Coral Gables Grapples with Workforce Housing Zoning Regulations

The Coral Gables City Commission recently convened to discuss changes to the city’s zoning regulations concerning workforce housing. Among the topics were amendments to align with Miami-Dade County’s mandate for an expedited review process for workforce housing owned, financed, or operated by public entities, and the potential impact of such changes on the city’s control over its properties. The discussion also encompassed the inclusion of city facilities within the purview of workforce housing regulations and the compliance of non-city government facilities with the comprehensive plan.

The commission tackled the ordinance providing for text amendments to the city’s zoning code as it relates to workforce housing. The amendments aimed to include facilities for workforce housing owned, financed, or operated by the city, county, or other public governmental entities, in accordance with the code of Miami-Dade County. The commission’s discussion centered on ensuring these text amendments satisfied the county requirements while preserving the city’s decision-making authority.

Concerns were raised about future scenarios where the city might face financial constraints, and the possibility that developers could offer substantial sums for such conversions. Questions about the practical implications of the amendments were raised, with some suggesting a need for further study to fully grasp the potential outcomes.

Further deliberation focused on the requirement for all facilities, including non-city government properties, to comply with both zoning regulations and the comprehensive plan. The commission examined the potential effects of the proposed regulations on city-owned facilities, such as fire stations and youth centers. Concerns about loopholes and the protection of the city’s valuable properties were voiced, leading to a consensus on moving forward with the proposed regulations. However, the commissioners also called for amendments related to zoning requirements and a deeper understanding of the implications before granting final approval.

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Additionally, a public hearing was held regarding an ordinance amendment to the city’s official zoning code concerning window and hurricane shutter closures. The proposed regulation aimed to restrict the use of shutters and enclosures to the hurricane season, from June 1st to November 30th, and introduce a 30-day warning for closures beyond this period. This sparked a debate among board members about the balance between security concerns and aesthetic considerations. Although the public comment period did not yield any remarks from residents, the board contemplated a recommendation to the commission that would reflect the security concerns debated.

In a separate agenda item, the board discussed and approved a deferral request for a project in the southern downtown area. The representative for the applicant cited ongoing discussions with single-family homeowners and the significance of a land use amendment request as reasons for the deferral. The next meeting date to review this project was set for March 13, 2024.

The commission also addressed the need for better communication within the board regarding upcoming projects and neighborhood meetings. There was a consensus on the recommendation to include board members in the notification process. This agreement was reached informally and did not require an official vote.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Vince C. Lago
City Council Officials:
Rhonda Anderson, Kirk R. Menendez, Melissa Castro, Ariel Fernandez

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