MICHAEL
NEWS
City wants North Beach residents to help plan future of neighborhood
2016-02-03
BY JOEY FLECHAS

The culturally and economically eclectic neighborhood in the northern section of Miami Beach is about to start a planning process to produce a road map for the area’s future.

Politicians and activists have contended that North Beach needs to spur more development and be revitalized, an idea that was placed in the spotlight during the recent vote on whether to increase floor area ratio in Ocean Terrace — a proposal voters rejected in November.

Just how this development and revitalization happens is the crux of a master planning process commissioned by city leaders, a process that begins next week.

A “CHARRETTE” IS A DESIGN AND PLANNING MEETING WHERE STAKEHOLDERS COLLABORATE ON A VISION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN AN AREA.

North Beach residents are being asked to voice their opinions on the state of their piece of the city, including what works well and what needs help. The input process, called a charrette, will kick off at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the UNIDAD Senior Center, 7231 Collins Ave. 

Dover, Kohl & Partners, the town planning firm charged with creating the plan, then will host a week of daylong sessions from Feb. 12 to Feb. 17 at the O Cinema (Byron Carlyle Theater) where anyone can talk to planners about their ideas for North Beach.

Planners will have a wrap-up session to present the work from the charrette at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the North Shore Youth Center, 501 72nd St.

The Beach planning firm is working with consultants on specific aspects of the plan, including bicycle/pedestrian facilities and historic preservation. A final draft of the master plan is expected to be completed by this fall.

In advance of the public planning process, dozens of city officials and residents took a three-hour tour of North Beach on Saturday, boarding a bus that stopped at five key locations across the area:

 Ocean Terrace

 West Lots — city-owned lots west of Collins Avenue across from North Shore Open Space Park

 Crespi Park

 Normandy Fountain

 Allison Park

Some of the themes that ran through the discussion in these locations were preserving and increasing green space, building more parking facilities and using the Town Center zone of North Beach as the anchor for encouraging new development. Town Center is the area bounded by 73rd Street on the north, Collins Avenue on the east, 69th Street on the south and the Indian Creek waterway on the west. 

“Town Center on 71st Street is the area that can become a downtown for North Beach,” said Jason King, project director for Dover, Kohl & Partners. 

King noted that his firm, their partners and the city want to get input from a variety of locals for the plan. Given the number of residents who speak Spanish in North Beach, interpreters will be available during the charrette.