Land tagged for commercial use, now open for residential

A triangular-shaped parcel of land fronting Kendall Drive, previously limited to commercial development, now may be rezoned for new housing, based on a recent Miami-Dade County Commission vote lifting a Declaration of Restriction.

By revising the covenant the commission removed a residential development ban formerly prohibited by a restriction within the Urban Development Boundary.

The 38-plus-acre site lies on the south side of Kendall Drive, west of SW 167th Avenue and immediately east of a still non-existent SW 172nd Avenue.

New zoning approval would allow development of up to 546 homes, depending upon future planning of its ownership, Kendall Investors 172 LLC.

The entity was formed by the Brown Development Group of Miami. Its principals, David and Victor Brown, have been active in West Kendall commercial building during the past 20 years.

The Browns most recently built and opened a $32 million Kendall 162 Plaza at SW 163rd Avenue as well as the Kendall 124 Plaza, just north of Kendall Drive at SW 124th Avenue opposite Kendall Village Center.

The Browns had sought approval for a business zoning for the 172nd Avenue parcel zoned originally for agricultural purposes, but met sharp opposition during public hearings in 2006-09 during proposed Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) changes effecting the UDB.

Despite opposition, the change for business purposes was approved by county commissioners as a revision of the CDMP and the application weathered court challenges, a mayoral veto and reviews by the state during the past two and one-half years.

During that time, the Browns had maintained that the size of the parcel would not justify its use for a housing project and a covenant carried a restriction for use only as a commercial or business development.

However, on May 16, the Miami-Dade Commission lifted the no-housing restriction at the request of the Browns, a decision that now opens development for residential construction in addition to commercial building.

Efforts to reach Brown for comment on future plans were unsuccessful prior to publication deadline.

Commissioner Dennis Moss was the sole member of the 13-member commission to oppose the change in status for the parcel, declaring he was unaware that there was a need for new residential land.

During the commission discussion, Moss refuted assistant planning director Mark Woerner who indicated “things have simply changed” since the need for new land for residential housing is now pegged by the year 2021.

When Brown sought and was approved for the CDMP change in 2010, he then said, “the reason for proceeding was to develop a plan for the extension of SW 172nd Avenue where it cuts through the property,” adding a nine- to 12-month period would be needed to adapt new platting for site locations of proposed commercial buildings. The property had been re-designated by county commissioners in 2008 by the CDMP covenant specifying accommodation only of commercial use.

The formal wording of the May 16 action was to “Release and Delete the Current Declaration of Restriction that prohibits residential development on the 42 (gross) acre application area from the Restriction Table in the Land Use Covenant,” referencing a 74-page CDMP approved for Kendall Investors 172 LLC.

In West Kendall, the UDB roughly parallels Krome Avenue southward from US 27 to SW Eighth St. before it begins meandering eastward to SW 164th Street. Only agricultural use or residential building on five acre sites is permitted outside the UDB.

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