New zoning establishing a Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport District to expedite commercial development by the county’s Aviation Department was approved by West Kendall’s Community Council on Nov. 20.
The council voted 5-2 to change three existing airport zoning designations on two properties to a GP (General Property) classification, administered by the Miami-Dade County Commission and the Aviation Department. Previous designations were AU (agricultural), GU (interim) and IU-C (industrial).
Former chair Patricia S. Davis and Beatrice Suarez objected to the changes since they now will exclude council review of all zoning applications on the entire 1,386.91 acres of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport unless it is an exception to GP permitted uses.
“If approved, does this mean we’ll have no more say about what type of business or restaurant will go there?” Davis asked of Aviation Planning director Jose A. Ramos, who turned the query over to attorney Dennis Kerbel.
Dory Dawes, an officer with the Country Walk Homeowners Association, also questioned Ramos, saying, “Our concern is for the effect this may have in regard to traffic and other issues this change will make.”
Creating a General Property zone puts determining uses directly under the county commission, Kerbel said, adding, “Any change would only come before you if it involved some use not permitted in the district.
The department’s application for a district covers all airport property between SW 120th and SW 136th streets, between SW 137th and and SW 157th avenues.
Major uses permitted in the GP district include lodgings such as hotels and motels; office buildings including manufacturing, research and development, and machine shops; agricultural uses; retail, restaurants and personal service establishments.
Effectively, the ordinance designates the entire airport with the GP zoning category, according to Hilda Castillo, spokesperson for the county’s zoning department. Areas are designated for aviation uses, aviationrelated uses and non-aviation uses are allowed under the county’s land use plan
The 5-2 vote approving action was moved by Vice Chair Miguel A. Diaz and seconded by Joseph E. Delaney with Ileana Vazquez, chair, and two new noard members, Carolina Blanco and Daniel Ojeda concurring.
Ojeda replaced Jeff Wander in SubArea 112 and Blanco replaced Ileana Petisco in SubArea 116. Both were sworn into office during a Nov. 16 orientation meeting for new council members.
Ramos had requested approval of the second of two zoning steps needed to clear the way for a proposed $40 million “Aviation Square” retail complex on two land parcels fronting SW 137th Avenue that abut the south and north sides of the airport at SW 128th Street entrance road.
The developer, who built London Square opposite the north runway of the airport, currently is in negotiations with the Aviation Department to develop the large-scale shopping complex along SW 137th Avenue.
“MDAD is negotiating under the cone of silence for the commercial development of two parcels at the entrance of the airport in a two-step process,” explained Marc T. Henderson, media relations manager.
Transferring current zoning on both parcels into a “GP” District is part of the county’s plan to provide more income-producing revenue on land owned by the county for airport use but not required for current or future operations at the airport, as well as Opa-Locka and Miami International airports.
Amending current zoning to create the new district clears a path for public-private investment partnerships with WMD Tamiami LLC, an affiliate of Boca Ratonbased Woolbright Corporation.
“The first step was the amendment of the zoning ordinance to add language to allow commercial uses, and site plan review standards. This item went to the board in June 21, 2011,” Henderson said. “Step Two involved the actual rezoning (District Boundary Change) on Nov. 20.
“What might be confusing is that step two has been referred to as ‘rezoning’, but rather it was an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow for the actual rezoning,” Henderson later explained.
Community councils as zoning boards act on all applications within the boundaries of its total SubAreas but its votes are taken prior to final review and recommendations by the county’s Planning Review Board. Subsequent affirming or denial votes are then taken by county commissioners after review of recommendations from all county departments or boards involved.