Homestead - South Dade

Noisy racetrack wants to block new homes — so residents don’t complain about the noise

Among the events hosted by the Homestead Miami Speedway is the NASCAR Ford Ecoboost 400 race.
Among the events hosted by the Homestead Miami Speedway is the NASCAR Ford Ecoboost 400 race. Miami Herald file 2015

Homestead Miami Speedway is noisy, holds events at night and draws traffic. Its operators are worried that if homes are built nearby, new residents will complain so much that the track could be shut down. So they have petitioned the court to stop a housing development that the Homestead City Commission recently approved.

The Speedway, which sits less than a mile from the planned subdivision and hosts a number of auto races, including a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, appealed the council’s vote by filing a petition this month with the appellate division of the circuit court.

“We are very similar to an airport. If residents move too close to us, they’ll start complaining about noise and traffic, and that will have an adverse effect on our business,” said the Speedway’s vice president, Al Garcia.

The area doesn’t have any homes right now. Its tenants include the Speedway, Homestead Air Reserve Base and a beer warehouse, ringed by the Park of Commerce and commercial, mixed-use and other zoning that provide a buffer between the speedway and homes.

The issue is a development that the City Council approved in May. Developer Wayne Rosen proposed building single family homes in and next to the industrially zoned Park of Commerce. He also asked the city to change the definition of mixed-use so that he wouldn’t have to build a combination of commercial, multi-family and single-family homes, but instead could build any of those categories without building all of them.

The council denied Rosen’s request to build single-family homes in the Park of Commerce and said he would have to build apartments. Fifteen percent of the development will have to be rezoned commercial. The council also allowed him to build single-family homes on 70 acres just west of the Park of Commerce, an area that previously did not allow for single-family homes and was not part of Rosen’s proposal.

The city’s ruling didn’t make the Speedway happy. In its petition to the court, the speedway said the city improperly amended its development guidelines, which historically separated residential and industrial uses. Allowing homes to be built close to the speedway without the buffer zone “creates compatibility issues due to the noise and traffic generated by racing and other activities at the Speedway,” the petition said.

“For this reason, HMS has historically opposed any residential development in the Park of Commerce,” the petition said.

HMS says the racetrack has also “invested millions of dollars in infrastructure improvement, and millions more in marketing and promotion, to create and market a world-class sports-entertainment facility. The creation of a residential neighborhood in the Park of Commerce could lead to operational restrictions that adversely impact HMS’ investment.”

“As a chief economic engine producing annually over $301 million dollars in economic benefits to the community, we were left with no choice other than to appeal in order to protect the Speedway from excessive and imprudent “residential encroachment” and overdevelopment that threatened to choke the Speedway and the well-paying job creating center for Homestead residents in the Park of commerce,” Garcia said in an email to the Miami Herald.

“We are in the process of evaluating the petition and responding appropriately on the behalf of the city,” said Richard Weiss, Homestead’s city attorney.

Monique O. Madan: 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan