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Dumping on the Redland

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Posted: Friday, August 17, 2018 10:37 am | Updated: 11:05 am, Fri Aug 17, 2018.

Task Force debates changes to halt the county-wide problem, that significantly impacts the Redland.

The Miami-Dade County Illegal Dumping Task Force held its 4th of five public meetings last week. It was the second to be held, in the underserved South Dade area, at the South Dade Government Center.

Miami-Dade has had issues for many years with people illegally dumping on lots and streets county- wide. Unfortunately, South Dade’s Redland is extremely vulnerable to dumping because of the low population density and the lack of enforcement. Add to that, the fact that law enforcement does not have strong penalties when they do catch someone dumping.

Public comment was open at the beginning of the meeting, allowing just two minutes per speaker. Only five members of the public attended the mid-day meeting, with two addressing the Task Force.

First to speak was Mark Philcox, president of Grove Services in the Redland. He is passionate about the issue, even acknowledging that he came back early from vacation specifically to attend this meeting. As Philcox showed the Task Force members pictures of the dumping around his property he noted that South Dade has been ignored, “Of the 13 transfer stations in Miami-Dade, none of them are south of 248th St. or west of US #1.” Philcox stated that grove owners who have debris dumped on their property by others can be cited and forced to pay the associated dumping fines, and then are obligated to also pay for the removal of the debris.

Second to speak was Jose Bermudez, owner/operator of Atlas Grinding and Recycling at 200th St. just east of Krome Ave. After spending four and a half years acquiring the Miami-Dade permits for his business and investing “2 million dollars,” his property is being dumped on around the entire perimeter. He would like to see the penalties to dumpers increased, and their vehicles impounded.

Staff members of the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department, under the direction of Ricardo Roig (who is a Task Force member), presented the challenges encountered by their department. They called it, “Cost, Cooperation, Coordination.” The department is responsible for removing illegal dumping on public right-of-ways. Unfortunately, it’s not just a couch, or a refrigerator. Staff showed multiple photos of abandoned boats, jet-skis and trailers. All are unsightly and dangerous.

Generally, the vin numbers have been removed so the true owners can’t be located. The department finds it nearly impossible to contract with vendors for removal because there is no value to the abandoned items and very low profit to be made.

Roig noted that the department does not receive any of its budget from the general fund, only from the money brought in by zoning violators. Therefore, the department is entirely dependent on writing up as many zoning violations as possible. He estimated that the department would need approximately $3,800,000.00 to remove the debris currently on the streets of public right-of-ways.

Roig’s intention is to put a public face on the department by putting large stickers on the public areas where debris has been removed, stating that it is thanks to Miami-Dade County. The department is also looking to invest in policing abandoned areas with solar operated/GPS tracked cameras on high lifts that can be brought to an intersection and surveil 360 degrees. This technology comes at the significant cost of $30,000.00, plus additional monthly monitoring fees.

Roig’s frustration was evident as he gave a typical example. He sighted one abandoned property where there are three abandoned boats. Anything of value on the boats has already been stripped away. His department needs to coordinate both with DERM, who will come in to inspect and empty the tanks, and with RAM who will cut the boats into smaller, more manageable pieces. Then they have to coordinate a flatbed to try and safely haul the waste to a transfer station where again they will be charged for disposal. Inevitably, overtime pay will be added to the cost.

Charles LaPradd, Miami-Dade’s Agriculture Manager sits on the Task Force. He reiterated the need for at least two transfer stations in South Dade. Also, reevaluating the hours of operation and the identification requirements necessary to drop off waste. Currently you need a valid driver’s license with a Miami-Dade address. Many times, residents who move frequently don’t update their license. Or they may be a landlord who lives outside of Miami-Dade, but needs to clean out a property after tenants leave large bulk items behind after moving out. Task Force Chairman Fernandez noted this would be wholesale policy change and would have to be discussed further.

The fifth public meeting of the Illegal Dumping Task Force will be held on Friday, September 7th, 1:30 pm in Conference Room 18-2 of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st, Miami FL 33128. At this meeting the Task Force will vote on final recommendations including:

- Marketing an Illegal Dumping awareness campaign

- Modifying Trash and Recycling Center (TRC) operational hours.

- Creating TRC access cards for a fee.

- Create additional TRCs

- Requiring bulk waste dumpsters for multi-family, non-solid waste customers

- Reinstituting Miami-Dade police department Illegal Dumping Specialized Unit

- Weekly Bulk Pickups/Sweeps of right of ways

- Additional litter cleanup as to not attract additional dumping

- Punishment increases including a diversion program for offenders, and vehicle impoundments

- Funding changes to include vacant lot fees for pickup; special assessment countywide to address illegal dumping; and special taxing districts such as South Dade’s agriculture community to fund cleanup.

As noted by Bermudez, “In the Redland, there is no reason for a dump truck to be riding around in the middle of the night. But I see them all the time. What they are doing is dumping a full truck sized load of landscaping debris wherever they can, including on the side of my property. Then I get fined, as well as having to pay for the debris to be removed. Something needs to be done to protect the businesses and groves in the Redland.”

As stated by Philcox, “You’re asking the victim of a crime to pay restitution. It doesn’t make sense.”

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1 comment:

  • kritter posted at 2:52 pm on Sun, Aug 19, 2018.

    kritter Posts: 18

    i live in the redlands and i put some old stuff out by the road and before i had a chance to finish putting stuff out i got a warning on my mailbox. and a hefty fine threat. i'm a homeowner and law abiding. they are tough on folks like me.