Commissioner says senate bill could lead to demolition of historic buildings in Miami Beach


Florida Construction News staff writer

Miami Beach Commissioner Alex J. Fernandez says a bill being considered by the state legislature could pave the way for demolition of several historic buildings in Miami Beach.

Senate Bill 1346/HB1317: Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures – would create the “Resiliency and Safe Structures Act, “which would stop local governments from prohibiting, restricting, or preventing the demolition of certain structures unless necessary for public safety.”

Also, it would authorize local governments to review demolition permit applications only for a specified purpose; requiring that replacement structures be authorized to be developed in accordance with applicable development regulations; prohibiting local governments from taking certain actions regarding replacement structures, etc.

The bill passed second reading Apr. 28.

“Every local government in Florida should be on high alert today,” Fernandez wrote on Twitter. “The damaging language of HB 1317/SB 1346 has been filed as an amendment to SB 1604 . . . and there are still serious impacts should this bill become law.”

Rules would apply to buildings in coastal high-hazard areas “that fail to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s standards for new construction.” Structures deemed unsafe by local officials could also be impacted.

The bill prohibits local governments from imposing conditions — such as limitations on size or height — on the approval of structures that would be built in place of demolished buildings.

The bill exempts certain single-family homes and structures on the National Register of Historic Places – about a dozen locations in Miami Beach, including the Bandshell and Fontainebleau Hotel.

While he agrees buildings should be resilient, Fernandez says he is concerned the bill will incentivize owners of historic buildings to let their properties fall into disrepair so they will be permitted to demolish old buildings and replace them with new projects.


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