Tag Archives: parking

In the face of growing opposition, Sunset Harbour developer pulls project

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Proposed mixed use development on Purdy.

Save Miami Beach targets Sunset Harbour project

Save Miami Beach targets Sunset Harbour project

Neighbors objected to the height variance — 90 feet instead of 50.

Beach Towing tried to derail the parking garage — or extract more than a $1 million.

This week, Deco Capital and developer Bradley Colmer withdrew their application for the Residences at Sunset Harbour, a retail, parking and luxury condo project proposed to be built across from Maurice Gibb Park on Purdy Avenue.

In a letter to the city, Colmer said he’ll return with a project within the existing height regularions.

Belle Isle loading zone spaces cut back, time limits extended

Last week, Miami Beach began enforcing 30-minute time limits on 18 parking spaces around the Belle Isle that were designated as loading zones during the day for workers.

The Belle Isle Residents Association had asked for the loading zone spaces to try to eliminate the gridlock around Island Avenue caused by workers unable to properly park vehicles during weekdays

After a week of enforcing the new rules, a couple of things became clear. Many spaces weren’t being used, in part because the 30-minute time period appeared to not be long enough, said Belle Isle Residents Association President Scott Diffenderfer.

Even though the enforcement began after a significant warning period, some people were surprised when they were ticketed and towed.

At the end of last week, Diffenderfer said, BIRA asked the parking department to trim the number of designated spaces and increase the maximum parking time allowed.

Earlier this week, Miami Beach cut the number of loading zone spaces from 18 to 9, and doubled the time allowed, from 30 minutes to an hour.

“The city is being very cooperative with us,” he said. “We are responding to people. We are listening.”

How to get Miami Beach discount on new ParkMobile app

The city of Miami Beach is launching a new parking app for iPhone and Android that will enable you to park at metered spaces and in city garages without worrying about cash; they bill directly to a credit card.

The app, called ParkMobile, is a free download, and city residents who properly register the app save money on their parking.  Registering requires a trip to the city parking office. Here’s the lowdown, from the city website:

Miami Beach residents will enjoy the discounted hourly parking rate of $1.00 per hour in South Beach (south of Dade Blvd/23rd Street) in lieu of the retail meter hourly rate of $1.75. This equates to a 43% discount!

Additionally, ParkMobile has agreed to waive transactional fees for qualifying Miami Beach residents. Miami Beach residents, who are actively participating in one the City’s residential parking permit programs, are automatically pre-qualified for the resident parking rate discount/transaction fee waiver when they enroll with ParkMobile.  Just download the app and start parking!

In order to enjoy the parking rate discount and transaction fee waiver residents who are NOT currently participating in any of the City’s residential parking permit programs, will need to register at the City of Miami Beach Customer Service Center located at 1755 Meridian Avenue, Suite 100, Miami Beach, Florida and provide the following information:

• Valid Photo ID – Issued by local, state, or federal agency (driver’s license, passport)

• Valid Vehicle Registration – vehicle registration belonging to the person applying for the exemption. If the vehicle is registered to a different person, the resident must provide proof of insurance.

• Valid Proof of Miami Beach Residency – one (1) of the following items must be provided at the time of registration: monthly bill/statement with the resident’s name and address. Current statement must have been mailed within the last 30 days.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Internet/electronic bills are not acceptable proof of residency.

o   Utility bill (electric, phone, gas, cable)
o   Mobile phone carrier statement
o   Bank statement
o   Credit card statement (credit card number must be obstructed)
o   Vehicle insurance statement
o   Mortgage statement
o   Property tax statement (last one received)

Once registered, ParkMobile will automatically update your ParkMobile account status and you may start enjoying your discounted parking rate and ParkMobile fee waiver.

Miami Beach to unveil phone app for parking next week

The city of Miami Beach is finally replacing the failed iPark system with a smartphone parking app that will allow residents to pay at metered spaces and in city garages at a substantial discount.

The free test period starts Monday, May 12, and continues until May 25. During the time, transaction fees for the app, called ParkMobile, will be waived. You can download it to your iPhone or Android for free.

Once downloaded, program the app with your Miami Beach address and a credit card for payment. When the trial period ends, Miami Beach residents who register the app with the city of Miami Beach parking department will get a 43 percent discount if they use the app, paying $1 an hour instead of $1.75 hourly.

ParkMobile is similar to Pay-by-Phone, the parking app used by the city of Miami and Coral Gables and South Miami.  Looks while we’ll need two parking apps as we travel and park in different cities.

The app replaces the white iPark devices the city made available to Beach residents. Those devices, which were battery powered, failed, as did the company behind them.



17th Street hotel developer to meet with Belle Isle Residents Association

The developers of a Marriott Residence Inn proposed to be built on a sliver of land between 17th Street and the Collins Canal will present plans to members of the Belle Isle Residents Association on Thursday, April 4.

The 116-room hotel is proposed by the Finvarb Group, developer and owner of at least seven Marriott properties across the country, included the Marriott Courtyard on Washington Avenue in South Beach.

The land where the hotel would be built, north of 17th Street between Alton Road and West Avenue, is owned by the Miami Beach Housing Authority. Finvarb has negotiated to buy it, assuming the hotel project is approved by the city.

On March 13, the Miami Beach City Commission relaxed parking requirements for small hotels in the city’s historic district, and added the 17th Street parking to the the more generous rules. That controversial decision was opposed by the Belle Isle Residents Association and the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association.

At the meeting BIRA representatives complained that the city Parking and Transportation Committee was not asked to review the parking policy change, and the hotel project had not been presented to Belle Isle homeowners. Michael Larkin, the lawyer representing Finvarb, said there had been a meeting scheduled with Belle Isle but it was cancelled because of a death in the Finvarb family.

The project still must be approved by the Miami Beach Planning Board.

Miami Beach may reduce parking for hotels, with special rule for project 17th Street and West Avenue

Miami Beach commissioners are scheduled to vote Wednesday on new parking rules that would reduce the number of parking spaces required for hotels in historic districts.

The proposed change, as approved by the city Planning Board, would only apply to the retention of historic buildings — with an exception specifically designed to enable the construction of a new hotel on the north side of 17th Street and West Avenue.

What’s so special about this hotel? A good question for the city commission to answer. Because the parking rules on the agenda for Wednesday seem to be written with that one project in mind.

Proposed Residence Inn site north of 17th Street

Proposed Residence Inn site north of 17th Street

Some background: The Miami Beach Housing Authority owns the pie-shaped sliver of land south of the Collins Canal and just east of the proposed West Avenue bridge, which would extend West Avenue north across 17th Street, the canal and  Dade Boulevard, linking with the Sunset Harbour neighborhood.

The Housing Authority has a contract to sell the land to the Finvarb Group — a company headed by Robert Finvarb that owns and operates a slew of Marriotts in South Florida and across the country.

Finvarb has proposed building a five-story Residence Inn by Marriott on the property.  Designed by architect Kobi Karp, it would have five floors, 116 rooms and only 66 parking spaces in a mechanical garage.

The land sale is contingent on the approval of the hotel project.
And the hotel project can’t go forward without the change in the city’s parking rules.

The developers have repeatedly asked the Planning Board to defer consideration of the hotel because the proposed number of parking spaces assumes the city will lessen parking requirements.

And the parking ordinance analysis the city will vote on Wednesday actually singles out the Finvarb project to be exempted from the requirement that the reduction be “only applicable to retention of historic buildings.”

There are areas where the parking reduction won’t apply at all, because of concerns about parking shortages and traffic congestion. One is the neighborhood south of Fifth Street. Another is the West Avenue corridor, which they city contends ends at the doorstep of the Finvarb property — at West Avenue and 17th Street.

The Housing Authority/Finvarb property is across the street from the West Avenue corridor (and you could argue, that when the West Avenue bridge is built, it will be on the corridor.

Nevertheless, specific  language in the staff recommendation to the city commission mentions Finvarb and this exception to the rule: the proposed hotel would get the .5 space per unit break as long as the hotel agrees it will not have a restaurant, pool, bar or special events open to the public.

The Residence Inn’s restaurant and pool will only be used by hotel guests.

The Belle Isle Residents Association, the West Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Association and and Miami Beach United have opposed the new parking rule, and the new hotel. They argue that 17th Street between Alton Road and West Avenue is one of the city’s most congested areas, and adding the hotel — in fact, creating special rules to accommodate the hotel — just makes no sense.

In a letter sent Monday to the Miami Beach mayor and commissioners, Belle Isle Residents Association President Scott Diffenderfer asked that a decision on the parking rule be deferred so the city’s Transportation and Parking Committee could review it.

Diffenderfer is a committee member, and noted that the group typically reviews ordinances that would change parking requirements.

“I have been a member for five years and I am insulted that an amendment as important and controversial as this has not been presented to us,” he wrote. “There is clearly a breakdown in the process.”

The Belle Isle residents group has been seeking a presentation from zoning lawyer Michael Larkin for months. Larkin has met with selected island residents, but not in an open meeting that anyone could attend.

“Many residents have expressed outrage that the City would even consider reducing parking requirements to allow this type of development on that tiny piece of property which is mere feet away from 17th Street and Alton Road – one of the most congested and dysfunctional intersections in our city,” Diffenderfer said in his letter to the city commission.

Panther Coffee, Ice Box, Emack & Bolio among signed tenants at new Sunset Harbour garage

Rendering of the Shops at Sunset Harbour.

If you’ve driven down Purdy lately, you’ve noticed that the Sunset Harbour parking garage and shops look nearly finished. The city of Miami Beach says the garage could open within the next week or two.

What you can’t see is the list of retail tenants. Til now.

Floor plan with tenants at Shops at Sunset Harbour.

So far, they include Ice Box Cafe (trying to find out if it is a new location or a move from off Lincoln Road), Panther Coffee (a great spot in Midtown),  Emack and Boilio’s (a New England-based high-end ice cream shop), Tequitzlan Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, Fratelli In Toufala, True Loaf Bakery, Frankie Boutique, Sunset Clothing Co and Thread Count.

In filling the remaining spaces,  “we will continue to cherry-pick each tenant, so that the area continues to develop as an authentic, interesting, trendy, mix of boutiques, shops and restaurants for locals to live, play, shop and dine,” said Melissa Dunn, the broker with Scott Robins Companies.

Ice Box has been a fixture on Michigan Avenue off Lincoln Road for nearly a decade, and opened a branch at Miami International Airport last year.

Emack & Bolio’s started in Boston in 1975 and now has stores in four states, with three locations in Florida — on Vanderbilt Beach near Naples, at Hawks Cay Resort in the Keys, and at Hard Rock in Orlando.

The multi-level garage has 450 parking spaces and 30,000 square feet of retail on the sidewalk level. The garage should have a temporary certificate of occupancy in the next week or so, accounting to city spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez.

Work on the retail spaces has began on an individual tenant basis, Dunn says.

Miami Beach to refund towing fees, promises to work with Venetian Isle homeowners

Miami Beach has pledged to refund towing fees to homeowners whose cars vanished during a weekend crackdown on Venetian Islands parking, the city’s parking director says.

The ticketing and towing of cars on DiLido and Rivo Alto islands grew out of an anonymous complaint to Miami Beach’s parking hotline, city parking director Saul Frances said in an email to Greg Carney, president of the Venetian Islands Homeowner Association.

The towed and ticketed vehicles were parked in on the road alongside homes on little traveled island streets. But someone had complained about a car partially blocking a driveway, Frances said.

The widespread enforcement followed.

Frances said the normal procedure would be to issue warnings, not tow.

“Unfortunately, through a miscommunication between our dispatch and the officer, the officer proceeded to cite/tow seven vehicles from West Rivo Alto Drive this past Saturday,” Frances wrote. “Shortly thereafter, we recognized our mistake and two of the seven vehicles were released that same day and the citations were retrieved and will be dismissed. We are in the process of retrieving the information of the other five vehicles in order to process refunds and dismiss those citations.”

Frances apologized for the towing.

“Unfortunately, this broke down this past Saturday during one of the service calls leading to the unfortunate towing of those vehicles,” he said.  “We apologize for any inconvenience to those affected by this unfortunate incident.”

Frances said that reports from homeowners — suggesting that as many as 20 cars on Rivo Alto and DiLido were ticketed and towed — were exaggerated. And he said the action was triggered by complaints from island residents.

“We understand the residents’ frustration on this matter; however, please know that our parking enforcement hotline is receiving service calls from residents on the Venetian Isles requesting parking enforcement to take action in the form of issuing citations and towing vehicles.

“In fact, our hotline received a complaint call later in the day this past Saturday regarding a similar complaint of vehicles obstructing traffic on Rivo Alto and San Marino. As per the established protocol, our process worked well and the officer issued 21 warnings. There were no citations issued and none of these vehicles were towed.”

Carney, the homeowner association president, said the city still needs to apply a distinction between thoroughfares such as Venetian Way and Alton Road and residential streets such as those on the Venetian islands.

“Once again our streets are not highways,” he wrote Frances in an email. “No one drives our streets trying to get anywhere other than one of our residences.  WE ARE ISLANDS.  The only way on or off is the CAUSEWAY, not one of our DRIVES or TERRACES.  I really don’t think it reasonable to assume that when the ordinance talks about limitations on parking on HIGHWAYS it meant them to apply to our local streets.

“The only HIGHWAY on our islands is the CAUSEWAY. If someone parks their vehicle on one of the bridges or spoil islands, by all means ticket or tow them. Then they are parking in the travel lane of a HIGHWAY, but not when they are on one of our streets.”

Carney said the city needs to be mindful that most cars in the area belong to residents or workers at residents homes. He said the city should consider creating a parking decal to identify the vehicles of island residents.

“As far as the level of aggressiveness to be applied in ticketing and towing on our islands goes, our position is that the residents’ issues should be of overriding importance.  These islands are our homes.  We must park here.  Our guests must park here.  Workers we employ on our properties must park here.  At the same time, we need to be able to navigate our streets and the City needs to be able to provide emergency services.”

Belle Isle parking to get tighter; how to get guest parking tags as 9 Island Avenue construction begins

Belle Isle residential parking is Zone 14

Construction is expected to begin Monday on the lobby level parking deck at 9 Island Avenue, Belle Isle’s largest condo, and the result will be a tighter parking situation for everyone who lives on the island.

9 Island residents have been told that guests can’t valet park at the building until the work concludes. The project – which includes the parking decks and pool deck – is supposed to last a year.

Why the parking problem? As construction displaces unit owners from spaces, they will be diverted to spaces where the 9 Island valets used to park visitors. And that means visitors to the 274-unit condo must park in residential spaces around Belle Isle Park.

To park in a residential space, you need a residential permit on weekends and at night. Only on weekdays, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., can someone without a permit park in a residential space around Belle Isle Park. And trust us, most weekdays those spots are filled. The Miami Beach ticket brigade is pretty active in enforcing the residential zone.

So if you live in 9 Island and want a guest to visit you without being ticketed or towed, take a trip to the Miami Beach Parking Department, 1755 Meridian Ave., where you can buy hang tags good for one use.

The parking office is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Expect to wait about a half hour to be served.

Tags cost $1.07 each, and you can buy 10 of them a month. You can buy three months worth at a time, and each licensed driver in your condo is entitled to that quota.

To buy them, you will need to show a vehicle registration with your Belle Isle address, a driver license, and some kind of bill (no more than 30 days old) from your Belle Isle address. It can’t be a web-based printout.

Keeping parties in check on the Venetian Islands

The party house.

It’s a problem that goes back years on South Beach, especially on the Venetian Islands and Sunset Islands — the neighborhood house that regularly gets used for huge parties, maybe for hire, maybe not, but certainly a neighborhood headache.

And oh so hard to prove.

Creating attention these days is a house on the north end of Di Lido Island, which island residents complain is being used as a base for parties on a boat several nights a week, according to an email circulated by the Venetian Island Homeowners Association.

From VIHA president Greg Carney:

Recently, there have been complaints by the neighbors about activities going on at a house on the north side of West Di Lido Drive.  As best as can be determined, the occupant is renting the property.  He has a large boat which he takes out with large numbers of “guests” on most Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.  He advertises for “guests” via the Internet (e.g., via Facebook) and suggests they help out with “gas money” or other incidentals but does not explicitly solicit fees on the Internet.  When the “guests” arrive, they typically park up and down the street and make it difficult for the residents to find on street parking.

The neighbors have made a number of complaints to the City about this situation.  The City has not been able to prove that this Party House is being used for commercial purposes, but they do respond to complaints about parking.

Compounding the problem, Carney says, is the fact that lots of island homeowners have parties — and lots of people park along the narrow streets on Di Lido and other Venetian islands when private driveways overflow. When code enforcement gets called to ticket people for parking where they shouldn’t, EVERYBODY gets ticketed — including folks who have nothing to do with the party.

Carney, again:

Many of us will have a party at our home several times a year, so we need to be careful to not go overboard on the enforcement end.  And when you are having a party, be considerate of your neighbors (maybe invite them) and when they have a party, cut them some slack.  However, some situations seem beyond reason (three parties a week, every week seems excessive).  I have only cited the situation I know of on West Di Lido, but I suspect there may be similar ones elsewhere.

Party House problems go back years on the islands. Back There