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Commissioners to veto plans for industrial park

caines | 5/24/2012, 6 a.m.

Westview residents granted a reprieve

Nearly one hundred residents of the Westview community in northwest Miami-Dade County packed the Miami-Dade County Commission Chambers on Wednesday, May 16th, at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center to protest plans to build an industrial park and office complex on the site of the now-demolished Westview Country Club. In the end, the commissioners ruled in favor of the residents. The Westview Country Club, founded in 1959, had stood for years as an important social meeting place for Miamis Jewish community; it now stands as the countys largest track of undeveloped land in an urban, predominantly Black area. But even a community which leads all ethnic groups in record unemployment says they are unwilling to sell either their economic soul or residential peace to developers simply for promises of greater prosperity. The developer, Rosal Westview, LLC., is a limited liability corporation, registered with the Florida Department of State. The companys principal offices are located at 1666 Kennedy Causeway in North Bay Village, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Local residents say they welcome the companys intent on building office space on the 198-acre property, but are adamant that they do not want to see their property values diminished by having huge warehouses built across from their front doors. County District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime, whose district includes the Westview area, said the show of the residents solidarity was not lost on him or his fellow commissioners. I have never seen so many of our residents come to speak on a single development item, he said. The County Commission heard them loud and clear. After four hours of public testimony, the communitys show of force seemed to have scored the first round in favor of the residents. At Monestimes urging, the board voted 11-to-1 to deny the developers plan to build an industrial park and office complex. The commissioners also decided to send the plans to state regulators along with a recommendation that the plans should be denied. The item comes up for a final review sometime in October. Monestime directed the representatives from Rosal Westview, LLC., to meet with the residents and homeowners associations to amend the plan, addressing the homeowners concerns, or risk being denied again when the commission take up the item again. We want jobs and we need jobs in this community but our residents dont want warehouses in their backyards, he added. The developer has to work with the community. They have to negotiate and compromise. The developer is bound to be neighbor with the residents, but in order to be good neighbors they have to be good partners first. The residents say they want development but not at any cost. g.w.wright@hotmail.comBy Gregory W. WrightMiami Times writer