What are the required setbacks for a single family home and accessory structures?

Generally the setbacks for single family homes are as follows:

Front - 20 feet

Interior side - A side yard must have a minimum of 7'-6"; however, the sum of the two side yards shall be 25% of the lot width, not to exceed 50'-0". When an existing Building has a minimum 5'-0" side yard setback, the setback of new construction in connection with the existing Building may be allowed to follow the existing building line. The maintenance of the minimum required side yard setback shall apply to the linear extension of a single story building or the construction of a second floor addition to existing single family buildings

Side facing a street (for corner properties, usually the long side of the lot) - 15 feet.

Rear - 15% of the Lot Depth, with a minimum of 20 feet and a maximum of 50 feet.

Accessory Structures, such as gazebos, cabanas, etc., which are not part of the main building may be constructed in the rear yard as long as they maintain a 7'-6" setback from the side and rear property line.

For more information and additional regulations, please contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.

How high can a fence be around a property and what kind?

Front - Five (5) feet maximum; however, the height may be increased up to a maximum total height of seven (7) feet if the fence, wall or gate is set back from the front property line. Height may be increased one (1) foot for every two (2) feet of setback.

Required Rear or Side Yard - Seven (7) feet maximum, unless such yard abuts a public right of way, waterway or golf course, the maximum height shall not exceed five (5) feet.

Ornamental fixtures or lamps may be placed on walls or fences when they are adjacent to a public street, alley, golf course or waterway. The height of the fixtures or lamps shall not exceed the required fence or wall height by more than two feet.

Generally chain link fences are not allowed in the front, side facing a street or rear on a waterway. Barbed wire or materials of similar nature are prohibited in all areas of Miami Beach except for the Light Industrial District.

For more information and additional regulations, please contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.

What are the required setbacks for a pool and pool deck for a single family home?

Pools and pool decks may only occupy a required rear or side yard and the setbacks are as follows:

Rear - 7'-6" to water's edge of pool, 6'-0" to swimming pool deck.

Interior side - 9'-0" to water's edge of pool, 7'-6" to swimming pool deck.

Side facing a street - 10'-0" in Single Family Districts and 15'-0" in all other Districts from the property line to the swimming pool, deck or screen enclosure.

For more information and additional regulations, please contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.

What is F.A.R. (Floor Area Ratio) and how many units can I build in a typical multi-family district?

The City of Miami Beach controls the bulk of buildings through Floor Area Ratios. These ratios change depending on the zoning district and lot area. Floor Area Ratio (F.A.R.) is the defined as the total gross area of a building on any lot divided by the area of the lot. The F.A.R. expresses the mathematical relation between volume of building and size of land.

To determine the approximate number of dwelling units that can be built on a lot, several factors must be considered. The Zoning District of the property and lot area determines the F.A.R. for the property. The average unit size and the amount of common areas in the building also affect the total number of units.

For example - a lot in the RM-1 District has an area of 15,000 square feet. The maximum F.A.R. is 1.25. The developer has decided to market units with an average area of 1,100 square feet (the Zoning Ordinance requires that units average a minimum of 800 sq. ft. or higher). The developer's architect has determined that the building will have 85% of the total gross area devoted for residential units. The other 15% of the total area is reserved for lobbies, hallways, stairs, elevators, mechanical rooms, plumbing and electrical chases, etc.

The following formula, based on the above information, determines the maximum number of units for this hypothetical example:

Lot area (15,000) X F.A.R. (1.25) = 18,750 square feet (gross building area)

Gross building area (18,750) - common/ mech. elements(15%) = 15,937 square feet (net unit area)

Net unit area (15,937) average unit size (1,100) = 14 units on the site.

This was just a hypothetical example. Other factors such as parking, height restrictions and the way the architect designs the building may affect the total number units.

What is the parking requirement for a new apartment unit, retail space, or office and what is the minimum amount of on-site parking that must be provided for each?

New apartment buildings must provide 1.5 parking spaces per unit. Parking must be provided on-site or within 500 feet of the site; the remaining parking spaces may be satisfied by the payment of a Parking Impact Fee.

New retail space must provide one parking space per 300 square feet of floor area and office space requires one parking space per 400 square feet of floor area. Parking spaces must be provided on-site or within 500 feet of the site.

What is a Parking Impact Fee?

A parking Impact Fee may be paid to the City of Miami Beach in lieu of providing required parking on-site, or within 1200 feet of the Site in the Miami Beach Architectural District or otherwise within 500 feet of the Site, only in the following instances:

1. New construction of commercial or residential development and commercial or Residential additions to existing buildings whether attached or detached from the main structure within the Miami Beach Architectural District or a Local Historic District.

2. When an alteration or rehabilitation within an existing Structure results in an increased parking requirement.

3. New construction of 1,000 square feet or less, or additions of 1,000 square feet or less to existing buildings whether attached or detached from the main structure may fully satisfy the parking requirement by participation in the Parking Impact Fee Program.

4. The creation or expansion of an Outdoor Cafe when created as part of new construction or outside the Architectural District or a Local Historic District.

What is the difference between a temporary and a provisional parking lot?

Temporary parking lots are allowed as Conditional Uses in most multi-family residential districts and are permitted in any commercial District.   A temporary parking lot must have a minimum one inch asphalt over a four inch limerock base. They must have a landscape strip, five feet wide, with trees, hedge and ground cover. Temporary parking lots may operate for a maximum of three years; however, an applicant may request a two year extension from the Planning Board, allowing the lot to be operated for a total of five years.

Provisional parking lots are allowed in Commercial Districts, the MXE, Mixed Use Entertainment District and the Light Industrial District.   Provisional parking lots must be brought to grade with a dust free surface of no less than two inches of crushed rock. They must have a landscape strip, 2.5 feet wide with a hedge and ground cover. Provisional lots may operate for a maximum of one year; the applicant may request one six month extension of time from the Planning and Zoning Director, allowing the lot to be operated for a total of one and half years.

Can I rezone my property?

An application for a zoning ordinance amendment which would change the actual zoning map designation of a parcel or parcels of land or the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan may be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Director by owners of a majority of Lot Frontage in the area which is the subject of the proposed change, provided that the area shall contain not less than four hundred (400) feet of Lot Frontage on one (1) public Street or a parcel of not less than eighty thousand (80,000) square feet. The Comprehensive Plan requires any Future Land Use may change or any rezoning shall not increase the overall permitted density on the site, unless a commensurate decrease in density is achieved elsewhere in the City.

Can I operate a business in my home, what about a business on the street or beach?

You cannot be licensed by the City of Miami Beach to operate a business from your residence. A business may only be licensed from a commercial space. Additionally, a person may not operate a business on the street. All businesses in Miami Beach must be operated from an enclosed permanent building. However, beach concessions are granted by the City; for more information, contact the Purchasing Division at (305) 673-7490.

Do I need a permit to paint my house?

Yes. The painting of 75% of a Building or Structure shall be in one of the colors on the Miami Beach Facade Review Color Chart or a lighter shade of one of the colors on the Color Chart; colors not on the Color Chart may be utilized only for purposes of emphasizing architectural elements of a Building. Please contact the Building Department at (305) 673-7610 for permit information. For information regarding the Color Chart contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.

How big a sign may I put up for my storefront business?

In commercial districts, each storefront business is generally allowed one sign per street frontage; corner buildings are eligible for two signs. The size of the sign is limited to 20 square feet for the first 25 feet of linear frontage of the store. One may add one square foot of sign area for every three feet of additional frontage over 25 feet up to a maximum of 30 square feet of sign area.

For more information and additional regulations, please contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.

Can I split my property into two or more parcels?

The Planning and Zoning Director must review and approve all divisions of lot or lot-splits even if the lots have separate folio numbers. If a lot split proposal does not meet the minimum review criteria, the request must be heard by the Planning Board. For more information and additional regulations, please contact the Planning Department at (305) 673-7550.