Miami’s Return to Parking Minimums a Mystery to Housing Advocates

The city’s decision to reinstate parking requirements for housing developments will likely slow the recent boom of ‘missing middle housing’ construction.

May 11, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Cars parked at a beachfront building in Miami, Florida

Maksim Safaniuk / Miami building

While other cities are moving to eliminate minimum parking requirements, Miami recently took a step in the other direction, requiring developers to adhere once again to parking minimums and removing city planners’ ability to issue waivers for projects located near transit.

According to Henry Grabar, writing in Slate, the 4-1 vote by the City Commission happened in a “peculiar fashion” and in opposition to the planning board’s 9-2 vote to keep the parking requirement suspension in place: “There was no study, no official rationale, and no sponsor who wanted to take credit.” Now, “Each new Miami apartment will once again be required to come with 1.5 parking stalls, rounded up, whether residents want them or not. The cost of building those spaces, spread across fewer units, will wind up raising rents—if the law doesn’t kill off projects altogether.”

Whatever the reason for the Commission’s decision, Grabar writes, “The decision will likely mark the end of Miami’s boomlet of ‘missing middle’ housing—the small buildings on small lots by small developers that have begun to densify and enliven the city’s core neighborhoods—and provide a cheaper alternative to most new construction.”

“[F]or the smaller players whose projects filled in vacant lots in the city’s core neighborhoods, the risk of waiting a year just to have an idea turned down may simply be too great.”

Friday, May 6, 2022 in Slate

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