Hollywood residents urge Miami-Dade cities to join in anti-blasting petition

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 0 Comments

Hollywood residents urge Miami-Dade cities to join in anti-blasting petition

Fed up with damages to residential properties allegedly caused by the rock mining industry’s blasting, the residents of Riviera Isles in Hollywood launched a petition drive to cease the operations, and they are calling on other cities also affected by the explosions to join their campaign. 

According to the petition, Riviera Isles residents are asking cities such as Miami Lakes, Sunset Falls, Sunset Lakes, Country Club Ranches, Miramar and unincorporated Palm Springs North to be part of the crusade to once and for all put a stop to White Rock Quarries’ blasting operations that are used to make materials for road and building construction.

They claim the operations are causing severe structural damages to their homes and ruining their quality of life. 

“The frequency and the impact of the rock mining blasting have increased over time,” the petition states. “It’s like living in a war zone.”

So far, the petition has netted 1,850 signatures, needing a total of 2,500 to be certified and subsequently sent to Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who regulates blasting through the Fire Marshall Office, and State Representative Manny Diaz. Atwater officially resigned from his post on June 30th. 

Though representatives from the Fire Marshall Office said the rock mining industry is blasting within federal and state guidelines, exasperated residents said the explosions are causing cracks in their homes, driveways and pools; broken light bulbs and windows; and damages to their roofs.

In June, Miami Lakes hosted a town hall meeting, where the equally frustrated residents turned to officials from the state’s Fire Marshall Office in hopes of ceasing the damages to their properties.     

In an effort to find some solutions to the homeowners’ problem, the state has allocated $325,000 to study the impact of blasting and determine if the rules need to be changed to prevent more property damages. 

Before Diaz, State Representative Jose Oliva and State Senator Rene Garcia secured the funding for the blasting study, residents in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, had formed their own solutions to prevent further property damages. 

Some cities in Broward, including Miramar, created Blasting Citizen Advisory Committees to update state elected officials on the conditions of their homes following explosions and propose some resolutions. 

They also pushed for Scott to step in and save their properties from the blasting, even going as far as traveling to Tallahassee and waiting for him in front of his office.

Miami Lakes’ elected officials worked with Diaz, Oliva and Garcia which culminated in the funding for the blasting study, but they also paid a visit to the State Capitol to express their anger to the Fire Marshall Office over their blasting-ravaged properties. 

At the town hall meeting in Miami Lakes, officials from the Fire Marshall Office told residents they can file a suit under the Homeowners Protection Act if blasting caused damages to their properties. 

Residents claims would be heard during the Division of Administration Hearings and an administrative judge would decide rather homeowners would be compensated for the damages.
A northwest Miami-Dade resident said another claims process is unfair to homeowners since the rock mining industry is the judge and jury on a homeowner’s claim. 

“They pick the inspectors to come to our homes and they say the cracks and damages happened because your home is settling,” she said.  

One Miramar resident said the effects of blasting led him to put his house up for sale but the rock miners’ operations have scared away potential buyers.

Those interested in signing the petition can visit https://www.change.org/p/gov-rick-scott-no-more-blasting-near-residential-areas-enough-is-enough

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