Miami Dade County Community Forum

Friday, December 10, 2010

News on the Miami River: District Court Affirms "Working River" Opinions

After nearly seven years of litigation brought by the marine industry and neighbors together against the City and developers over three high-rise condominium developments on the Miami River, today the District Court affirmed its earlier opinions that the massive condominiums were approved in violation of the City’s comprehensive plan.

Plaintiffs the Miami River Marine Group, Captain Beau Payne, Ann Stetser and the Durham Park Neighborhood Association retained attorney Andrew Dickman in 2004 when the City approved developments “Hurricane Cove,” Coastal of the River,” and “Brisas Del Rio” in the vicinity of the 22nd Ave Bridge. All together, these project would have changed 25 acres of prime marine industrial property to high-rise residential. After disappointing losses at the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, the plaintiffs and attorney Andrew Dickman appealed to the Third District Court of Appeal. The District Court, in 2007, struck down the approved projects but the developers quickly motioned the District Court for a rehearing. The opinions rendered today deny the developers’ motions.

The three opinions, collectively 302 pages, including dissents, buttress a recent settlement arising from litigation between the Florida Department of Community Affairs and the Miami River Marine Group against the City. The City, under its prior leadership, had attempted to re-write its comprehensive plan to downgrade the Miami River working waterfront by encouraging more residential development that would displace marine uses. The settlement approved by Mayor Regalado and the new City Commission emphasizes preservation of working waterfront properties, promoting the Port of Miami River to expand the City’s employment base, and progressive collaboration among all the Miami River stakeholders, marine and non-marine alike.

The opinions and the settlement now position the Miami River as a world class destination for shallow draft shipping, mega yacht repairs, local marinas, and the host of related businesses that support a working waterfront of this caliber.

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