By Commissioner Isaac Aelion
(February 29, 2016) – As the high rises on the east side of Collins were being erected during the last ten years, many residents living within the City of Sunny Isles Beach raised concerns that eventually the west side of Collins would be similarly developed. Unlike the east side of Collins where the back of every building faces the ocean, the west side presents a completely different picture where low rises occupy most of the areas to the Intracoastal Waterway. Presently, more than 80 percent of the properties lining up the west side of Collins are comprised of commercial plazas and parks forming a natural buffer zone between the west and east residential built along Collins Ave.
Historically the City Commission has resisted high rise development on the properties lining the west side of Collins because of its potential impact on the lifestyles of the residents living to the west. With one exception, site plan approval has been limited to low rise structures for service-oriented purposes like hotel or office use. Recently the Land Development Regulations were amended to increase the setback requirement for site plan approval along the western side of Collins Ave and Sunny Isles Boulevard. This move will further solidify the so-called “Buffer Zone” along Collins Ave within the City.