Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCDs)

What are NCDs?

The NCDs are zoning overlays. A zoning overlay is defined by the American Planning Association as “a zoning district which is applied over one or more previously established zoning districts, establishing additional or stricter standards and criteria for covered properties in addition to those of the underlying zoning district” (Peroperty Topics and Concepts, 2017). Section 3.12.2 of Miami 21 states that the intent of NCDs is:

preserve unique and distinctive neighborhoods that exhibit a certain defined character worthy of protection, such as physical features, design characteristics, and recognized cultural or historical identity. The Neighborhood Conservation District provides additional regulations or design guidelines for new construction, major alterations and additions to existing Buildings, in order to protect, enhance and perpetuate the value of the neighborhood conservation area. It is further intended that such districts and the regulations adopted for them shall be in accord with, and promote the Miami Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan (Miami 21, 3.12.2 (a)).

NCD's In Coconut Grove

There are three Neighborhood Conservation Districts within the City of Miami. NCDs 2 and 3 are located within Coconut Grove. NCD 2 occupies the area nearest Douglas Road MetroRail Station, bounded by SW 32 Avenue to the South and Charles Avenue to the East. Much of the remainder of Coconut Grove is located within NCD 3. The NCDs are comprised of several distinct, unofficial neighborhoods.

Members of the Coconut Grove community have expressed concerns about NCDs directly to staff as well as providing feedback at public meetings. Comments from the community have included (but are not limited to) grave concerns about housing affordability, lot coverage, residential density, tree preservation, public noticing, and property rights. The Planning Department has determined that the need exists to modify NCD regulations in response to these concerns.


February 12, 2019 - FLR Presentation  

A presentation was given on Tuesday, February 12th at a Sunshine Meeting which was held to discuss the NCD-2/3 Floor Area Ratio Study as well as the proposed FLR legislation options. The presentation along with a map of the minimum lot size after diminishment are provided below.
Floor Area Ratio Study Presentation
NCD 2-3 Lot Size Overlay Map

June 19, 2018 - FLR Research  

The Planning Department would like to remind all NCD-2 and NCD-3 stakeholders of the upcoming Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB) meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 6:30 P.M. at City Hall. The proposed legislation will be presented to the board and all members of the public are welcome to attend and share their thoughts.   

The PZAB will be presented with a number of FLR solutions for the NCDs. In preparation, the Planning Department would like to share some of the research used by staff to base the recommendations proposed to PZAB. The research consists of 281 building permits that have been issued for residential construction in Coconut Grove (NCD-2 and NCD-3) since 2012.  The information can be viewed here.

June 11, 2018 - Update on Upcoming PZAB Meeting

The Planning Department has been working diligently to finalize legislation for the upcoming public hearing. The legislation will be presented at the next Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB) meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. The currently proposed language can be viewed here.

The NCD amendment will be presented and all members of the public are welcome to come to City Hall for the PZAB meeting to share their thoughts on this item.

April 25 - Public Meeting Update

The Planning Department will hold a fourth public meeting to discuss revisions to the Neighborhood Conservation Districts zoning overlays (NCD-2 and NCD-3) in Coconut Grove on Saturday, April 28 at Armbrister Park - 4000 Grand Ave, Miami, FL 33133 – from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The Planning Staff will be discussing the proposed language to be heard by the Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB) on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 and City Hall. Hope to see you there!

April 20, 2018 - Public Meeting on Saturday, April 28

The Planning Department will hold a fourth public meeting to discuss revisions to the Neighborhood Conservation Districts zoning overlays (NCD-2 and NCD-3) in Coconut Grove on Saturday, April 28. The location will be determined and announced in the next couple of days. This meeting is an additional opportunity for residents, and other stakeholders, to voice their ideas and goals on the proposed legislation rewrite. The legislation will be presented at the next Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB) meeting on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. The currently proposed language can be found here.

April 13, 2018 - Update on PZAB and City Commission Agendas

The Planning Department is pleased to announce that proposed new legislation for the Coconut Grove NCD is publicly noticed for the PZAB meeting on April 18. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 at City Hall. The online version of the legislation is a bit difficult to read - this is due to technical issues in the software used to upload the material. A copy with the clean layout can be viewed here.

If you are curious about the changes that have been made to the current policies, the Planning Department has prepared annotations to the existing NCD policies, which can be found here. These annotations start on page 6 of the PDF document and are made in red font within the margins of the document. The annotations either refer to the proposed new policies in instances where the old policies have been carried over in some form or they provide context relevant to public comments that have been received by the department.

The proposed legislation has been scheduled for City Commission on April 26.

April 4, 2018 PZAB Meeting - Staff to Request a Continuance

The Planning Department has been working diligently to finalize legislation for public hearing. Last week the Department received significant public feedback that warrants additional revision to the NCD policies. For this reason, staff will be requesting a continuance this evening at the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board meeting. The NCD will be discussed because it has been publicly noticed; as such, all members of the public are welcome to come to City Hall for the PZAB meeting to share their thoughts on this item.

March 30, 2018 - DRAFT Minimum Lot Sizes Map

Notable changes since the hand-drawn version:

  1. The area encompassed by the 20,000 sqft. minimum lot size has expanded in the south Grove.
  2. The area of 5000 sqft. minimum lot size has expanded in the center Grove.

In both cases, these minimum lots sizes will replace the criteria 4 and 5 under section 5.3.1 of the written code. We will retain the minimum 100 foot lot width requirement for lots of 20,000 sqft. or larger.

Draft Coconut Grove NCD Minimum Lot Sizes Map

Click here for a larger version of the draft map. Please note, this is a large file.

March 16, 2018 - DRAFT Legislation

Below is the updated DRAFT of the Coconut Grove NCD proposed language. Since we posted the last draft, we have made a number of changes based on feedback we have received via email and many meetings with individuals and groups. The core of the document remains unchanged from our presentation on January 27th, but we have concentrated on making the document understandable and enforceable.

We still intend to take this commission on the 26th of April. However, we will go to PZAB on the 4th of April rather than the 26th of March. Regarding the timing: we want to be deliberate and incorporate suggestions and comments for as long as possible, but we also want to proceed quickly in order to implement the changes. So, we want to push to get on the agenda for the 4th of April. However, we also intend to still consider minor modifications to the document and will continue to meet with you to incorporate changes even after we have published the version that will be presented.

Listed below are some of the main issues that have been brought to our attention and how we have addressed them:

  1. Some community members have expressed a desire to keep two Districts v. one Coconut Grove NCD.
    Our position is that the issues in Coconut Grove as it pertains to land-use regulations are more similar than they are dissimilar. We also had very strong support from participants in the public meetings for having one Coconut Grove district overlay. That being said, we have made changes based on the suggestions:
    • We have incorporated and strengthened all of the language from NCD-2 and improved provisions for enforcement in West Grove.
    • We have expanded the “Intent” section of the re-write to address concerns for both the former NCD-2 and NCD-3 areas.
    • We have further developed the minimum lot-size map. The map roughly coincides with recognized Grove neighborhoods. A variety of minimum lot sizes will preserve the variety of neighborhoods.

  2. The new standard required too much greenspace and the new regulations make development impossible due to buildings being too limited. We met with a variety of designers, homeowners, and developers pushing back on both building volume limitations and greenspace requirements. Our responses are:
    • Building volume regulations remain unchanged. We believe the proposed reductions are reasonable and consistent with the historical character of Coconut Grove.
      • However, we have allowed design flexibility to encourage porches and outdoor spaces. Single-story porches that do not interfere with tree-canopy will not count against the lot coverage, (Though they still are not considered greenspace and greenspace requirements must still be met).
    • Greenspace requirements remain unchanged for large lots, but we found problems for lots less than 10,000 sqft. Therefore, we have reduced the greenspace requirement for smaller lots to 40% for T3-R. This will mean they can still be developed whereas the 50% requirement made that very difficult by our own additional studies.

  3. The public benefits created too much density.
    • We reduced maximum density with public benefits in T4 from 150 units / acre to 65 units / acre.

  4. Lot diminishment rules that relied solely on the map are too permissive.
    • We have incorporated a number of additional criteria that apply to lot diminishment.

  5. Regulations for Carriage houses / Granny Flats / Accessory Dwelling Units are too permissive.
    • We propose limiting the units to lots greater than 7500 sqft. and allowing them on historically designated properties.

  6. Improve Enforcement. While the zoning text amendment cannot address many of the concerns of enforcement we have:
    • Consolidated NCD-2 and 3 which simplifies the code and simplifies enforcement for zoning and code compliance.
    • Reformatted the document to match Miami 21. This also simplifies enforcement for both zoning and code compliance.
    • Additionally, we are working to improve enforcement for environmental, historic, and zoning issues through staffing.

  7. Business Improvement District masterplan implementation.
    • The BID has worked with an urban design team to suggest incentives for Greenspace / Open spaces in the form of courtyards and pedestrian passages. We have incorporated suggestions for the T5 and T6 districts which encourage more open space but do not increase height.
    • We have incorporated all of the suggestions from the BID Masterplan that pertain zoning rules.

  8. Roof Extensions are excessive.
    • Have limited them from 400 sqft. to 200 sqft. and no longer allow them along the perimeter of the building. This will limit the visual impact for any roof access element and prevent overuse of roofs while still allowing easy placement of equipment. Rooftop placement of equipment allows for increased greenspace at the ground level.

This the bulk of the changes between the published drafts. We are still working on additional language about greenspace in rights-of-way.

Coconut Grove Conservation District Draft Legislation - March 16, 2018

February 16, 2018 - DRAFT Minimum Lot Sizes Map and Proposed Public Meeting Dates

This map is a draft which illustrates 4 minimum lot sizes for Coconut Grove NCD:

Overall, this reduces the number of lots which may be split, while also largely resulting in similar lot sizes that were allowed under the previous method of staff analysis based on properties in the surrounding areas. Only lots double these numbers, i.e. 10,000, 15,000, 40,000 and 80,000 respectively may be split.

We will create these boundaries more exactly in our GIS system next week and prepare additional analysis about which lots will be able to be split in the future.

Draft Coconut Grove NCD Minimum Lot Sizes Map

Click here for a larger version of the draft map.

Current proposed public meeting dates:
Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB)-Wednesday, March 21, 2018
City Commission-Thursday, April 26, 2018

The week of February 19, 2018 will be our final opportunity to incorporate comments which will appear in the version going before the Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board (PZAB). Please email us your feedback no later than Saturday, February 24, 2018.

February 9, 2018 - Draft Legislation

The Planning Department has been working to incorporate several items based on the feedback from the January 27th meeting:

  1. T-3O: New standards for the T-3O neighborhood.
  2. T-3R: Specific provisions for when T-3R properties may have 15% additional space on the 2nd floor in exchange for planting mature trees between the building and street.
  3. Trellises and Gazebos: language about trellises and gazebos to further define locations and types allowed.
  4. Renovations: Standards for removing the warrant requirement for partial demolition of homes being renovated
  5. Design flexibility for tree preservation: Formalize staff process in place of the waiver procedure for reviewing and allowing building footprint flexibility when accommodating existing trees.

Below is a link to the current draft legislation as of February 9, 2018. Not all of the provisions are finalized as we are still working with the Zoning Office to ensure that the entire code is legible and enforceable.

Coconut Grove Conservation District Draft Legislation - February 9, 2018

If you have any comments, please send them to

January 30, 2018 - Proposed Revisions to Legislation

The Planning Department held its third public meeting to discuss revisions to the Neighborhood Conservation Districts zoning overlays (NCD-2 and NCD-3) in Coconut Grove on Saturday, January 27, at Frankie Shannon Rolle Center. Eighty people attended the event. Jeremy Calleros Gauger, the Deputy Director for the Planning Department, presented proposed changes to the NCD-2 and NCD-3. These changes are intended to respond to feedback from residents and activists who have expressed concerns, ideas, and insights about the neighborhoods. Conceptually, the legislation is intended to address the preservation of the Grove’s historic, physical, and social character. To do this, the strategies employed by the legislation aim to better protect existing tree canopy and incentive more trees, create conditions for affordability, and preserve the historic heritage of Coconut Grove.

Click here to view the presentation summarizing the recommendations for NCD revisions.

November 14, 2017 - October 14 Public Workshop Report

A full report is now published based on data collected from the public workshop on October 14, 2017. This report summarizes findings from public feedback at this event. This report will be presented at a meeting of the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) on Wednesday, November 15 at 6:30 PM.

November 8, 2017 - Lot-Diminishment Legislation

Legislation presented to the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board (PZAB) on July 31, 2017 was continued and is scheduled to be heard again at PZAB on November 15, 2017. This is the same legislation that was presented at the NCD workshop on October 14 and October 28 at Armbrister Park by the staff of the Planning Department. No changes have been made to the public record for this legislation.

Many members of the public have offered a great deal of feedback regarding the issue of lot diminishment (also referred to as “lot-splitting”), lot coverage, tree canopy, and F.A.R.—all of these are issues germane to the legislation scheduled for hearing by PZAB on November 15. Around 70 people attended both workshops at Armbrister Park. Surveys from both workshops were administered. Staff has only been able to analyze data from the first workshop. Data from the second workshop is still being recorded.

At this time, it is very clear that there are many strong opinions about the legislative matter scheduled for hearing on November 15. For this reason, staff will recommend a continuance for a future date to allow for a review of all the data collected from the public workshops. The item will not be withdrawn because it has already been advertised.

Workshop Information - October 14, 2017

Executive Summary
Full Report
Map of NCD Respondents by Neighborhood

NCD Workshop 1

Public Workshop 1 Handout
NCD2 Photo Study
NCD3 Photo Study

NCD 2 and 3 Neighborhoods Map