Ludlam Trail project to get second review

Conceptual planning for an acceptable Ludlam Trail “greenway” that runs south from Miami International Airport to the Dadeland North Metrorail station will continue in late April at two public sessions.

Summaries of citizen recommendations for the 6.2-mile Florida East Coast Realty (FECR) held property will be presented by Miami-Dade Planning Department staffers who conducted county commission-ordered charrette workshops in District 6 at Barnes Park, Mar. 2-4, and District 7 on Mar. 9.

“The next step will give residents a review of their ideas based on the initial workshop suggestions before we begin actual design,” said Jess Linn, principal planner for the project. The follow-up meetings are:

District 6: Thursday, Apr 23, 6-9 p.m., at West Miami Middle School, 7525 Coral Way, and

District 7: Wednesday, Apr. 29, 6-9 p.m., at South Miami High School, 6856 SW 53 St.

Planners are working against a fastapproaching deadline to follow a commission resolution directing Mayor Carlos Gimenez to file a county application for the May 2015 Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) cycle, amending the still-pending original FECR design entered in the May 2014 CDMP cycle.

The plan sparked immediate controversy last fall at community council and planning board public hearings when the real estate firm disclosed plans for residential and commercial development within a 75- foot- wide section of the 100-foot-wide former Florida East Coast Railroad rightof- way, leaving a 25-foot width for a biking and pedestrian trail.

Responding to outcries from abutting residents, architects and environmentalists, commissioners decided to take a hand in co-authoring a new plan of its own with citizen participation through amending FECR’s design, based on resident input.

The amending action taken Dec. 4 after a commission public hearing stirred its own controversy when three commissioners dissented putting the county in the position of “co-developing” a CDMP change with private interests, a move Barbara Jordan believed could set an unlawful precedent.

To expedite the process while keeping the action legal, the resolution itself won’t become final until an approving Commission vote on Apr. 21, unless either Mayor Gimenez or commissioners see fit to veto it while the planning effort continues.

“It’s a confusing circumstance,” said Linn whose staff is faced with combining two separate district plans into a single corridor greenway plan that commissioners might successfully adopt for co-development with Florida East Coast Realty, a real estate arm of Florida East Coast Industries.

“We’ve never had one quite like this in my memory,” Linn added.

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