Written by Jesse Scheckner on January 12th, 2021
Even with construction, landscaping, and all facilities and utilities in place, an affordable housing project that converted a shipping container into a tiny house in South Miami has still stalled.
The most recent obstacle: an inexplicable restriction on part of the site that could require further downsizing of the project.
While the city, Miami-Dade County, and the group behind the project iron out the details, the house at 6180 SW 63rd Terr. Will remain vacant.
“It’s been done three months,” said Danielle Blake, public policy director for the Miami Association of Realtors. “It just sits there.”
The problem now has to do with what is called zoning in relation to zoning, setting aside a piece of land, usually along a street, sidewalk, or other public right of way, so that it can be used in the future without a government asking for one must exercise a significant domain.
Since the end of October, Ms. Blake, her team, and the general contractor working on the project have been trying to address a 10-foot dedication that has not been put on the site plan by anyone – not the association, the contractor, the initial site tour, the city, the district or the now dissolved municipal redevelopment agency that supported the project.
The dedication was listed on the Miami-Dade real estate appraiser’s website – the county acquired the land in 1978, but declared it a surplus in 2015 – but the 10 feet were not subtracted from the land area.
In November 2018, Miami-Dade’s agents just approved the handover of the previously undeveloped 3,200-square-meter plot of land to the group, which the district had reported as a surplus three years earlier.
In return, Miami Realtors agreed to several terms, including that the finished home be sold within two years to a buyer who will earn 80% of the area’s median income either at cost or for $ 205,000.
In early December, the commissioners gave the group an additional six months to sell the property.
Miami Realtors also agreed to provide mortgage assistance to whoever bought the 480-square-foot container house and faulty lot on which it was built.
After nearly two years of development by Miami-based Cobo Construction and Little River Box Co., which encountered several unforeseen issues, including demolishing the adjacent road to connect the house to the sewer system and a slowdown due to the pandemic, a second visit to the Website overlooked the dedication.
The puzzle halted further progress until the reason for the dedication could be determined. With an additional 10 feet subtracted from one side of the property, the project area could suddenly shrink to 2,800 square feet, 400 square feet less than what was designed and built for.
Since the beginning of November, Miami Realtors has been pursuing two possible solutions. You would see the group resize the project to accommodate the smaller footprint. The other would be for the county to clear the 10 feet for the project to complete.
“It was frustrating,” said Ms. Blake on Friday. “I just want to be done with this project.”
Things got more complicated later that day. The 10 foot dedication, the county said, was a mistake and didn’t need to be considered; However, the county said the property was earmarked for an additional 25 foot dedication for future roadside curb construction.
The project site consists of two plots. If the 25 foot dedication is on a lot, it’s fine.
“And if it’s on the other side, it isn’t,” she said. “I don’t know how much that gets into our property. We’ll know in a couple of weeks. “
The house that has now been completed makes optimal use of its limited space. The work, dining and kitchen areas take up about half of the space, the rest consists of a modest bedroom, a bathroom and a walk-in closet.
According to Miami Realtors’ plans, the structure is built to withstand a Category 4 hurricane.
“It’s the last container house we’ll build,” Miami Realtors CEO Teresa King Kinney told Miami Today in September. “Since Miami is one of the largest ports in the world, there are many dead ends and container houses here that are great for hurricanes.”
The project is one of 70 companies the group has funded with a “mega-grant” received in 2016 from the National Association of Realtors, Ms. Kinney said, and it was “by far the largest” in the group.
District officers were almost divided on whether to approve the project, which was first sponsored by Xavier Suarez and later taken up by his successor, who represented District 6, Raquel Regalado, who successfully supported a point around the group’s deadline for the To extend the sale of the project until the beginning of May.
Before voting between 7 and 5 to approve the project with changes on November 8, 2018, the commission debated it for more than 90 minutes.
Sally Heyman, Eileen Higgins, Barbara Jordan, Daniella Levine Cava, Jean Monestime, Dennis Moss and Mr Suarez voted yes. Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Audrey Edmonson, Joe Martinez, Rebeca Sosa and Javier Souto voted no. Jose “Pepe” Diaz was absent.
Mr Souto complained that the county was “giving away” [the] Property of the people of Miami-Dade County. “Mr. Martinez scoffed at the estimated cost of the project, US $ 133,699, excluding US $ 37,000 for land development.
“I thought it was a cartoon – $ 133,000 for a shed?” he said. “I didn’t believe it.”
For the past several years, Miami-Dade officials have viewed micro-housing as a way to close the growing gap between income and property prices, which had increased 83% between 2010 and 2017, a report by Miami Realtors showed.
Over the same period, inflation-adjusted wages here fell by an average of 7.1%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Across the county, more than 65% of tenant households and 44% of condominiums with mortgages spend more than 30% of their collective income on housing costs.
Property values in Miami-Dade were up nearly 5% last year through November 30, according to real estate website Zillow, which is forecasting a 9.5% increase for the next year.
Realtor.com shows the average price per square foot in County Residences as $ 289. Assuming the container home sells for $ 205,000, the cost per square foot would be $ 427, not including mortgage assistance.