Ludlam Corridor plan heads to couty commisioners

Florida East Coast Realty’s proposal to convert a 6.2-mile former rail corridor for development as a pedestrian bicycle trail with residential and commercial uses is headed for Miami-Dade County Commission action Nov. 19.

If approved for transmittal, the Ludlam Corridor plan will be reviewed next by the South Florida Regional Planning Council as well as several Tallahassee-based boards in December.

In September meetings, East Kendall and North Central community councils voted to approve the measure and transmit the plan for further review by the county Planning Advisory Board. The Westchester Council voted against both the plan and its transmittal.

“That is the process for review for the May 2014 application cycle to change Miami- Dade County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan,” said Garett Rowe, planning supervisor at the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources.

Florida East Coast Realty (FECR) seeks to change its current “transportation” land use to open the abandoned tracks for a park trail that allowing adjacent residential and commercial uses.

After a lengthy session on Oct. 20, the PAB voted 7-4 to approve the plan and transmit it to the county commission which now will conduct its own public hearing.

“For years we urged the county to look into using this tract for park purposes,” said Carla Ascencio-Savola, former East Kendall Community Council 12 chair who now serves on the 19-member board that reviewed a seven-page revised plan by FECR on Oct. 20.

“The best course would be for the county to purchase the corridor property outright for a 100-foot wide greenway with outdoor restaurants and facilities limited to park and trail users,” she added, a view expressed by both community council and board members voting for approval and transmittal.

“Confusion has resulted in the public mind that transmittal means final approval,” Rowe noted following the PAB action. “It’s a part of the legal process involved to continue a CDMP application without zoning changes which must be heard in separate hearings, following a land use change.”

Responding to critics about the confining 100-foot right-of-way width for use other than a greenway-styled trail, FECR has revised an initial written summary to incorporate more definitive language that stipulates buffering “compatible with adjacent and adjoining uses” as well as “configuration and design parameters” for a conceptual plan over the entire distance of the corridor.

“Under current scheduling, providing the commission votes to transmit, we will expect reports from state agencies in mid- January,” Rowe stated. “These will then become part of a final planning review and analysis to come before the commission some time by early spring.”

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