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  • Writer's pictureMaria Luisa Castellanos

Navigating Home Additions in Coconut Grove by Miami architect:

Unveiling the Miami 21 Code and NCD-3 Regulations

Embarking on a journey to plan an addition or house in Miami, especially in areas like Coconut Grove, requires a nuanced understanding of the city's zoning regulations. At the heart of this endeavor is the Miami 21 Zoning Code, a comprehensive set of guidelines that governs development across the city. However, certain districts, such as Coconut Grove, come with unique zoning overlays, like Coconut Grove's Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD-3), which introduces specific considerations for residential properties.


As an architect for many additions in Coconut Grove and City of Miami, let me explain some of the intricacies in designing for Coconut Grove.


One crucial aspect to bear in mind is the permitting process, which can be influenced by the need for a Demolition Waiver in the case of demolition activities. Securing this waiver not only extends the permitting timeline by six months to a year but also introduces complexities. Notably, neighbors and organizations must be notified, incurring additional costs and delays. While efforts by Zoning Director Daniel Goldberg are underway to reconsider this requirement, as of now, it remains a part of the code.


Diving into the specifics of setbacks, Coconut Grove deviates from the standard T3 Zoning with a 30-foot front setback instead of the usual 20 feet. However, structures are allowed to project a maximum of ten feet into this setback, provided the projection does not exceed thirty feet in width along the building's front. Unenclosed porches, entries, or loggias may extend up to fifteen feet into the minimum required front setback. On corner lots, a fifteen-foot projection is permissible into the thirty-foot setback.


Unlike the standard 5-foot side setbacks for T3 residences, NCD properties in Coconut Grove may have variable side setbacks based on specific conditions. Additionally, exceptions are made for canopies or covered terraces that may encroach into side or rear setbacks under certain situations.


The Coconut Grove NCD regulations extend to garage placements, stipulating that no garage should align with the front wall's setback unless the garage door(s) does not face the street. Garages with street-facing access openings must maintain a minimum twenty-foot setback from the principal residential structure's front wall.


Driveways are subject to a maximum width of ten feet within the initial five feet of all street-front required setbacks. Meanwhile, new construction projects must adhere to requirements for preserving existing trees and managing drainage. Swales may be employed to address water runoff issues, but if insufficient, French drains become a necessity.


Understanding the intricacies of the City of Miami Zoning Code, Miami 21, can be a daunting task, even for seasoned professionals. As an architect based in Miami, specializing in both commercial and residential projects, I, Maria Luisa Castellanos, can guide you through this complex regulatory landscape. Whether you're contemplating an addition to your existing house or envisioning a new construction project, my expertise can ensure that you navigate the process seamlessly. For personalized assistance and reliable information, feel free to contact me at 305-439-7898 or MLC@UnitedArchs.com. Let's turn your construction aspirations into a reality without any assumptions that may hinder your project's success.

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