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Miami Shores

Miami Shores wants to annex ‘Kmart corner’

Miami Shores is working on plans to annex the area around the Kmart at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 108th Street.

The area, known as the “Kmart corner,” runs roughly from 105th to 108th streets and from Biscayne to 12th Avenue. The areas just west and south already are in the village.

The area contains no homes, but the village would need the approval of a majority of the four affected property owners — Kmart, Chase Bank, and the landowners of a vacant plot behind the bank and of the land occupied by Busy Bee Car Wash.

According to a study commissioned by the village, annexing the area would result in a net gain in revenues for the village after considering the amount generated versus the cost of services.

But the another reason for the annexation is Kmart’s uncertain future. The national retailer has struggled in recent years, having gone through bankruptcy and store closings. Village Manager Tom Benton said that by annexing the parcel, the village would be able to gain zoning oversight over the parcel, which would give the village more say into what replaces the store if it closes.

“We don’t know what the long-term plan is for the Kmart area over there but we continue to hear rumblings about that branch closing, sometimes we hear it is going to stay … but [annexation] would give us control over that parcel there which would be a direct entrance way into our community,” Benton said.

As part of the process, the village must notify people within 600 feet of the property, and hold public hearings about the annexation. Miami-Dade County also would have to approve. However, Benton said the village would hold informal discussions with the property owners to court them and should the majority of the owners express dissent in the project, formal proceedings would be halted.

Should there be dissent among the property owners, it would most likely be because of the village’s municipal tax rate, which is among the highest in the county. The village charges $8.69 per $1,000 in taxable home value. The equivalent taxes for municipal services from Miami-Dade County come to about $2.10 per $1,000 in taxable home value.

But the village says there are a number of advantages for the property owner. Benton said the property values of areas that have been annexed into Miami Shores have risen after they became part of the village.

In addition, the property owners would be able to access the village’s services. At the Village Council’s Jan. 21 meeting, Councilman Hunt Davis said the county’s response times to that area take between 20 minutes and four hours while the village police have a response time of one to three minutes.

Also at the Jan. 21 meeting, the council:

• Unanimously approved decommissioning several parking meters located in front of the Village’s Rockway Library; the meters will be painted by children from local schools and proceeds from the meters will benefit the library.

• Unanimously approved a measure to allow the village to submit a bid to provide sanitation services to the neighboring village of Biscayne Park. The council said this will not affect the sanitation services Miami Shores residents receive currently and will provide the village with a new source of revenue.

Miami Shores now provides recycling services to Biscayne Park and has made a profit providing these services.

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