Key Biscayne

Miami-Dade Commission to consider Boat Show permit

A rendering of the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key
A rendering of the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key

The saga between Key Biscayne, the city of Miami and the Miami International Boat Show will travel to county hall Tuesday when county commissioners consider an environmental permit that would allow one of the largest marine trade shows in the country to be hosted on Virginia Key.

County regulators have recommended that commissioners grant a Class I permit requested by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Subject to annual reviews, the permit would allow for the installation and break-down of a temporary, 830-slip docking facility in the Marine Stadium Basin over a 90-day period. The permit will be good for three years, and will also allow the show’s operators to run water taxis from seven locations, including the FEC slip next to the AmericanAirlines Arena.

County commissioners have been asked to grant a variance to allow floating exhibitors’ tents as part of the event.

The city of Miami and the National Marine Manufacturers Association have been tangled in litigation for months with the village of Key Biscayne over plans to move the Boat Show — held for decades on Miami Beach — to Virginia Key. Village officials question the city’s roughly $23 million project to create an event space near the Marine Stadium, and believe traffic to the show will jam the Rickenbacker Causeway and harm the environment. Boat Show representatives say they’ve taken numerous steps to ensure neither will be the case.

Though litigation continues, Boat Show representatives plan to begin preparing for the event in a matter of weeks. They are still seeking approval for a separate permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.