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2022 Ballot Questions Community Workshops

Town staff and representatives from FPL, Dr. Ted Kury, Director of Energy Studies for the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at the University of Florida and a Sunny Isles Beach administrator, will be available to provide more information on the ballot questions. Presentations will be the same on both days. Please note, Dr. Kury will only be available for the March 2 Zoom workshop.

Lot Area and Building Height Measurements of Beachfront Lots

Shall the Charter be amended to limit lot area to the area within platted lot lines (except that the east boundary of beachfront lots will be the Bulkhead Line and not the Erosion Control Line); to limit building height for beachfront lots to +136.63 NAVD, which is 120 feet above the current first floor elevation of +16.63 NAVD; and to require minimum 60% electorate approval to amend or repeal Section 4 of the Charter?

Key Terms:

Erosion Control Line: This is a specific line set by Florida Statute that extends private ownership into the public beach.

Bulkhead Line: A specific line set by the Town of Surfside Code that lies west of the erosion control line to mark off the east boundary of substantial oceanfront construction. 

NGVD: National Geodetic Vertical Datum is a non-variable vertical height measurement. 

Summary Explanation:

As part of the question, voters are being asked to decide whether the Town should use the erosion control line or the bulkhead line for zoning calculations. This is essentially whether the area of oceanfront properties should be larger (using the erosion control line) or smaller (using the bulkhead line). 

Another part of the question asks voters to decide how the Town should handle building heights east of Collins Avenue to close a loophole in the current zoning language that potentially allows developers to set the starting line for the building’s height measurement. The maximum building height is 120 feet, but where that height is counted from (the starting line for the measurement) will impact how much building can be built.

Currently, the Town Code sets the starting line at wherever the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approves, which is at least +18.2 NGVD, but may be higher. This arguably allows a developer to put their first floor higher than the minimum (such as +25 NGVD), which would allow the height to be counted from that point, rather than the minimum allowed by FDEP (+18.2). Developers over the years have used this loophole to increase building heights.

The proposed charter amendment would close this loophole, requiring developers to use the +18.2 NGVD measurement for all oceanfront properties as the starting line for measuring the 120 feet maximum height limitation. 

View the Building Height Resolution No. 2022-2855.

ecl-bulkhead-lines-map_jpg  Proposed and Existing Oceanfront Tower Heights in Surfside_jpg