When Miami Gardens voters head to the polls Aug. 30, in addition to the mayoral and City Council races, they’ll be voting on a potential change to the city’s charter that will affect the city’s role in development around Hard Rock Stadium.
Voters will be asked to approve or deny a city charter change that will allow Miami Gardens and the Miami-Dade County Commission to share power over building and zoning at the stadium where the Dolphins play and the surrounding areas. Zoning applications would be processed through the city, and if the City Council denies an application or approves one with conditions the developer disagrees with, the decision can be appealed to the county.
In recent weeks the city has promoted and advertised information on the referendum with the message that “it’s time for us to make our decisions.”
If the measure passes, “For the first time the residents of Miami Gardens, through their elected officials, will have a say in how that area is developed,” Mayor Oliver Gilbert said.
If the charter change passes, it will also settle a July 2014 lawsuit between the city and the county over building rights and over an ambiguous section of the city’s charter.
The settlement agreement includes an extension of the city’s agreement with Hard Rock Stadium to host the Jazz in the Gardens festival for another five years. There’s also an option to extend the agreement to 2026. The agreement also allows the city to purchase fuel for police and city vehicles at a cheaper rate.
Additionally, the proposed agreement will transfer 12 county-owned properties to the city at a cost of $10 each. City officials have said they are considering both housing and commercial uses for the properties depending on if they are on major corridors or in residential areas.
Approval of the ballot item will require a simple majority, one vote more than 50 percent. If the charter change is approved, the city and county will approve a joint ordinance to finalize the decision.