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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a comprehensive plan?
    A Comprehensive Plan (hereafter referred to as ‘Comp Plan’) is a document created by local governments and residents to determine what the focus and vision of the community should be over a long-term period. The Plan looks at the relationships between land uses, infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, and community needs, and can impact how and where a community grows over time. It seeks to include broad, equitable, and diverse public engagement from residents across all areas of the municipality. Florida Law requires that each local government prepare a comprehensive plan. This law is called the Community Planning Act and can be found at Chapter 163, Florida Statutes.
  • Why does a comprehensive plan matter?
    Because the Comp Plan has the force of law. After a comprehensive plan has been adopted by a local government, all development undertaken by, and all actions taken in regard to development orders by, governmental agencies in regard to land covered by such comprehensive plan are required to be consistent with such plan. In short, the comprehensive plan is: A public guide to community decision making An assessment of the community’s needs A statement of community values, goals, and objectives A blueprint for the community’s physical development A public legal document adopted by government Continuously updated as conditions change
  • What exactly is council voting on?
    At this time, Council will be voting on an amendment to the Future Land Use Element (FLUE) and Future Land Use Map (FLUM) of the 2025 Comprehensive Plan that includes changes to property density, use designation, etc.
  • What are the arguments for/against this vote?
    FOR Arguments for the proposed comp plan include: Residential density can be controlled during the zoning stage of a project High density is necessary to make current non-compliant properties (i.e. ones that don't conform to the comp plan passed in 2018) come into compliance. If major damage occurs to a non-compliant property (such as destruction by fire or hurricane) requiring the structure to be rebuilt, it may not be allowed due to non-compliance. AGAINST Arguments against the proposed comp plan include: if it passes with the expectation that village zoning will control density, we put the village at risk by lawsuits from developers because the comp plan is a legal document, and zoning regulations that don't accommodate the density written into the comp plan may be considered unlawful. lack of information about long-term impacts does not take into account the community's vision for the village widespread changes are not necessary to address the problems with the current comprehensive plan if we pass a comp plan that includes lower density, developers can apply for a small scale comp plan amendment to accommodate their project We're due to pass another comprehensive plan for 2025, and broader changes can be addressed for that, giving the village time to get data and listen to the community. If major damage occurs to a non-compliant property (such as destruction by fire or hurricane) requiring the structure to be rebuilt, the non-compliant property may be rebuilt as a special circumstance.
  • How does this affect me?
    The changes to the comprehensive plan will affect all members of the Miami Shores Village community, impacting things like: property values local infrastructure local schools and class sizes traffic patterns throughout the village MSV parks and recreation To prevent detrimental effects on our community, we are calling on Miami Shores Village Council to vote "no" at this time, to pass a "fix only" solution, and to produce the necessary (state-mandated) analyses to support increased density through impact studies.
  • Why is the plan called the 2025 Comprehensive Plan if its 2022 now?
    Our current operative Plan was adopted in 2008 and is called the 2025 Comprehensive Plan because it was intended to set forth the Village’s future planning goals into the year 2025.
  • Does the amendment have to incorporate additional residential density in order to “fix” the errors?
    For the most part, no. The only area that technically “lost” density in the 2018 plan was the Barry-owned land which was erroneously designated as “institutional.” Prior to 2018, the Barry-owned land historically had a density of 6 units/per acre (equivalent to the average village-wide Single Family Residential density)
  • Can this amendment be put to a vote of the people instead of just 5 council members?
    Unfortunately, no. Referendums on Comprehensive Plan Amendments are prohibited by Florida Statute. See Florida Statute Section 163.3167(8)(b). This law is in response to the 2010 Hometown Democracy Amendment, also known as Amendment 4, also known as "Referenda Required For Adoption And Amendment of Local Government Comprehensive Land Use Plans." If passed the constitutional amendment would have altered the way comprehensive plan amendments are adopted. Proposed comprehensive plan amendments would still be heard by county or city officials, however, if they are approved by those officials, they would then be subject to a vote of the electors of the local government by referendum. The Florida Hometown Democracy movement came from a concern that these comprehensive plan amendments are granted too frequently, are not scrutinized enough to ensure the area can handle the growth, and are resulting in irresponsible growth across the state. This ballot initiative was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment to the Florida Constitution where it was defeated. The initiative proposed requiring a taxpayer-funded referendum for all changes to local government comprehensive land-use plans. The initiative appeared on the November ballot as "Amendment 4." In 2011 the Florida legislature passed a bill prohibiting local communities from requiring a local referendum on changes to comprehensive land-use plans. The legislature’s ban on local votes, is a direct response to 2010's Amendment 4.
  • What is the proposed Lennar project near Barry University?
    Barry University owns approximately 23.5 acres of undeveloped land west of the university. This land is currently under contract to be sold to Lennar, a nationwide residential developer, who seeks to build a development called “The Shores.” At a community meeting at Barry University, Barry and Lennar revealed a tentative plan for residential and mixed-use development, seemingly contingent on the proposed changes to Miami Shores Village's comprehensive plan. The development includes: 470 “Garden Apartments”: 3-5 story buildings; 1-3 bedrooms; rental units with minimum 6-month leases (eastern portion) 130 townhomes: 2-3 story, 3-4 bedroom (western portion) commercial space space for resident parking garage(s) a total of approximately 600 new residential dwellings Many questions from community members regarding the impacts to local traffic, public works, law enforcement, schools, etc. were left unanswered.
  • Would a "NO" vote on December 14th stop the proposed Lennar Project?
    No, not necessarily. Although the details of the property's sale have not been disclosed, it sounds likely that the land will still be developed, but the density and type of developments would change in compliance with the comprehensive plan that is ultimately passed. Additionally, once a comp plan is passed, developers who would like to propose a development project that is not in compliance with the effective comp plan may request a special project amendment for their project.
  • Why was the land now under contract by Lennar designated as “Institutional” in 2018?
    It is unclear why that land changed designation on the FLUM in the 2018 Comp Plan amendment; however, currently, Doctors Charter School and the Barry Podiatry school are situated on the property, so the “Institutional” designation is technically consistent with the current land use of that property.
  • What is the current designation of the land that Lennar wants to buy?
    The Barry-owned property is currently vacant with the exception of the Doctors Charter School and the Barry Podiatry School. It was previously the Biscayne Kennel Club, which ceased operations in the 1990s. Barry purchased the parcels in 1997 and 1998. In 1999 Miami Shores designated the property as “Mixed Use Residential/institutional: Single-family detached and attached units and multifamily units at a density up to 6 units per acre and/or institutional uses at a floor area ratio not greater than 1.0. Institutional uses authorized by this future land use category shall include those authorized by the institutional land use category.” This designation disappeared from the FLUM in the 2018 amendment.
  • What designation is the property that Lennar wants to buy legally entitled to?
    Historically, once the Biscayne Kennel Club ceased operations, the land was designated as “Mixed Use Residential/institutional: Single-family detached and attached units and multifamily units at a density up to 6 units per acre and/or institutional uses at a floor area ratio not greater than 1.0. Institutional uses authorized by this future land use category shall include those authorized by the institutional land use category.” One might argue that the logical and reasonable “fix” would be to restore this historical designation.
  • Can Lennar develop the land with the historical Mixed Use Residential/Institutional designation?
    Yes, the land is developable as single family and multifamily units at a maximum of 6 units per acre, which is the current condition of the land surrounding the vacant land to the North and South. If Barry (or Lennar) wanted to build at a higher density, they would submit an application for a small scale amendment to the Future Land Use Map and pursue their development application as any other land owner within the Village who seeks to increase density on their property.
  • Why do we need a comp plan?
    Comprehensive Planning is necessary so that: local governments can preserve and enhance present advantages; encourage the most appropriate use of land, water, and resources, consistent with the public interest; overcome present handicaps; and deal effectively with future problems that may result from the use and development of land within their jurisdictions. Through the process of comprehensive planning, it is intended that units of local government can preserve, promote, protect, and improve the public health, safety, comfort, good order, appearance, convenience, law enforcement and fire prevention, and general welfare; facilitate the adequate and efficient provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks, recreational facilities, housing, and other requirements and services; and conserve, develop, utilize, and protect natural resources within their jurisdictions.
  • What's included in a comprehensive plan?
    The Comprehensive Plan is required to provide principles, guidelines, standards and strategies for the orderly and balanced future economic, social, physical, environmental and fiscal development of the community. All elements of the Comprehensive Plan must be based on relevant and appropriate data and analysis by the local government. The elements of the comprehensive plan are required to be internally consistent. MANDATORY ELEMENTS The Community Planning Act requires that a local comprehensive plan contain certain elements: Future Land Use Element based on: the amount of land required to accommodate anticipated growth; the projected permanent and seasonal population of the area; the character of undeveloped land; the availability of water supplies, public facilities and services; the need for redevelopment, including the renewal of blighted areas and the elimination of nonconforming uses; the discouragement of urban sprawl; the need for job creation, capital investment, and economic development that will strengthen and diversify the community's economy; and the need to modify land uses and development patterns within antiquated subdivisions. Transportation Element which addresses mobility issues. The purpose of the transportation element is to provide for a safe, convenient multimodal transportation system that is coordinated with the future land use map or map series and designed to support all elements of the comprehensive plan. Each local government’s transportation element is required to address traffic circulation including the types, locations and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares and transportation routes including bicycle and pedestrian ways. If transportation corridors are designated, the local government may then adopt a transportation corridor management ordinance. The element must also contain a map or map series that depicts the existing and proposed features and coordinated with the future land use map. General Sanitary Sewer, Solid Waste, Drainage, Potable Water, and Natural Groundwater Aquifer Recharge Element correlated to guidelines for future land use and indicating ways to provide for future potable water, drainage, sanitary sewer, solid waste, and aquifer recharge protection requirements for the area. The element must specifically address water supply by demonstrating consistency with the regional water supply plan. Conservation Element prescribing the conservation, use, and protection of natural resources in the area, including: air water water recharge areas wet- lands waterwells estuarine marshes soils beaches shores flood plains rivers bays lakes harbors forests fisheries and wildlife marine habitat minerals and other natural and environmental resources including factors that effect energy conservation. The element must specifically assess the community’s current and projected water needs and sources based on the demands for industrial, agricultural and potable water use and analyze the quality and quantity available to meet those demands. Recreation & Open Space Element indicating a comprehensive system of public and private sites for recreation, including, but not limited to, natural reservations, parks and playgrounds, parkways, beaches and public access to beaches, open spaces, and other recreational facilities. Housing Element consisting of standards, plans, and principles to be followed in: the provision of housing for all current and antici- pated future residents of the jurisdiction; the elimination of substandard dwelling conditions; the structural and aesthetic improvement of existing housing; the provision of adequate sites for future housing, including housing for low-income, very low income, and moderate-income families, mobile homes, and group home facilities and foster care facilities, with supporting infrastructure and public facilities; the provision for relocation housing and identification of historically significant and other housing for purposes of conservation, rehabilitation, or replacement; the formulation of housing implementation pro- grams; the creation or preservation of affordable housing to minimize the need for additional local services and avoid the concentration of affordable housing units only in specific areas of the jurisdiction. Coastal Management Element is required for coastal counties and municipalities within their boundaries. The element must establish policies that: maintain, restore, and enhance the overall quality of the coastal zone environment; preserve the continued existence of viable populations of all species of wildlife and marine life; protect the orderly and balanced utilization and preservation of all living and nonliving coastal zone resources; avoid irreversible and irretrievable loss of coastal zone resources; use ecological planning principles and assumptions to be used in the determination of suitability and extent of permitted development; limit public expenditures that subsidize development in high-hazard coastal areas; protect human life against the effects of natural dis- asters; direct the orderly development, maintenance, and use of ports; preservation of historic and archaeological resources. Capital Improvement Element is designed to consider the need for and the location of public facilities. The element must: outline principles for construction, extension, or in- crease in capacity of public facilities and principles for correcting existing public facility deficiencies; estimate public facility costs, including a delineation of when facilities will be needed, the general location of the facilities, and projected revenue sources to fund the facilities; provide standards to ensure the availability of pub- lic facilities and the adequacy of those facilities to meet established acceptable levels of service; provide a schedule of capital improvements which includes any publicly funded projects of federal, state, or local government, and which may include privately funded projects for which the local government has no fiscal responsibility. The schedule must include transportation improvements included in the applicable metropolitan planning organization’s transportation improvement program. Intergovernmental Coordination Element shows the relationships and states the principles and guidelines to be used in coordinating with the plans of school boards, regional water supply authorities, and with the plans of adjacent municipalities, the county, adjacent counties, or the region.
  • What does the comprehensive planning process look like?
    Updating the Comprehensive Plan -- The Evaluation, Appraisal and Review (“EAR”) process Each local government shall determine at least every seven years whether plan amendments are necessary to reflect changes in state requirements since the last update of the comprehensive plan and notify the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which is the agency with jurisdiction over the Community Planning Act, by letter on its determination. If the local government determines that such amendments are necessary, then the plan amendments will be prepared and transmitted to DEO within one year of the determination. If the local government fails to either timely notify DEO of its determination to update the comprehensive plan or to transmit such update amendments, it may not amend its comprehensive plan until it complies with these
  • Is this final once the Council votes on December 14th?
    No. The law requires several more steps to be completed before the Comprehensive Plan is officially amended. December 14th is what’s called the “first reading” of the ordinance. If it passes on first reading on December 14th, the proposed amendment is “transmitted” to the “reviewing agencies” which include, for example, South Florida Water Management District and Miami-Dade County. Reviewing agencies have 30 days to return comments to the Village. The Village has 180 days from receipt of the comments to hold the second public hearing, or “second reading,” and final vote. Within 10 days of this hearing, also known as “adoption,” the Village must transmit the adopted amendment package to the State. Within 5 days of receipt, the State must determine if the adopted amendment package is complete. The amendment becomes final after 31 days of the determination of completeness by the State, if not challenged by law.
  • What does the law require the Village to do with respect to public participation in the process?
    The law states: “It is the intent of the Legislature that the public participate in the comprehensive planning process to the fullest extent possible. Towards this end, local planning agencies and local governmental units are directed to adopt procedures designed to provide effective public participation in the comprehensive planning process and to provide real property owners with notice of all official actions which will regulate the use of their property. The provisions and procedures required in this act are set out as the minimum requirements towards this end….During consideration of the proposed plan or amendments thereto by the local planning agency or by the local governing body, the procedures shall provide for broad dissemination of the proposals and alternatives, opportunity for written comments, public hearings as provided herein, provisions for open discussion, communications programs, information services, and consideration of and response to public comments."
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