Miami Shores is moving forward with plans to annex commercial property on Biscayne Boulevard near Northeast 108th Street.
The area is home to three businesses: Kmart, a Chase bank and the Busy Bee Car Wash. The land runs between 105th and 108th streets and does not contain any homes.
On Tuesday, after discovering that the village does not need the property owners’ approval to annex the land, the council unanimously agreed to move forward.
An earlier village study showed that the addition would generate more in tax revenue than it would cost to provide services to the businesses.
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“It will help us not to have to raise millage and provide us with working revenue,” said Village Manager Tom Benton. “If there was a large building constructed on it, maybe at that time we could lower our rate and then taxpayers could benefit from it.”
Benton discussed annexation informally with the property owners after being told by the county that a rule would soon require them to give the commercial property owners an opportunity to vote on whether or not they wanted to be annexed into village.
Two of the property owners, from the Chase bank and Busy Bee Car Wash, were against the idea. The likely reason: The village's tax rate is the third-highest in the county. The village charges $8.64 per $1,000 in taxable home value. The equivalent taxes for municipal services from Miami-Dade County come to about $2.21 per $1,000 in taxable home value.
But the council discovered that the county failed to pass their ordinance requiring commercial property approval.
The final decision on the annexation, that will round out part of the Shores’ north and east borders, will be left up to the county commission.
“I know that this may be unpopular with some of the business owners in the area,” said Councilman Hunt Davis. “But I think there are some benefits to the community we need to consider.”
Davis thinks the area eventually will be redeveloped and would rather have their community decide on how the area gets redeveloped instead of the county.
Other council members were in favor of the addition of the area to Miami Shores, which would include a grocery store that is currently planned for a small section of the property.
“This is a potential site for redevelopment,” said Councilman Jim McCoy. He emphasized, however, that nothing was for certain. “But there’s a pretty good likelihood that this site with its acreage and lack of performance out of this particular store sets it up.”
The next step for the village will be to notify residents within 600 feet of the property of the public hearing.
“The property owners will be notified, of course, of this and they’ll have an opportunity to come and have a chance to speak,” said Councilwoman Ivonne Ledesma.
The first public hearing will most likely be held at the beginning of the new year because of the holidays and the council’s planned recess. Benton said the process could take up to a year.
“We want to make sure that people have enough time to get the notice,” said Benton. “We want to be fair to everybody.”
Miami Shores’ representative on the county commission, Audrey Edmonson, has not yet taken a position on the annexation. According to her office, Edmonson is waiting on a countywide study examining incorporation initiatives before making a decision.
The next Village Council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at 10050 NE Second Ave.