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Opa-locka commissioners settle on land they want to annex

During a meeting on Wednesday, the Opa-locka City Commission unanimously agreed to submit an application to the county to annex two parcels of land.

The first parcel of land that the city is looking at, known as “annexation area A,” is in the area of Northwest 135th Street to the Gratigny Parkway and Northwest 47th Avenue.

“Annexation area B” is in the area of Northwest 127th Street to Northwest 107th Street and Northwest 37th Avenue to Northwest 27th Avenue.

The areas proposed for annexation will expand the city’s boundaries from 4.5 square miles to 5.9 square miles.

According to a study commissioned by the city, the annexation of the land would have a minimal impact on citywide services since the newer areas are mainly industrial.

However, annexation still might mean extra policing required to patrol the areas.

The city hopes to expand its borders, acquire industrial and commercially zoned land, and increase tax revenue, according to city documents.

“It started off with a study, and as a result some initiatives were laid out that require meetings with various commissioners and meetings with various business owners that would be affected by the recommendation before you all,” City Manager Kelvin Baker said to the council.

Several of those business owners spoke out against the annexation of area B at the meeting, saying they wanted more information about being annexed and that they were wary about the tax rate associated with being part of Opa-locka as opposed to remaining unincorporated.

Commissioner Dorothy Johnson asked Baker to continue an open dialogue with local business owners, homeowners associations and residents who may be impacted by the change as the city explores annexation.

After the application is submitted, it will go through an approval process with various departments and boards in the county before the commission can give the final green light for annexation.

This process can take a while, according to Michael Pizzi, chairman of the county’s annexation and incorporation task force.

Pizzi said on Thursday that some annexation proposals, like ones submitted by Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens, have been going through the process for close to five years.

“It’s a long process,” Pizzi said. “This is a long and hard process. The hard work is ahead of them, and it could take years.”

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