Miami-Dade County

Key Biscayne sues county over boat show at Marine Stadium

Video: Aerial view of the 2016 Miami International Boat Show

More than 25,000 people a day are expected to attend the Miami International Boat Show at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin Marine Stadium on Virginia Key.
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More than 25,000 people a day are expected to attend the Miami International Boat Show at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin Marine Stadium on Virginia Key.

The Village of Key Biscayne has filed another lawsuit over the Miami International Boat Show. This time, it’s taking the county to court.

The lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court earlier this week, claims Miami-Dade County violated its own development rules when it approved the boat show’s plans for the Marine Stadium. The lawsuit states the area in question is designated by the county for “parks and recreation” use, which doesn’t match the commercial nature of the boat show.

In fact, the lawsuit says, the boat show’s presence at Marine Stadium ends up excluding the public from Virginia Key Historic Beach, and recreational boaters are pushed out of the area as well. Although the main boat show events are limited to Feb. 11-15, event organizers are allowed to use the area for up to three-and-a-half months, the suit says.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In an interview, Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay said the boat show was already successful at its previous location at the Miami Beach Convention Center. There’s no need for the event to occupy public waterfront park space, she said.

“There are many, many venues in Miami-Dade County where they would do extremely well,” the mayor said.

But boat show officials have called the Marine Stadium location a “resounding success.”

Earlier this week, executives with the National Marine Manufacturers Association said attendance at this year’s boat show topped 100,000 visitors — up 4 percent from last year at the convention center, despite poor weather on Monday.

The village of Key Biscayne is also suing the city of Miami over the boat show. A judge will hear arguments next month on whether to dismiss that case.

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