Published on Thursday, June 27, 2013
The Miami Herald
By Theo Karantsalis
Ten members of the West Airport Business Association are seeking an injunction to thwart the city’s plans to scoop up more than 1,300 acres of land from under their feet.
The two-square-mile parcel of unincorporated property in question is located south of Northwest 74th Street, north of Northwest 36th Street, and east of the Palmetto Expressway.
“The Miami Springs charter only permits annexation of lands ‘contiguous’ to its geographic boundaries,” states the complaint dated June 19. “As a result of the removal of the FEC property, an enclave is created between the municipality and the annexation area.”
The city adopted an ordinance in July 2010 that removed the Florida East Coast Railway property from its proposed annexation boundaries. This area made up about 25 percent of the land sought.
“This fact alone should render the (annexation plan) unlawful and requires that the court grant the plaintiffs the relief requested,” the complaint says.
In an effort to expand its tax base, Miami Springs has spent the last decade attempting to annex land west of the airport. Aside from more tax revenue, if the land deal is approved the city could also net upwards of $1.5 million in licensing fees to erect signs on private property that would be visible from the Palmetto Expressway.
The city feels the lawsuit is without merit and should be dismissed.
“I can’t anticipate what the plaintiff’s motivation is but probably they filed the (motion) for preliminary injunction with an eye toward trying to get a hearing earlier than Sept. 24,” City Attorney Jan Seiden said at the June 24 council meeting.
By doing so, and getting the court to agree with them, the plaintiffs could stop the process.
“The county has already passed on first reading an ordinance that basically removes that (enclave) ordinance from the county code,” said Seiden.
The county has not yet taken final action to repeal the ordinance, records show. A hearing is set on the matter for Aug. 29.
On July 11, Miami Springs will be joined by Doral, Medley and Virginia Gardens as each makes its annexation pitch before the Miami-Dade County Planning Advisory Board, which will forward its recommendations to the Miami-Dade County Commission for approval.
“We believe that is going to go forward without any problem,” Seiden said.
Here is what is at stake:
• Doral seeks to annex property at the south and west sides of the city. Doral had previously been interested in annexing the Dolphin Mall, but Sweetwater beat Doral to the punch, annexing the shopping center in 2010.
• Medley wants to annex several square miles of property in different pockets in unincorporated Miami-Dade that would also extend its boundaries.
• Virginia Gardens is looking to annex an area across Northwest 36th Street that includes the airport business district west to the Palmetto Expressway, as well as some frontage road near Miami International Airport.
• Miami Springs wants land that is part of the airport business district west to the Palmetto Expressway. The city no longer seeks the Florida East Coast Railway property.
Read more here.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Annexation Hearing
WHAT: July 11 at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st St., 2nd Floor
For information, call 305-375-5126.