City of Doral Council approves moratorium on Senate Bill 102

DORAL, FL – The City of Doral Council held a special council meeting on July 26th to discuss and further understand Senate Bill 102, aiming to potentially approve a moratorium on zoning districts affected.

After several interventions of the city attorney, Valerie Vicente, explaining the audience what the law and the moratorium entails and of council members who raised questions and comments around the topic, the council unanimously approved to put into effect a moratorium of six months.  

“I called this meeting so we can as a united body in hand with our very involved community understand the impacts of Senate Bill 102 to this community and to our quality of life. I think we’ve all been able to have certain discussions to better comprehend the law, so now is our time to protect this community,” City of Doral Mayor, Christi Fraga, stated.  

“The characteristics of our neighborhoods could drastically change and that is extremely concerning to me. While I feel the law was not necessarily intended to impact communities like ours, I also don’t think they took into account the impact it has on communities like ours.”

The first thing that the audience was able to grasp around the law before the council made a final decision was that Senate Bill 102 is a comprehensive housing bill designed to increase the availability of affordable housing.

One way that the bill seeks to accomplish the aforementioned goal is to preempt local governments from applying their use, high, density regulations as well as their hearing processes for affordable housing projects that meet the criteria of the statue.

Nevertheless, the purpose of a moratorium is to provide a framework to learn how to address and implement the new law within its limits. 

“The bill went into effect on July 1st and since then the city has been thinking how to implement it, considering there are a lot of matters that are not expressly addressed in this statue and have been left to interpretation. I have attended, together with the planning and zoning director, several webinars, seminars and conferences and this is simply not enough background for a topic of such significance,” the city attorney explained.

According to the expert, this calls for a moratorium limited in nature that is not intended to subvert or circumvent the statue. “It is not a rezoning, nor is a comprehensive plan change. It is simply a limited time under which the city can bring some ordinances forward to make text amendments to land development regulations, seeking to apply those regulations to the upcoming projects.”

More specifically, the six-months moratorium approved in a first reading will be an opportunity to make curative changes to the code so the city can in fact implement the statue. In practical terms, this means there will be a pause in accepting and processing zoning applications and building permits while the moratorium is in effect. 

The second reading around this topic will take place on August. 

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