City of Miami board checks out Publix, rings up zoning code breaks
By Jacquelyn Weiner
Downtown's Omni area is one step closer to getting its first major grocery store.
A request to override two elements of the City of Miami's zoning code in designs for a Publix at 1776 Biscayne Blvd. was approved 8-1 last week by the city's Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board, said Luciana Gonzalez, assistant to the Planning Department director.
This allows the Publix to be built with no setback from the public right-of-way, which includes the street and sidewalk, and less than the required amount of green space.
The city's zoning code requires a 10-foot setback from city property and at least 8,309 square feet of green space.
The Biscayne Publix plans include no setbacks at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast Second Court. Proposed green space measures 5,373 square feet — 2,936 less than what's required.
Last week's variance approval marked another step toward the go-ahead for construction.
"Now that variance was approved by the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board, the Class II Special Permit will be processed," Ms. Gonzalez wrote in an e-mail. "A Final Decision document will be issued, along with any applicable conditions."
Plans for the 1776 Biscayne Publix include 273,070 square feet of commercial retail, including the Publix and "neighborhood retail space," and "two elevated parking levels above the ground level store that will provide 276 parking spaces," according to a city summary of design plans.
The store is to face Biscayne Boulevard, bordered by Northeast 17th Terrace, 18th Street and Second Court.
From Publix's end, there are "no new updates to report at this time," spokeswoman Kim Jaegar wrote in an e-mail.
The permitting process for the store started to take shape in March, when Publix applied for a class II permit from the city.
Design plans and the permit request were reviewed by the Planning Department's Urban Development Review Board in June.
If built, the 1776 Biscayne Publix would serve the growing Omni area, which has recently garnered attention surrounding a developer's plans to erect City Square, a 10-acre retail and parking project that includes two massive LED towers.
The closest Publix supermarket to the north is at 4870 Biscayne Blvd.
On the other side of the Miami River, the rapidly growing supermarket chain has successfully opened three Brickell-area stores within blocks of each other.