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New Ordinance Facilitates Downtown Mass Transit and P3s

Albert E. Dotson, Jr.

We recently wrote about Miami-Dade County’s proposed resolution that would designate the areas within the County’s SMART Plan corridors as “Areas of Countywide Significance.” The Board of County Commissioners has since adopted that resolution, allowing the County to maintain regulatory jurisdiction and facilitate development within the SMART Plan corridors. Passage of that resolution has set the stage for the next step to further streamline the development process for property surrounding transit stations that is owned by the County, but sits within a municipality.

Now, the County is focused on expanding the Rapid Transit Zone (RTZ) to the properties it owns surrounding transit stations, which were included in the areas deemed significant by the resolution. The RTZ ordinance, originally drafted by Bilzin Sumberg Partner Stanley Price, grants zoning and permitting jurisdiction for the County’s transit system to the County, even if the property is within a city that would otherwise have permitting jurisdiction.  By consolidating this jurisdiction within a single government entity, the County can facilitate P3 transit development by reducing permitting risk.

Bilzin Sumberg was instrumental in drafting the Ordinance that created the Downtown Intermodal District Corridor for the development of the Brightline station and its connection to the County’s transit system. Now, the County has approved an expansion of the RTZ to the properties surrounding the Brickell Metrorail station, and today the County passed an Ordinance that will expand the part of the RTZ that currently encompasses the Government Center Metrorail and Metromover station. Now, the County’s jurisdiction will include Government Center and fifteen other County-owned properties within the vicinity of the station that were previously under the jurisdiction of the City of Miami. Significantly, this includes the proposed site for the new County Courthouse, as well as the existing courthouse, and other important downtown real estate. This expansion will greatly facilitate the development of the new courthouse as a P3 and it will attract innovative transit-oriented development and government infrastructure for the downtown area. The expansion of the RTZ in downtown Miami is only the beginning in the journey toward enhancing Miami’s transportation system into one that is befitting of its stature as a premiere city on the international stage.

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