River Cities Gazette

Miami Springs

Miami-Dade County responds to Miami Springs lawsuit over parking lot


Special to the Miami Herald

The six Miami Springs residents who are trying to stop a city referendum scheduled for Tuesday should not have waited until the last minute before filing suit, Miami-Dade County said in its response to the litigation.

The referendum asks city voters for approval to sell a parking lot next to the Miami Springs Golf Course. The City Commission wants to sell the 10,299-square-foot lot to a developer, who would build a hotel.

Resident John McCarty and five other plaintiffs say the referendum violates the city charter. All six live on the golf course.

The lawsuit names Miami-Dade County Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley and the city of Miami Springs as defendants.

The county filed an answer on March 31. While taking no position on the substance of the suit, Townsley, through Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal, argues that the residents waited too long to file. They filed suit on March 28, which was less than two weeks before the election.

At a special meeting held March 31, the Miami Springs city council voted 5-0 to authorize a private attorney to represent the city. As of Wednesday evening, the city has not answered the complaint.

The city charter requires that the sale of golf course land, which was purchased from the city of Miami in 1997, must be approved by the voters through a referendum.

This question will appear on the ballot:

“Shall the city council be authorized to sell and rezone the 10,299 square foot (less than a quarter of an acre) of golf course property adjacent to the former James Medical Clinic currently under license agreement as a parking area to proposed contract purchasers for $115,000?”

The special election is scheduled to take place Tuesday at the city’s community center, 1401 Westward Dr. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As of Thursday, no hearing date had been scheduled regarding the lawsuit.

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