Kendall’s most influential community voice — the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations (KFHA) — has organized a “grassroots” appeal of a U.S. Indian Bureau decision to place a Kendale Lakes golf course under the Miccosukee Indian Tribal Land Trust.
Accompanied by protesting petitions of residents, Miami-Dade County filed a legal appeal on Jan. 24 claiming a 2012 Bureau action was invalid due to a 99-year covenant protecting abutting residential properties.
Formation of a half-dozen committees from legal procedures and impact on real estate to daily picketing of the club’s property got underway after a special Feb. 11 KFHA meeting explored the appeal process.
With several in the audience holding handmade “No Casino” signs, more than 100 residents raised their hands when Miles Moss asked for a straw vote of support for the appeal.
“Any not in favor?” Moss asked.
No hand was raised.
Moss, together with Kendale Lakes resident Aster Mohamed, directed a January petition campaign amassing 1,351 signatures in two weeks to accompany the formal appeal by the county of the Aug. 24 federal action.
“My latest count is now 1,496 so we will be over 1,500 with those who have already signed petitions tonight,”Mohamed announced. “We will continue the campaign to file more petitions to show how the people who live there feel.”
Mohamed and Moss said they deplored the absence of communication by the Bureau with residents before taking action, also noting approval by 75 percent votes of county commissioners and property owners was needed to change existing covenants of any property located within 150 feet of the golf course land.
Residents expressed fear that designating the property as tribal land could result in building a casino, hotel or condominium without county zoning control, although the Tribe has expressed its intention to maintain the property as a golf club.
KFHA president Michael Rosenberg, who opened the session, said, “We asked for both county and congressional representatives to attend this meeting and explain what is going on and why. No one has appeared, as you can see. We asked the Tribal Council Secretary’s office for two weeks to send someone to explain their side of the story. They kept saying ‘yes, yes’ until today when they said ‘no’ because an emergency situation had arisen and no one could attend.”
Moss later noted, “The action on which this decision was made to give total control of the club property was made in 2003, just two years after the Miccosukee Tribe purchased the property in 2001. So in effect, this decision in 2012 was suddenly made nine years after the original request, without notice to the public.
“In addition, we have no idea at this time when this appeal will be heard,” Moss added. “The county attorney’s office is unable to give us some kind of date for when and how the appeal will take place. It’s an incredible situation.
“ Moss who has been in the forefront of several Kendall efforts to overturn unpopular decisions likened “this issue to the same fight we had to deny building a new prison in West Kendall over 10 years ago, and the most effective weapon we had then was to picket.”
If the current county attorney’s appeal is denied by the Bureau, Moss said Kendale Lakes residents could consider appealing in Federal District Court.
He noted that District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata had been contacted by KFHA, asking to sponsor a resolution for the county commission to co-file such an appeal, if proven necessary. A representative of newly elected U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia has volunteered to help with additional action needed by KFHA, Moss added.