Opa-locka commissioners delay decision on trucking terminal

02/14/2013 5:04 PM

02/14/2013 5:05 PM

Opa-locka commissioners postponed a vote Wednesday on whether to approve a new tractor-trailer terminal in the city after a group of neighboring residents objected to the project.

Zepol Holdings wants to build the terminal on 6.2 acres in the 3300 block of Northwest 135th Street. The site is now slated for commercial use, such as retail stores or offices, in the city’s master plan. But the owner wants the City Commission to change the zoning to industrial, which would allow the terminal.

The site would serve as an import/export distribution facility for goods going to and from the Port of Miami.

Neighboring properties include other industrial sites as well as a school and a church, with some homes and apartments nearby .

Commissioner Timothy Holmes, who sponsored the change, said that the terminal will create jobs.

But about a dozen neighborhood residents asked commissioners to reject the plan.

Johnnie Mae Greene said the stop would bring noise, traffic and pollution to her neighborhood.

“We are saying no to this once again,” Greene said. “No to the truck stop.”

One resident spoke in favor for the site. John Bryant said he has lived the community for over 30 years and agreed with Holmes that the terminal would be good for Opa-locka.

“This will bring much-needed revenue and jobs to Opa-locka,” Bryant said. “I stand in support for this.”

The City Commission delayed action after commissioners Dorothy Johnson and Luis Santiago questioned how the terminal would create jobs. They asked for more information about the site, its benefits to residents, and whether approval would amount to illegal spot zoning.

“Spot zoning” exists when a city zones a single spot for a use different from the land around it — such as a commercial site surrounded by single-family homes. If neighbors were to sue a city over a claim of spot zoning, they might win if they could show the zoning helps the spot’s private owner at the expense of the rest of the community.

In other action, the commission approved financing of a new street-sweeping vehicle, which will cost $48,015.48 per year for five years, with an annual maintenance cost of $12,000.

The next city council meeting will be Feb. 27. Those who cannot make the council meeting can view live by clicking on the OPA-TV tab on Opalockafl.gov.

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