Council creates a blasting Advisory Committee

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 0 Comments

 

Discontent over a study which indicated the rock mining industry is blasting within Florida’s regulations, albeit allegedly causing damages to homes, Miami Lakes has created a committee to push for changes.

Though the state’s Fire Marshall Office regulates blasting, the committee would work with the Miramar Blasting Advisory Committee and other anti-blasting groups to monitor the explosions and residents’ complaints and subsequently recommend changes to state lawmakers in hopes of preventing further damages to residents’ homes, driveways and swimming pools.

Residents in Northwest Miami-Dade said they spent thousands of dollars to repair their homes only for the blasting to cause more problems.    

At the September 4 Town Council meeting, Councilmember Marilyn Ruano proposed the committee to get local residents active and recommend solutions since they disagreed with the blasting study.

“The committee allows the opportunity for residents to be active participants in the solutions,” she said. “We have seen a lot of complaints over the blasting by the rock miners through town hall meetings.”

The blasting has been an uphill battle for residents in Miami Lakes, Palm Springs North and Miramar for years since the explosions make materials to build roads and buildings for federal, state and local governments.

Reportedly, White Rock Quarries has donated a lot of money to state and local lawmakers’ campaigns.    

But the new committee, a legislative blasting task force and a recent case that the rock miners surprisingly lost, may give Miami Lakes and the surrounding areas their best shot at convincing state lawmakers and the Fire Marshall Office to lower the frequency or impact of the blasting. 

Alex Casas, chairman of the Miramar Blasting Advisory Committee, said his group, which was created last year, would work with the Miami Lakes committee.

“A lot of experience and steps as we try to get somewhere with some solutions,” he said. “With your committee, the more people involved the better.”

Casas said residents who are impacted by the blasting would be informed of all recommendations and actions taken by both committees.   

Blasting claims can be heard by the Division of Administrative Hearing (DOAH), where the rock miners lost a case.

According to Casas, White Rock Quarries had defended their blasting against a group of homeowners’ claims that’s similar to a class action lawsuit.

The offices for DOAH ruled that though the blasting may not cause 100 percent of the damages, the explosions cause homes to age rapidly.

“You can sue the rock miners,” Casas said.

Vice Mayor Frank Mingo, who’s running for the state representative, said if elected, blasting is the first issue he wants to tackle.

Mingo said he already has the support of incoming House Speaker Jose Olivia R-Miami Lakes.

“And that’s huge,” he said. “We’ve got to convince the whole state and we need people to drive up to Tallahassee. That would be huge in passing the item.”

A legislative blasting task force created by state Representative Manny Diaz Jr., has recommended several solutions to the blasting problem.

Task force member and Town Councilmember-elect Josh Dieguez, said the group recommended at least 12 changes to Diaz that include how the claims are handled and a different approach the Fire Marshal Office can take when dealing with the rock miners. 

The blasting advisory committee for Miami Lakes would have between 12 and 14 members picked by the mayor and council members and ready to convene sometime this year.

In other Town Council news:

• Following the concerns of the costs for FPL underground utilities in Lake Patricia, Miami Lakes withdrew its proposal to bury the power lines.

Residents said the plan that would cost $50,000 per home was too high and asked council members to drop the idea. 

• Council members approved a resolution to tap artist Rafael Consuegra to create a mural for the Miami Lakes Optimist Park clubhouse in an amount not to exceed $21,000.

• Council members approved a resolution which authorizes the town manager to piggyback US Communities’ contract with Unicom Government Incorporation to purchase license plate recognition cameras in an amount not to exceed $675,000.

• Council members approved a resolution which authorizes the town manager to execute two funding agreements with The Graham Companies to fund the N.W. 67 Avenue widening and Miami Lakes Drive adaptive signalization projects in the amounts of $489,933 and $173,239, respectively.

 

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