Proposed overlay district by FIU BBC could allow for further housing development

North Miami city officials are currently awaiting approval from the state for an overlay district that would allow further housing development on land across from the Sole Mia project and near FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus.

The proposed area, known as the Special Development and Transit Overlay District, would be bounded by Northeast 151 Street to the north, Northeast 18th Avenue to the west, the Florida East Coast Railway, which runs close to Biscayne Boulevard, to the east, andNortheast 146th Street to the south.

City Planner Debbie Love said the district would be part of a 2003 designated area known as the Regional Activity Center, which encompasses the Sole Mia Project, FIU and the Oleta River State Recreational Park.

The city approved the development of 5,000 housing units in the Sole Mia Project, and is hoping to be allowed to approve another 2,000 in the SDTOD.

“There are a lot of benefits that have already occurred from having that Regional Activity Center, and now by finishing to allow additional residential and commercial uses in the SDTOD, it provides more opportunities for the residential units, for new commercial activity and the economic stability and viability of the city,” Love said.

The council unanimously approved the item last month during the first hearing.

The council report put forth by Planning, Zoning, and Development Director Tanya Wilson-Sejour had suggested 125 maximum dwelling units per acre and a maximum height of 110 feet and 150 feet with incentives. However, after suggestions from a developer, the council approved 150 dwelling units per acre and a maximum height of 200 feet.

Love said she expected a response from the state early next month. If approved, the city will hold a second hearing to see if the council will approve the ordinance.

Though Center Court Apartments already exists in the proposed SDTOD, those residential units will not be considered because they predate the RAC.

City Manager Larry Spring said the development occurring in the RAC would be to the benefit of North Miami residents, visitors and FIU students.

“I fully expect the students to take advantage,” he said.