Consolidating County services closer to residents is critical to building Miami-Dade of the future

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Miami-Dade County is committed to investing in the infrastructure we need to ensure our community’s continued growth and prosperity.
Streamlining the planning and permitting process is critical to our long-term success – that’s why consolidating County services in acentral, accessible place has been a key goal of County leaders and
the development community.

Consolidation of County departments at the 9250 West Flagler
building will bring together critical county services in one centrally-
located site. This move will provide significantly greater access and
convenience for residents and businesses, and more seamlessly
integrate the pieces of the development process as we work to build
a more modern, livable Miami-Dade.

25 years ago, the County debated the consolidation of the then-
Building Department’s operations to a shopping center in west
Miami-Dade, in order to provide greater convenience to residents
and businesses who were required to travel downtown for permit
services. That move – although contested at the time – proved to be
a springboard for major modernization and improvement of the
permitting process. The County built an in-house permitting system
offering a transparent, tracked, and timed process that is requested
for use by other jurisdictions.

While the move to West Dade was a clear win, we know today that it
was incomplete to meet the needs of our rapidly growing
community. In 2024, the desire for mixed-used developments and
walkable neighborhoods with nearby services and amenities has
sparked infill activity across Miami-Dade – increasing the desirability
of our neighborhoods and triggering economic growth. Yet the suite
of permitting services that make proper infill possible do not exist in
our West Dade facility.
These developments cannot be supported by septic tanks. They
cannot safely occur on contaminated brownfields. And they must be
supported by adequately designed public spaces. These vital pieces
to modern development are just as essential as building permitting
– but they are currently housed outside the permitting center. Co-
locating Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER)
functions including planning, zoning, building and environmental
permitting, code enforcement, and more alongside departments
including Water and Sewer, Fire Rescue, and others at the 9250
West Flagler building, as currently proposed, will finally service the
community in one location.

This will significantly streamline the approval process for our partners
in development, which must navigate our regulatory services to build
our neighborhoods and community. It will also offer much greater
access and convenience for residents who have attempted to
expand their existing businesses or improve their homes, only to be
told that they have to drive downtown from our western permit center
to obtain a particular approval.

Co-locating key functions streamlines our operations, saving time
and taxpayer dollars. And moving essential services from leased
space to space owned and operated by the county is a fiscally smart
long-term investment that will save the County hundreds of millions
of dollars over time and accrue significant equity. The acreage
available at this facility also offers important possibilities for future
planning – including space to build much-needed housing – and the
flexibility to scale and adapt services as our population continues to
grow. We need adequate space to invest in modernizing our
infrastructure, such as building electric vehicle charging infrastructure
to support our ambitious goals of electrifying the fleet. The facility
offers room to create the 15-minute EV charging stations that will
ensure our fleet can charge efficiently.

Finally, when it comes to cost, the re-negotiated purchase price of
9250 at $291 per square foot is competitive and below market price
in our highly competitive real estate market.

To ensure that County government can meet the needs of our
growing population now and in the years ahead, we need to

streamline our operations to create greater efficiency and
predictability for the development community. Centralized permitting
and business licensing services is good for our residents, good for
our businesses and good for our future.

Lourdes Gomez is the Director of Miami-Dade County’s Department of
Regulatory and Economic Resources

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