Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

What will surround Dolphins stadium? A city wants more control

Miami Gardens wants more control of development around Dolphin stadium.
Miami Gardens wants more control of development around Dolphin stadium.

Nearly two years after suing Miami-Dade County over building rights at New Miami Stadium, Miami Gardens plans to take the issue to voters and to a resolution.

The City Council voted Wednesday to change language in the city charter that deals with building and zoning control at the stadium and surrounding properties. It will give the city and the county joint control over zoning in the area. Any zoning applications would have to be processed through the city.

Mayor Oliver Gilbert has said fighting for the zoning rights centered on the city’s efforts to continue developing the stadium area with new businesses.

“This body has more permissive zoning than the county does, so we actually allow more,” Gilbert said. “When you allow more, you can do more. You can do more development.”

The proposed agreement will also transfer some properties surrounding the stadium from the county to the city.

This resolution comes after several public and private meetings between the City Council, County Commission and their legal teams. The issue appeared close to settlement in September 2014 when the county gave tentative approval to the city to control building and zoning in the stadium area but not on the stadium property itself.

Additional discussion led to a tense public meeting last December at which the County Commission voted to resolve the issue and give Miami Gardens some control.

“I was hoping I would not be put in the position where we’d be at this point,” County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who represents Miami Gardens, said at that December meeting. “I don’t see this as rocket science, it’s really an issue of jurisdiction.”

Section 9.6 of the city’s charter, as initially written, states that the stadium properties and the Dolphin Center Development of Regional Impact and all zoning and building approvals, street maintenance and other regulations would fall under the county’s jurisdiction. Miami Gardens argued in its July 2014 lawsuit that the date in the charter of Dec. 31, 2012, was the deadline for the city to be granted development control.

The area in question is referred as the Dolphin Center Development of Regional Impact and contains the area surrounding the stadium, on Northwest 199th Street and Northwest 27th Avenue, and going east toward the Florida Turnpike.

Both parties will now work to create an ordinance and separately approve it. Miami Gardens voters will make their decision on the new language during the Aug. 30 election.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3