Planning Board Staff Report




Miami Shores Village Town Hall  Council Chambers  10050 NE 2nd Avenue  Miami Shores

Hearing Date

September 24, 2009

Meeting Time

7:00 P.M.

File Number


Folio Number



Barry University, 11300 N Miami Avenue, Miami Shores FL 33161




Michael Marrero, 200 S. Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 850, Miami FL 33131

Property Address

11300 N Miami Avenue, Miami Shores FL 33161

Legal Description

36 52 41 38.80 AC M/L SW1/4 OF NE1/4 LESS E40FT LOT SIZE IRREGULAR

Property Size-Sq Ft


Building Adjusted Sq Ft


Flood Zone





Future Land Use Designation


Existing Use

Institutional, Educational-Private

Comprehensive Plan Consistency


Existing Structure

N/A-story; N/A bed/ N/A bath

Year Built




Errors and Variances, Sec. 702 Hardship variances:  Sec. 518. Fences, walls and hedges. Fence height.

Action Required

Approve, Approve with Conditions, or Deny the application

Other Required Approvals

Village Building Permits


Staff Report

David A. Dacquisto AICP, Director, Planning and Zoning

Report Date

August 28, 2009





The applicant is seeking a variance to the Miami Shores zoning code Section 518. Fences, walls and hedges.


Barry University is proposing to construct a new fence and is requesting a 3 foot variance to the 5 foot height limitation allow an 8 foot fence.


The fence is ornamental metal and will close a gap in the existing chain link fence.  The proposed fence is identical to the existing fence around the Barry property to the east.


The existing ornamental metal perimeter fencing at Barry University is 8 feet in height.  Staff could not locate a permit for the existing fence or ascertain the date the existing fence was constructed.




There is no provision in the zoning code for fences exceeding 5 feet in the College zoning district.


Fencing in the College zoning district must conform to the general fence height requirements of the zoning code that restricts fences in the front yard to 3.5 feet in height and fences in the side and rear yard to 5 feet in height.


Eight foot fences are allowed in the residential or office districts that are contiguous to or across the alley from a business or commercial districts.  However, Barry University does not qualify under this provision.


The existing foot 8 fences and gated entrances provide security for the campus.


Sec. 702.  Hardship variances.


If the building inspector denies an application for building permit or a certificate of occupancy for any building or use that would be in violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance, and if the applicant is of the opinion that it is impossible to apply strictly such provisions to his property because of the existence of peculiar and unusual physical conditions affecting such property, other than conditions relating to the financial circumstances of the applicant, but including the fact that same has been designated as a historic landmark by the Miami Shores Village Council, he may appeal to the planning board, fully setting forth:


Applicants response to the criteria for hardship variance:


a)      Describe the alleged peculiar and unusual conditions affecting the property, other than conditions relating to the financial circumstances of the applicant.


“Barry University is the only college located within the boundaries of the Village.  The university campus acts as its own small community within the Village and the height of the fence is intended to provide an adequate buffer between the campus and the surrounding residential neighborhood.  There are no financial factors the [sic] affect the need for this request.”


b)      Describe the alleged reasons why such conditions make it impossible to strictly apply the specified provisions of the zoning code to the property.


“The current perimeter fence that surrounds much of Barry campus is at a height of 8 feet.  The only way to achieve continuity with the existing fence is to obtain a variance, because the Village Code provides a 5 foot height maximum for fences and fences [sic].”


c)      Describe the reasons why the variance requested is the minimum variance that the applicant believes to be necessary in order to enable the applicant to make a reasonable use of the property.


“Barry is not asking for a variance to permit the fence at any height higher than what currently exists on the Property.  Therefore, the requested height of 8 feet is the minimum variance necessary to complete the fence.”


d)      Describe the reasons why the variance would be in harmony with the intent and purpose of the Code of Ordinances and zoning code would not be detrimental to the existing use or prospective development of property in the vicinity, and would not give to the applicant an advantage with respect to the use of this property that is not enjoyed by the owners of similarly situated property.


“Among the purposes described in the adoption of the Village’s Zoning Code, according to Section 100 of the Code, are the following:


To aid in bringing about a proper relationship between the uses of land the village and traffic serving such uses, as well as traffic passing through the village. So as to protect property values, assure the most satisfactory use of land, avoid traffic congestion, and protect the public safety against traffic hazards: and


To protect property values and the enjoyment of property rights by minimizing and reducing conflicts among various land uses through the application of regulations designed to assure harmonious relationships among land uses.


The applicant believes that The granting of this variance will serve to achieve both of the above goals of the Village’s zoning code.  Since the university campus provides a different kind of atmosphere and lifestyle than the surrounding residential neighborhood, Barry believes that it can better reduce conflicts and allow for both land uses to exist peacefully by continuing the fence at its existing 8 feet.”


Staff finds that the facts presented and the applicant’s response to the criteria for granting a variance provide sufficient basis for the Planning Board to consider the variance request.


Staff finds that the application meets the criteria upon which the Planning Board may consider approval of the hardship variance requested.




Planning and Zoning staff recommend APPROVAL of the variance application with a finding that it meets the requirements for consideration of a variance as listed in the Code under Section 702.  If the Board finds that the applicant meets the requirements for consideration of a variance as listed in the Code under Section 702 and votes to approve the application, staff recommends the following conditions:


1)      Applicant to obtain all required building permits.

2)      Applicant to comply with all applicable code provisions at the time of permitting.

3)      This variance is valid for a period of one (1) year from the date of approval.  Building permits must be secured and work started within that time or a new variance will be required before work can commence.