The administrative headache surrounding the Miami Grand Prix looks set to continue, despite a county commission vote in its favour on Wednesday.
The Miami Grand Prix took a step closer to becoming a reality on Wednesday, after a crucial administration vote went in its favour at a county commissioners meeting in Miami.
An ordinance had been brought in front of the county board to attempt to change the zoning rights at the Hard Rock Stadium – the venue for the proposed Miami Grand Prix that has already confirmed a commercial deal with Formula 1 for a ten year contract starting in May 2021.
If passed, the ordinance would remove ‘auto racing’ as a permitted use for the Hard Rock Stadium, and require a special exception at municipal level. This would effectively prevent the Miami Grand Prix from beginning in 2021.
The ordinance had to be voted on by county commissioners but was initially delayed by the Hard Rock Stadium District Commissioner Barbara Jordan seeking to have it pushed out in light of the Miami Dolphins making concessions for local protests by changing the proposed layout of the track. The changes took the track off public roads and entirely within stadium confines.
Further concessions included an acoustical impact study that confirmed maximum sound levels would be below that of concerts held at the stadium, as well as no racing during school hours or at night. A further delay came two weeks ago, when Commissioner Jordan successfully pushed it out by invoking a ‘four day rule’.
The vote went before county commissioners on Wednesday, but resulted in a tie 6-6. As a result, the ordinance did not pass and means the Hard Rock Stadium continues to have ‘auto racing’ as a permitted use.
However, FormulaSpy has been informed that the Miami Gardens homeowners association, who have been the chief protestors of the event, have filed a lawsuit against the Miami Dolphins and Formula 1.
The lawsuit alleges that the noise levels generated by Formula 1 racing events would be unreasonable and unnecessary for a residential neighborhood, thus violating Miami-Dade County and City of Miami Gardens noise ordinances. “There is no expert in the acoustical field who would say that decibel levels between 70 and 90 are reasonable for a residential neighborhood,” explained Attorney Sam Dubbin, who represents former County Commissioner Betty Ferguson and twelve other residents from the three homeowners associations filing the lawsuit.
“There is another part that will come later as a part of this lawsuit that will include environmental injustice. Because when you look at this race and what it will do to our community, it’s going to have a significant impact,” stated Barbara Jordan, District 1 Commissioner for Miami-Dade County and the main voice of the protestors.
However, despite the lawsuit, the Hard Rock Stadium’s CEO Tom Garfinkle of the Miami Dolphins welcomed the news from the county commission vote by saying “We are happy that the commissioners once again today reaffirmed that the Hard Rock Stadium entertainment complex is a regional facility that exists to benefit all of Miami-Dade County. We are glad to put this long-delayed vote behind us so we can begin to make the multi-million dollar investment required to bring the race here, and have positive and productive conversations with local leadership about the many benefits that a global event of this nature brings.”