Three years after being shot down for annexation, Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and Medley are ready to give it another shot.
On Saturday, March 2, residents of the three cities received a city mailer announcing an annexation “lift off.”
Back in 2010, the Miami Dade County Planning Advisory Board refused to endorse applications by the River Cities as its seven board members voted unanimously against annexation for each city.
“The long-term push to annex the light industrial areas along with our western border is again on track, with a county commission vote anticipated for this spring,” the mailer reads.
“This is an item that is moving pretty fast,” said Jose Fuentes, an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, which has been closely involved in the process with city leaders. “We are looking at an April date.”
Miami Springs city manager Ron Gorland noted that Fuentes is one of the city’s two key figures involved in the process, the other being Mayor Zavier Garcia.
“We got support from some commissioners we weren’t expecting to get,” said Garcia, who thanked city employees for working tirelessly over the weekend to crunch numbers needed to get support. “Just know it was because of the staff.”
Miami Springs wants land that is part of the airport business district west to the Palmetto Expressway but city officials disclosed at the Feb. 25 council meeting that they no longer sought the Florida East Coast Railway property.
“There is no need for Miami Springs to entertain FEC property,” said City Attorney Jan Seiden, who added that the railroad planned to write a letter supporting annexation should they be excluded.
Miami Springs has successfully annexed land in the past, including areas that include George T. Baker Aviation and the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Virginia Gardens and Medley have been working closely with Miami Springs so that the four-city agreement, Doral included, continues to move forward.
“This goes back 12 years,” said Virginia Gardens mayor Spencer Deno. “We were told by the county commission not to come back until all four cities agreed.”
Deno added that the cities finally agreed about three years ago.
“We need to meet two conditions: keep the borders the same and lower the millage rate while having the least impact on businesses,” said Deno.
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.
“This is ready to be approved by the county commission,” Medley town attorney Michael Pizzi said at a Feb. 19 special meeting to discuss annexation. “It will provide a substantial increase in revenue to Medley and it may help lower the tax base.”
Pizzi called the meeting a “special update” to keep leaders abreast of the town’s plans.
“You are not going to vote for another month,” said Pizzi.