Apply for a Zoning Waiver

Are you trying to build or renovate a business or residence, and your plans are not 'allowed by right ' according to Miami 21 code? The City of Miami issues Waivers intended to relieve practical difficulties in complying with the Miami 21 Code, when such Waivers meet a specific list of requirements.

NOTE: Waivers have strict lifespans. If approved, you will have a specific time-frame in which to obtain all other permits, permissions & certificates needed before the Waiver expires.


Find out if Your Property is Eligible for a Waiver

Waivers are only given for specific purposes, which are described in Miami 21 in detail (article The specific parameters of each Waiver are further described in the articles in which each Waiver appears in the Code. 

We strongly encourage you to review these parameters so that you do not apply for a Waiver that is unnecessary or not applicable.

Collect the Necessary Documents

Before applying for your Waiver, you may also need a Warrant or Exception .  Click here to find out and/or view the Warrant & Exception processes. If you are applying for a Warrant or Exception, your waivers will travel with that application, so you should focus on those first.

You will need the following documents in order to complete your Waiver application. View check list here(PDF, 184KB).  NOTE: Documents marked 'signed and sealed' must follow this digital process

  • A detailed Letter of Intent signed by owner or owner's representative. This is a statement describing the intent of the proposed work, including specific details as to the nature and/or proposed use. Statement should specify if you're planning new construction on vacant land or if demolition is required, size of proposed structure, all proposed uses, location and type of improvements or repairs to existing property. Please provide as much detail as possible.   NOTE: For Demolition Waivers the letter of intent is required to be notarized.
  • Signed and Sealed  Detailed architectural plans of your proposed project - must include floor plans, elevations, zoning legend, diagrams, details and materials. Required for construction waiver only.
  • Photographs of intended property - site and context. 
  • Boundary Survey from surveyor, which must be signed and sealed within one year of application date. (NOTE: The Base Building Line will eventually need to be marked by Public Works on your survey). 
  • Authorization to act (if you are not the property owner). This will not be required at time of submission, but at a later step. We suggest you have this ready. 
  • Latest microfilm records of the property (renovations and/or additions), unless this is new construction. TIP: select full permit history when you do this search. This is optional now, but may be required later.
  • Landscape & irrigation plans (signed & sealed by landscape architect with their seal on each page): Required only for new construction waiver. 
  • Certified Arborist Report including all trees and their specifications indicating all trees to be protected. Required for demolition waiver request. 
  • Vegetation survey signed & sealed within one year of the application date.
  • Complete list of all folio numbers and property addresses in pdf format (if more than one primary address or master folio). You can gather this information using our GIS tool, instructions here.
  • Signed and Sealed demolition plans, required for only demolition waiver.
  • Notarized Hold Harmless Agreement (Signed by Owner or Owner's representative), this is optional. 
  • Your signed application. NOTE: After your finish the online application process, your final application will be emailed to you.  You must sign the application and upload it as a document (see instructions below).

Apply for Waiver Online

  • You will have to create an ePlan account or login to an existing account. 
  • If you are creating an account for the first time, you will receive an email approval, then need to log in again to apply. 
  • To apply: select "standard application".  You can name your application whatever you want (the first step), this does not refer to the standard naming convention. 
  • You will receive instructions from here.  At the end, you'll receive an email prompting you to upload your documents (list above). 

Apply for Waiver

Prepare your Documents 

You must follow a standard naming convention (i.e. each part of the plans must be titled a specific way) in order to upload documents or your application will be delayed. 

These names can not change once they've been given

View Naming Instructions

NOTE: Any documentation prepared by a professional, that is required to be “signed and sealed” (see above checklist) will need a digital signature. Learn how to obtain a digital signature

Upload Documents

  • After you have completed your initial submission, you will receive an email from prompting you to upload your documents. To do this, log back into the portal (below) and this time select "manage my existing projects". 
  • Select your project number, and go to the "applicant upload task" tab.
  • Upload documents and submit.

TIP: This is also where you can manage your project as the below process progresses. 

NOTE: Once you hit "upload complete - send to City of Miami", your ability to upload any more documents will be restricted until the completion of the City's application acceptance process. 

Upload Documents

Modify Plans and Documents, if Necessary

You will likely receive an email with comments from the City, as plans/documents often require modifications. Address the comments/issues to the best of your ability. Once you have addressed the comments from reviewers, you will need to re-submit your revised documents (go to "manage my existing project").  

NOTE: You should address your comments immediately. If there is no activity on the project in Eplan within six months, the application will be considered abandoned and you will have to start over. 

NOTE: Multiple cycles of comments may occur back and forth, depending on your project.  You may be contacted to begin your pre-application meeting (below)  as you are addressing these issues. Nevertheless, all issues must be finalized before official project approval can take place. 

NOTE: You may modify the content of your file(s), but do not change the file names when you re-submit.

Attend a Pre-Application Meeting(s)

When the project has been deemed by staff as minimally sufficient to progress (dependent on addressing all aforementioned issues), you will be contacted to attend a pre-application meeting. 

The City staff will use this meeting to further clarify any questions about your application. You can also use this time to obtain information and guidance relating to your project. You will be instructed to address any outstanding issues. More than one meeting may be necessary to address all of the issues. 

NOTE: You should address the comments from staff immediately. If there is no activity on the project in Eplan within six months, the application will be considered abandoned, and you will have to start over from the beginning. 

Attend Final Review

When your project is deemed ready for the next step, you will attend a final pre-application meeting, and will be notified that final staff review has taken place. At this time, you will be given a letter to notify your neighbors of your project (see below). 

Go Before a Board, if Necessary

If, at some point in the process, you were told that your project requires advisory/recommending board review (i.e. UDRB, CRC, etc.),  that board meeting will not be scheduled until the above staff review has been completed and the minimum requirements have been met (you will be notified of this completion). 

Notify Neighbors

NOTE: You may not begin this process until the above staff review has been completed, and the minimum requirements have been met (you will be notified of this completion and given a signed letter to send to neighbors). 

You must notify abutting neighbors, nearby registered HOAs (which includes the Planning Department and appropriate commissioners) and the applicable NET office of your project.  Click here to obtain an accurate list of these addresses. 

Once you have the addresses, you must: 

  • Make copies of the signed letter that was given to you from the City. Each letter must be addressed to the appropriate recipient in the body of the letter.
  • Send each letter via U.S. Certified Mail, and make copies of all mail receipts (one per letter), which need to match the addresses on your letters.

NOTE: A copy of these letters must be submitted in your final application (see below) within five days of the date on your certified mail receipts. 

NOTE: Notices that are mailed prior to being signed by staff, will result in you having to start the notification process over. 

NOTE: In no event shall a Final Waiver Decision be issued prior to thirty (30) calendar days from the date the notifications are mailed.  

Review Fees & Pay for your Application

Fees for a Waiver are calculated based on the below list. You will be emailed a transaction statement (invoice) with your total amount due. 

You will need you transaction ID number in order to complete this task. 

  • Per square foot of floor area as defined in section 1.2: $0.05
  • Minimum: $475.00
  • Extension of time for Waiver: $225.00
  • Demolition: $225.00

Click here to pay

Submit Revised Documents and Notifications

In your final pre-application meeting (before you mail the letters, above), the reviewers will notify you of any final outstanding comments that must be addressed. 

Submit all revised documents here (select "manage my project") and include copies of the notification letters + mail receipts as proof of certified mail.

NOTE: You must submit these documents within five days of the certified mail date on your notification letters. 

Await Response

Once the application has been paid for and final documents have been uploaded, you will hear back from The City within 30-45 days.  You will either receive an approval, an approval with conditions, or a denial. 

Address Response

  • If approved, a Waiver shall be valid for a period of two (2) years during which time a Building Permit or Certificate of Use must be obtained.  A one-year (1) time extension may be approved by the Planning Director if requested prior to the expiration of the original term of the Warrant.
  • If you receive an approval with conditions, you must comply with all conditions (within the lifespan of the Waiver) before a building permit can be issued. 
  • If denied and you'd like to appeal, see below.

NOTE: Even when approved/approved with conditions, there is a 15-day appeal waiting period before you may obtain building permit(s).

NOTE: If approved or approved with conditions and you'd like to begin your building permit process within the 15-day appeal period from the date of warrant issuance, you will need to submit a hold_harmless(PDF, 263KB) Affidavit. (With notarized signature on application).

Appeal, if Desired

Please note that anyone can appeal a warrant approval or denial within 15 days of issuance.  Click here to begin this process

The Planning & Zoning Appeals Board (PZAB) will determine whether the Waiver is upheld or rescinded. Please note that in the event that a Waiver is appealed, the Waiver will be placed on hold pending determination. 

You will be notified if your Waiver is appealed by someone else, and how to proceed accordingly. 

Important Tips:

  • Make sure to confirm that all required documents are accounted for and approved by staff prior to sending Notification Letters, as you will only have five days from that time to upload your final documentation. 
  • You must follow a standard naming convention for all of your documents (i.e. each part of the plans must be titled a specific way and can not be changed as you modify these plans). Click here for naming instructions