Aventura to consider limiting height of buildings on Biscayne Boulevard
By Claudio Mendonça
Aventura officials will review city development limits in a workshop next week to debate reducing the maximum height of commercial buildings on Biscayne Boulevard and the surrounding area.
The proposed amendments are based on workshops during the past year relating to a report evaluating the city's comprehensive master plan.
Proposals include reducing the height of new commercial buildings from the current 20 stories to seven alongside Biscayne Boulevard and to 12, including parking, elsewhere in the city.
On the residential side, the city is considering reducing maximum density from 60 units per gross acre to 45 and diminishing height from 40 to 25 stories or 250 feet.
In the medical-office district northwest of the city, the maximum residential density allowed would be 25 units per acre.
"The whole concept is to get control of unlimited growth. We just want our residents to be able to move around town," said Mayor Susan Gottlieb. "Aventura is not against development. We just want smart and quality growth."
Some oppose a height limit.
Jeffrey Bercow, an attorney representing Turnberry Associates, a major builder in the city, said the company is concerned because it owns two underdeveloped parcels on Biscayne Boulevard.
"We understand the concern on redevelopment, but we are worried about the 20-story limitation," said Mr. Bercow. He said that with smaller buildings, multinational companies interested in moving to Aventura would look elsewhere.
"If a major employer such as Chiquita Brands International wants to relocate from Cincinnati, a seven-story building to accommodate them in Aventura can be a problem," Mr. Bercow said, mentioning that in October, Chiquita was considering moving to South Florida.
But, Ms. Gottlieb said, Aventura still has plenty of office space available for multinationals interested in settling in.
Clifford Schulman, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, said rezoning could be a liability to the city.
"Developers need more units, and these provisions could cost developers money," Mr. Schulman said.
For commissioner Zev Auerbach, a height limitation is inevitable. "The question now," he said, "is how much do we limit?"
According to the city's land-development regulation, commercial redevelopment means renewal, alteration, demolition and reconstruction of a commercially zoned structure or a change in the intensity of land use. There are also possibilities in which city officials could include conditional use in both commercial and residential developments.
"The conditional use would be the safety valve of the developer," Ms. Gottlieb said.
The city, she said, is on the right track. "We have been in the right direction with these workshops," she said. "It's been a healthy debate."
The city workshop is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday (12/14) at Aventura City Hall, 19200 W. Country Club Dr.
The provisions on height limitations, Ms. Gottlieb said, should be voted on in the city's first commission meeting in January.