago was because it was so uniquely green, pedestrian friendly, and has kept its community feel and care despite its proximity to downtown Miami. Downtown Miami is fun, contemporary, lively, and vibrant – a great city! Coconut Grove is chic, art is well-represented, and youth gather for fun – another great neighborhood! Key Biscayne with its marinas and beaches, its privacy and golf-cart transport, has its own individual appeal. My point is that we must not all strive to be the same!! With the over-sized apartment complexes towering over us on Ponce, Rt1, and worse, squeezing themselves into the tight streets of our city center, we will soon look – and feel- like every city everywhere. What a shame to not preserve what charms and delights about Coral Gables! What a disappointment for commissioners to continually approve the pouring of concrete, the overflowing of traffic, and the diminishing of architectural beauty and unique design in exchange for “economic growth”. I suspect only a few are benefitting from these mistakes. I urge commissioners to reflect deeply on their responsibility in changing zoning laws; changes should favor the existing community, not the enterprises and ambitions of a few.

    Permitting “remote parking” and “paying for parking” for buildings to accommodate more residents/guests than actually physically fit in an area is a wishful-thinking, short-sighted, and irresponsible acquiescence to business interests not working for the common good of Coral Gables residents. Let’s face facts and recognize our limitations. Small can be beautiful and has been good for Coral Gables.

  4. I moved to the Gables because of it’s surburan feel. I lived in big cities all of my life and wanted a change. This nice town has changed into a nightmare of traffic and congestion. Of yes “progress” is what it is called, but I call it destruction of a peaceful way of living.

  5. existing East on Ponce , from any North Ponce residential street is virtually taking your life at risk. Excess speed in addition to allowing curbside parking all the way to blocks end ( often violating Fire Hydrant distance regs) is the culprit. Vision looking North is drastically impaired! Correspondence goes unanswered and periodic speed enforcement efforts are only temporary. Leaving a full space on each end of block , restricting any form of truck or commercial vehicles parking for Ponce residential units would minimize accident exposure Let’s not wait for a serious injury or worse, a fatality to take action ! Ponce continues to add beauty to our city. Left turn traffic to newly developing Ponce Circle will increase. A solution must be found. Have great faith in our city planners. Let’s do it sooner , rather than later.

  6. What’s “beautiful” about solid pavement to concrete with no green space?! I was born in Coral Gables in 1962 and have seen it go from green to grey in my lifetime 🙁 I’m shocked that no green space for plants and/or grass is required around these massive new structures – potted plants are not enough! I think they should be required to cut out some concrete and plant something “beautiful.”

  7. Commercial buildings should be required to have front, rear, and side setbacks, just as we homeowners do. Putting a massive building on a sidewalk on US 1 (or on Ponce, or any roadway) endangers both pedestrians and autos, not even leaving enough room for two pedestrians to pass each other. True Mediterranean design would require covered walkways (such as the Omni Colonnade) on the entire frontage to protect pedestrians from both rain and brutal sun.

  8. I live on Ponce and I noticed the traffic has triple since I moved here 12 years ago. Ponce is a major avenue I get deteriorated quite quickly because of the immense traffic, At my corner there has been mayor traffic accidents and even though right only turn signs has been place it does not work. The only thing that works is a traffic light which will also slow down the traffic since people drive at an excessive speed. All of these development is going to make my city beautiful in asmog, congested ugly city.

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