Aventura - Sunny Isles

Neighbors, developer at odds over increased traffic near proposed apartment complex

A rendering of Gables Aventura from the Gables Residential website.
A rendering of Gables Aventura from the Gables Residential website. Gables Residential

Development of a 400-unit, luxury apartment complex in Ojus has led to a dispute between nearby residents, Miami-Dade County and the developer.

The project, to be called Gables Aventura, is set to be built on a lot south of Northeast 203rd Street and west of Biscayne Boulevard in unincorporated Northeast Miami-Dade. It is being developed by a company called Gables Residential.

Uri Man, Gables Residential’s acting area vice president, met with neighbors on Oct 29 to listen to their concerns.

The neighbors told Man that they fear the project will worsen the community’s already-heavy traffic, especially during peak hours on Ives Dairy Road and Northeast 26th Avenue.

“We, as the residents, have a tremendous amount of traffic here,” resident Pat Mikus said. “And now with [Gables Residential] increasing the traffic here –– with other future development plans for the area –– is just egregious.”

Before Gables Residential took over, a previous development company called Aventura Crossings owned the lot and tried to built a similar apartment complex. Miami-Dade County approved the plan before Aventura Crossings sold the land to Gables Residential in 2007.

The Aventura Crossing plan showed major entrances and exits along West Dixie Highway. Under Gables Residential, those access points were moved to Northeast 26th Avenue. Also, the original plan received land-use variances leaving entrances and exit points of the complex to the discretion of the developer, according to Eric Silva, the county’s senior zoning chief.

On Nov. 12, the area’s community council met in Highland Oaks Park and discussed the proposed entrance and exit changes.

The community council must approve a covenant change to allow the entrances and exits to be moved.

Mikus said that plan to move the entrances and exits to Northeast 26th Avenue is less palatable to neighbors than the original West Dixie Highway plan.

The vote was deferred to next community council meeting on Dec 10, until after a traffic study is completed.

Although some residents agree with Man’s proposed changes, others raised safety concerns about traffic along 26th Avenue.

“I’m a father, I have children, and I love them, and 26th Avenue is such a dangerous place already,” said Jan Olofsan, who lives in a house along the roadway. “I invite the county to see how many kids are walking from school.”

Many residents, including Mikus, say they were “blindsided” by Gables Aventura’s proposed changes.

“Residents were under the impression that the county could not give a developer site plan approval without consulting with them first,” Man said.

Silva, the zoning chief, said that once the new plan was submitted, the county approved it. “There were no variances. They met the code, so we approved it. The code doesn’t specify whether the access is on 26th Avenue or Dixie Highway,” he said.