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Homestead’s Planning and Zoning Board reviewed two actions for 16.2 acres on US1 south of Harris Field at its meeting on February 10.

The land along US1 and NE6th Avenue is currently vacant and used for farming.

The Alena Corporation applied to rezone the area from Restricted Retail Commercial (B-1) to Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMU). It also asked to amend the Future Land Use Map to change the planning designation from Light Commercial Use (LCU) to Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMU).

Homestead’s Development Services explained that the applicant wanted to unify the four parcels into one plot. It is expected that development plans would be filed soon by the Alena Corporation. Development Services recommended approval of the zoning change.

The NMU designation is supposed to encourage traditional neighborhood development. The category disallows auto-oriented uses such as gas stations or drive-thrus, or any temporary lodging.

The sixteen acre field was used as overflow parking for the Homestead Rodeo just three years ago.

The applications were due to a change in development plans by the owner who originally filed for a rezoning from B1 to B2 to build a proposed commercial center.

The latest plan is for 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space along the US1 frontage with 160 garden-style apartments on the remaining eleven acres.

The applicant commissioned a study to show sufficient commercial land remaining in Homestead for the City’s future commercial expansion. The study by Miami Economic Associates (MEA), filed October 26, 2020, found there were 219.3 vacant acres available for commerce apart from the land in question. MEA found less than 6.5 acres were developed for commercial use in Homestead for two years prior to the study.

Of the acres available for commercial development in Homestead, 113.3 are on Campbell Drive east of US1 and 28.3 acres are vacant along the US1 corridor.

Potential development of this south US1 area would create 368 non-recurring jobs, mostly in construction, and 248 recurring jobs, according to the MEA study.

Fulltime positions on-site were estimated at 193 workers, including 63 retail workers, 125 restaurant workers and five involved in leasing and property operations.

The MEA study estimated developmental costs of $25.68 million with another $5 million for engineering fees, permits, taxes, loan interest, and marketing. The study stated that the apartment units proposed would rent at rates making them accessible to moderate and workforce income households.

The Alena mixed-use project was expected to bring the City $219,581 annually in ad valorem taxes, as well as $248,664 in County taxes, and $228,888 in school taxes. MEA said the proposed use would generate more revenue for Homestead than if the land was developed solely for commercial use.

Both the rezoning and the land use amendment have yet to be scheduled for City Council which must approve both actions.

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