Miami Lakes may use legal action for N.W. 59 Avenue land

Thursday, October 4, 2018 0 Comments


Miami Lakes might seek Eminent Domain relief to acquire some land near Opa-locka Airport following the owner’s refusal to sell his property, which stymied the town’s transportation master plan for a connected road and boat storage.

The land at dispute is near N.W. 59 Avenue, where the town is planning to build a road to connect to N.W. 153 Street to alleviate traffic congestion and parking spaces for the storage for residents’ watercraft.

At a special meeting, council members approved hiring an attorney who specializes in Eminent Domain to give lawmakers the pros and cons of the procedure to determine if they want to take the next step.

Eminent Domain is a court proceeding in which a government can force the sale of a property at fair market value for public use or in extreme emergencies. 

The court would ultimately make a decision. 

According to Town Manager Alex Rey, Miami Lakes reached an agreement with Miami-Dade Aviation Department and FDOT to use their portions of the properties.

But the town needs the privately-owned land west of N.W. 57 Avenue to proceed with the transportation master plan.

Rey said the owner rejected the town’s initial offer of $7 million for the property. 

“He had no interest of selling it because he has an emotional attachment to the property,” Rey said.

Rey said the timing of Eminent Domain is crucial to the project’s timetable.

“Construction is set to begin in 2020,” he said.

The property includes a light industrial area for an auto repair shop and several garages, Rey said.

Council members want to proceed with caution and would rather settle the issue outside of court.

“I’m not in favor of Eminent Domain to buy any property,” said Councilmember Nelson Rodriguez. “I don’t believe in taking anyone’s business or property for profit.”

Ceasar Mestre, an attorney who has handled Eminent Domain cases, said Miami Lakes may want to give second thoughts considering the costs.

“The government pays for the court services for both sides and there might be compensation for the loss of the owner’s business,” he  said. “It could get very expensive.”

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