Everyone had heard of zoning. Sooner or later, a developer will submit an application to rezone land near your home or business, and those with nearby homes or businesses snap to attention. Developers hire lobbyists and community advocates start advocating for neighbors.
A new use… a noise complaint… an increase in density… gets local news coverage, but typically only involves a couple parcels at any one time.
But sometimes zoning changes can affect an entire city.
Something is happening in South Miami that is affecting some of your neighbors that is soon going to affect almost anyone living in a single family home in the City of Pleasant Living. That new trend is lot-splitting and if it is isn’t happening in your neighborhood it will be soon.
Art and Jessica Davis bought their home one block off 80th St and 59th Ave ten years ago to start their family. Their abutting lots average 21,000 square feet. In the last month, developers have applied for two of the Davis’ neighboring three lots to be split into smaller lots. That’s a lot of changes in the Davis’ neighborhood, but why should you care?
Why should you care about lot splits?
Often developers are painted as the bad guys. But their goal is plain and simple: maximize profits, while meeting the MINIMUM standards of the zoning code. Developers don’t need to worry about the long-term needs of an evolving city, or the quality of life of residents.
But residents do. And residents need the help of their elected officials to ensure that development benefits the community, not just developers. Because when the developer walks away, that new development becomes ours. We’re stuck with what they’ve built. If we don’t like it, we can’t re-gift it or donate it to Goodwill.
Lot-Splitting is a big deal
Lots in excess of 20,000 square feet are under incredible pressure throughout South Miami because developers can hire land use attorneys to apply for a lot split and make profits that are unimaginable with a single lot.
Lot splitting is a big deal and the founders of South Miami recognized that safeguards needed to be built into the system.
So the City Code requires that the City Commission make a determination that any lot split
shall be compatible with the as-built character of the surrounding area, and shall not create adverse impacts on the surrounding area
This presents an interesting problem because each lot split that the City Commission allows changes the character of the surrounding area, so each lot split approval will inevitably result in more lot splits… and on and on and on until every lot in the city is split into smaller and smaller pieces.
Make your voice heard
The Davis’ and their neighbors are pleading with the City Commission to turn down the developers attempts to split the lots that surround their house. Twenty-five of their neighbors have signed a petition urging the Commission to vote NO because these lot splits are not consistent with the surrounding neighborhood. These neighbors are vehemently arguing that these lot-splits are not consistent with the reason they bought into their neighborhood and what they expected to happen in their neighborhood.
Residents should make their voice heard about lot splitting, whether for or against, and email the Mayor and the Commissioners as the decision is going to be made at the City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, December 1 at 7pm.
Vice-Mayor Robert Welsh BWelsh@southmiamifl.gov