The Doral City Council unanimously approved on first reading a six-month moratorium on accepting and processing development permits – again.
The do-over vote on the evening of Aug. 23 was to address a possible defect on a public notice advertising Doral’s prior vote on a half-year moratorium on July 26, according to City Attorney Valerie Vicente.
Ordinances must be officially approved twice by an elected body before becoming law. No date was given as to when the proposed six-month moratorium would be voted on for second reading.
Doral is moving forward with a six-month pause in development applications in response to the state’s passage of the Live Local Act, which gives residential developers extra building rights on land zoned commercial, industrial, or mixed-use if at least 40% of a project’s units are set aside for workforce or affordable housing. Those projects must also be processed by administrative staff and not during a public hearing by elected officials.
Vicente told council members on July 26 that the moratorium would give the city time to amend its zoning code and “codify some reasonable processes that are important for the city’s future growth.” She also warned that developers may try to pursue legal action against the city for violating their property rights.
In a memo, Vicente spelled out the city’s plan of action, which includes:
Increase buffers between new residential uses and “surrounding incompatible industrial/commercial uses”
Specify in city’s land development code (LDC) that affordable units must be the same size and quality as market-rate units
Specify in LDC that units can’t be segregated from market-rate units.
Codify enforcement provisions of the Live Local Act, including that units designated as affordable remain so for 30 years
Implement additional environmental review processes for projects built in industrial and commercial areas “where odor, dust, noxious fumes, noise, and other pollutants and contaminants may exist.”
Create an expedited building review process for Live Local Act projects
Establish distance requirements for issuing public notice of Live Local Act projects to residents and stakeholders
Identify media outlets and social media platforms to advertise the submittal of a “qualifying development.”
Doral residents have voiced opposition over a Live Local Act application from The Apollo Companies. Plans include the construction of 623 new apartment units in five towers, between 10 and 12 stories tall, by the Costa del Sol golf course at N.W. 97th Ave. and N.W. 41st St.
“The city’s delay in processing his application in a timely manner has already caused the loss of tens of thousands of dollars,” said Joseph Goldstein, an attorney for The Apollo Companies. “At the very least, the city should let his application move forward in the city’s administrative process, My client is suffering some significant damages at this time. We would ask that you consider some form of grandfathering even if a building permit isn’t issued at the end of the process. That would at least allow us to get some work done.”
Besides Doral, the city of Weston has also moved forward with Live Local Act legislation, which, among other things would require a public hearing prior to a project’s approval.