The battle over the Ludlam Trail won’t be resolved until 2016.
Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to send a developer’s plan for the former railway to the county’s lengthy master-plan process in the spring, a decision that should send the matter back to the commission in February 2016.
The unanimous vote means a more extensive planning and hearing process for deciding what to do with a 6.2-mile stretch of land that runs between Dadeland Mall and Miami International Airport. Preservationists want to make it a grassy ribbon of parkland for hikers and cyclists, and object to some of the development plans proposed by owner Florida East Coast Industries.
Before the vote, the project was heading for a quicker hearing process, with a final vote expected in May. Now the process would start in May, leaving more leeway for community-planning meetings known as charrettes.
“It gives us more time, so the charrettes won’t be rushed,” said Commissoiner Daniella Levine Cava.
At issue is what to do with a ribbon of land that was once home to track for a freight railroad that looped around Miami. FECI wants permission to have dense clusters of development at certain points along the trail, with the rest designed as green space. Preservationists want more restrictions to preserve the land for a public park.
The 72-acre corridor is one of the largest undeveloped tracts left in the county. FECI needs a change in the county’s land-use plan to pursue its development, and Miami-Dade would resolve the trail issue as part of that process.