Miami Beach

Bayshore residents: Construction trucks along Meridian Avenue a nuisance

Bayshore residents have grown concerned with activity at a corner of the Miami Beach Golf Club after the city raised the terrain and allowed a local contractor to use the space as a storage area.

On city land at the corner of 28th Street and Meridian Avenue, behind a maintenance building, a swath of land has been filled in with new soil and raised in recent months. Then the city allowed Bergeron Land Development, the contractor on drainage and road improvement projects on Alton Road and West Avenue, to use the land as a staging area with office trailers and storage of construction equipment.

Mihaly Lenart, who lives on Meridian Avenue, said the neighborhood was not notified of the work, and the trucks coming through — first with dirt to dump, then to and from Bergeron’s construction sites, have caused a nuisance.

“They start at 6 a.m. every single day,” he said. “Even on the weekend. One time, they even brought dirt at 2 a.m.”

The site has an unsavory history. From the 1980s through the early 2000s, the city operated what’s called a “stash site” there, or a temporary dump for waste before it would get picked up and trucked off the island.

In 2005, after county environmental officials fined the city for running a dump without a permit, Miami Beach was allowed to open a “green waste” facility there, where residents could dispose of their yard and tree clippings. That facility is still there.

Public works director Eric Carpenter said that the county Division of Environmental Resource Management recently asked the Beach to cap the ground contaminated from years of waste with two feet of clean fill — a typical approach to creating a barrier between clean and contaminated soil.

“We’d gotten some direction from the county environmental resources management folks that they wanted to see a cap on that site, which means you had to put two feet of fill material on top of what was existing out there,” he said. “The two feet of clean fill that we put on top was from a source area in Broward County because apparently we couldn’t find anything in Dade County that met the clean fill requirements that they wanted for the cap.”

Rabbi Solomon Schiff, who has lived on Meridian for years, said he’s put up with the nuisance of the stash site before, and now with construction equipment rumbling by early in the mornings and on some evenings.

“It’s a nuisance with all the trucks going around in the middle of the night, going up and down,” he said.

Carpenter said there has been no formal agreement to limit hours when Bergeron can travel up and down the street. Having the contractor there, he said, helps keep construction projects moving quickly — particularly on West Avenue, where a private property owner asked the Bergeron to leave.

He added that the contractor is subject to the noise ordinance, and the city has asked Bergeron to be mindful of residents.

“We had a conversation with the contractor asking them to try to be good neighbors,” he said.

There’s also been confusion on what will happen once Bergeron is no longer using the area later this year. In an email exchange between Lenart and city engineer Bruce Mowry in mid-November, Mowry told Lenart the city plans to build an operational center for the parks department on the land.

On Tuesday, Carpenter told the Miami Herald a preliminary concept for a parks building had been discussed at the city level at the time of that correspondence, but officials have since determined that the zoning would not allow for it. He said there are currently no plans to build on that land.

“The property, ultimately, is not planned for anything other than a green waste facility,” he said. “I know there were some rumors flying around about building a big building on that property. Right now, that’s not consistent with the zoning of the city. So the city couldn’t do that without going through a rezoning, which, it’s my understanding, would require a referendum.”

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