There is a measure going before the City of Miami Commissioners that dramatically impacts the future of our beloved neighborhood.

The measure will allow for slightly higher unit densities in the area, and in some areas permit limited mixed-uses, such as corner cafes and boutique stores mixed in with apartments. Additionally, the measure is being pushed in parallel with rules for protecting the historic buildings of the area.

Look at any map and it’s easy to see the value in Little Havana. Little Havana is a human-scaled urban oasis directly adjacent the mega towers of Brickell, and centric to all the major employment centers of the city. Nowhere else can you find that unique intersection of affordability and proximity. More significantly, Little Havana is a wonderful neighborhood gifted with a cultural flair, nostalgia, authenticity and sense of place unparalleled in our city. Little Havana is a community that deservers to be elevated as a prime jewel in the mosaic of neighborhoods that make Miami.

There are four pillars on which the significance of this amendment stands:

1. Workforce Housing. While areas like Brickell experience a boom of luxury building, our working class citizens endure living conditions that often are an insult to human decency. Virtually no inventory is being built for the middle and lower income segments, leaving only old, dilapidated, functionally obsolete buildings as options. To solve this issue, we must empower entrepreneurial property owners to build high-quality housing for our middle-income population, and we do this by removing the economic existing economic handicaps on these properties.

2. Public Transportation. The metrics of public transportation are ridership. Little Havana is centric to all the major employment centers of Miami, yet also provides affordability. Increasing densities in East Little Havana will encourage higher ridership for public transport and lower per capita costs, thereby making feasible the development of more routes and more means of public transportation. Consequently, this will de-incentive the use of the automobile, paving the way for urban citizens to live the dream of a car-less lifestyle.

3. Historic Preservation. The historic architectural context of our Little Havana neighborhood is under serious risk from two directions: a lack of protection and a lack of economic incentive to rehabilitate. Many once proud, stately buildings stand as festering slums. This amendment will address this, first by imposing specific protections on historic structures. And second, by creating an economic incentive to rehabilitate historic buildings through a mechanism of selling development rights and requiring re-investment of those profits back into the buildings.

4. Signature Neighborhood. The neighborhoods around the world that most seduce us and most beckon us, all share some common elements. They combine an authenticity of place and spirit, along with a certain architectural scale and mix of uses and incomes. With so much of the nostalgia, narrative, and cultural and social vibrancy that Little Havana carries so proudly, it lacks very little to become the sort of neighborhood that can profoundly impact people’s memories and become globally recognized as one of Miami’s Signature Neighborhood. This amendment will unlock that final piece of the puzzle, by catalyzing the rejuvenation of the economic base of the neighborhood and permitting for the urban mosaic of renovated historic buildings with newer mixed-use, mixed-income, architecturally significant buildings.

This amendment is not about creating a “Brickell West”. This amendment is about protecting the Spirit and Authenticity of Little Havana, and not allowing it to stagnate while areas around it prosper. The goal is not to invite national chain retailers alone, but to foster a fertile enviroment for local home-grown businesses. Additionally, we don’t want Brickell skyscrapers to sprout on Little Havana soil. This amendment encourages medium density, mixed-income developments of a very human-scale.

Workforce Housing, Public Transportation, Historic Preservation, and the creation of a Signature Neighborhood… if these items are pertinent to you, then we need your help in supporting this amendment.

Call or email your local commissioners to support the up-zoning of East Little Havana:

Com. Wilfredo Gort: (305) 250-5430
Com. Marc Sarnoff:
 (305) 250-5333
Com. Frank Carollo: (305) 250-5380
Com. Francis Suarez: (305) 250-5420
Com. Keon Hardemon: 
(305) 250-5390

And most importantly, attend the commission meeting to show your support:
Thursday, January 22nd, at 2pm, City Hall 3500 Pan American Dr., Miami, Florida

We have setup an online petition- Please Click Here to get more detailed information and support.