What to expect from Miami-Dade's proposed changes to zoning laws
Miami-Dade County has introduced two ordinances aimed at tackling the colossal housing crisis.
As housing prices continue to rise, county leaders have zeroed in on zoning laws, in order to increase more affordable housing options for residents.
County commissioners approved a preliminary vote on one proposal that would permit homeowners to rent out efficiency apartments on their own properties.
Doug Hanks, a Miami Herald reporter who covers the county, said the legislation received broad support.
"To a certain extent, it would legalize something that's already happening," Hanks said on WLRN's South Florida Roundup . "This would, at least, give the possibility it would comply and also allow people who've been thinking about it to go ahead and have a path to do it legally."
Some county residents have already been building extra units or converting parts of their property into accessory dwelling units — that includes granny flats, in-law quarters and efficiencies — for rental.
Not only is this an opportunity for people to find a place to live, but it also allows homeowners to make a little more income.
This practice does not comply with current zoning regulations. In this case, the new proposal would only apply to properties in the unincorporated municipal services area — UMSA for short — of the county. The city of Miami sets its own housing regulations.
"Miami already has very similar rules in place that obviously has not made a dent in that city's affordable housing problem, so we should probably manage expectations on what kind of solution this is, but it would be a major, major change in county zoning," Hanks said.
Miami-Dade County commissioners also passed a rapid transit zoning law that would allow mid-rise housing to be built near public transit routes.
"This one actually passed and it was a huge, huge fight. Now, it did get watered down quite a bit, which makes it harder to explain, but the concept has survived intact," Hanks said.
The county wants to expand rules to the city of Miami that would allow developers to build more around transit rules. Instead of imposing the rules, Miami-Dade County gave the city two years to create its own rules that would encourage more residential construction.