(This story, in slightly different form, originally appeared in Incisive Media’s Daily Business Review.)
MIAMI-The city’s proposed zoning code overhaul, dubbed Miami 21, is on life support after commissioners voted against it Thursday night. Outgoing Mayor Manny Diaz had called the unusual August meeting to debate and vote on the measure.
After a public hearing that stretched into the night, the city’s mayoral candidates, commission chairman Joe Sanchez and commissioner Tomas Regalado, voted against the controversial plan on its first reading. Commissioners Marc Sarnoff and Michelle Spence-Jones voted in favor. Commissioner Angel Gonzalez was absent.
The code overhaul, which has been in the works for four years, would have changed density, setback and building height rules; give the city’s planning director more control over permitting; and potentially increase developer’s impact fees. Miami 21 backers said the existing zoning code is outdated and has led to neighborhoods with incompatible buildings.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Diaz said he was disappointed with the outcome. While Miami 21, in the same form, cannot be brought back for another vote, Diaz could still introduce similar legislation before he leaves office.
“Regrettably, Miami’s residents will continue to be exposed to the monthly victories of the special interests that place their particular projects over the public good,” Diaz said. “Individual properties will continue to be rezoned without regard to their neighborhood context or their place in the fabric of the city.”