Miami Beach Would Prefer You Not Build a Megamansion in Its Town, Thank You Very Much

Examples of oversize homes.
Examples of oversize homes.

Miami Beach really, really, really likes rich people. The city is basically a playground for the one percent, but existing residents are just a bit tired of superrich people coming in, buying up historic homes, knocking them down, and building megamansions that are out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood. Regular mansions? Sure, they're just fine with those. Supersize mansions that cram as much house as possible onto a piece of land? Eh, not so much. 

Two years ago, the city passed an ordinance that restricted the size of single-family homes in single-family neighborhoods. A home could take up only 50 percent of the surface area of its lot, a decrease from the previous 70 percent standard. 

Preservationists, however, are worried that change wasn't enough, and now, according to the Real Deal Miami, Commissioner Joy Malakoff has proposed another ordinance that would reduce that size to 45 percent. In fact, it passed the city's Land Use Committee yesterday. 

Additionally, lot coverage would also be reduced to a maximum of 25 percent of the lot, down from 30 percent. That would include things like pools, patios, hot tubs, tennis courts, climate-controlled enclosures for pet tigers, and whatever else it is rich people in Miami Beach like to put on their properties. 

The message is pretty simple: Don't build a giant home that dwarfs those around it, and, hey, maybe it would be nice to have an actual lawn and some landscaping. 

Developers aren't happy, however. Todd Glaser, who has been making a killing in the past few years building fancy spec homes on the Beach, tells the Real Deal that the ordinance could affect 13 homes he has in stages of development. He points out that just a few years ago, he could build 5,250 square feet of home on a 7,500-square-foot lot, but now he can build just 3,375 square feet on the same lot. 

The ordinance also comes as a rash of historic homes are being demolished in Miami Beach. Preservationists hope that reducing the maximum size of a new home that can be built would dissuade developers from knocking down older homes in the first place.


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