Miami-Dade commissioners vote to put Formula 1 plans at Hard Rock Stadium on hold

MIAMI (WSVN) - The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners have narrowly voted to put plans to bring Formula 1 racing to the Hard Rock Stadium on hold, at least for the time being.

Commissioners at Tuesday’s hearing voted 7-6 against bringing professional racing to the Miami Gardens venue in 2021.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan said there has been widespread opposition among her constituents.

“It’s not a handful, and it’s not just a small group, but you’re talking about a community, a bedroom community, that cares about what happens in the community,” she said.

Last week, the Miami Gardens City Council unanimously voted to formally object Formula 1 racing being brought to the city.

Jordan drafted two regulations that could stop the proposed plans by the Hard Rock Stadium and Formula 1 after hundreds of residents voiced their opposition to the event.

The county ordinance still requires a second reading and vote. It would add a public hearing and board approval for any race held in the stadium district near Miami Gardens.

“The reason I’m opposing this is because it kind of shuts the door on any negotiations,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, “but I believe that we can find a common ground here. We can find a solution.”

The vote comes after Formula 1 and Hard Rock officials announced earlier this month a preliminary deal to bring the Grand Prix to South Florida. This time, the temporary track would loop around Hard Rock Stadium and close portions of busy Northwest 199th Street.

“Right now, it’s a victory. Right now, they can’t actually have Formula 1 racing in Miami Gardens,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III.

The announcement sparked concerns from the community and Miami Gardens officials over noise, traffic, pollution and safety concerns.

Residents on both sides of the matter spoke to commissioners for nearly four hours during Tuesday’s hearing.

“Please don’t allow Formula 1 promoters to come in and roll over us,” said a woman as she read from a statement.

“We have an asteroid coming to our community. We’ve got to stop it,” said a man.

“No amount of money is good enough to take our health and take our peace of mind in our cities,” said a woman.

Marcus Bach, an attorney for the Miami Dolphins, spoke in favor of bringing Formula 1 to Hard Rock Stadium.

“I don’t understand why the response now is simply ‘no,'” he said. “Why the response now is not to sit down and have a conversation and figure out how can we work through this event, which means $400 million for our community, 35,000 room nights, 4,000 new jobs.”

“Formula 1 will be a great influence to our youth. The sport is a clean sport,” said a woman.

“I’ve heard both sides about health, potential health problems, potential hearing problems,” said a man. “I’m not an attorney. I wanted to go to school to be an attorney, and I haven’t seen any evidence.”

Tuesday morning, the commissioners met with the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP, Miami-Dade Democratic Black Caucus, Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council and Miami Gardens Families Unite about the contentious issue.

Originally, race organizers wanted to hold the race in downtown Miami, but their plans fell through after officials said it would disrupt businesses and residents.

Formula 1 executives came to a preliminary agreement with Stephen Ross and Hard Rock Stadium to host the race at the Miami Gardens venue on Oct. 15.

Gimenez can still veto the legislation that the board passed on Tuesday, but he said he still hopes to bring about compromise between both sides.

“What I want to do is get the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium to talk to the community, the community to talk to the Dolphins, to see in what way we can bring this event to Miami-Dade County. I think it’s important that we do.”

Gimenez said he has enough votes to sustain a veto.

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