(WSVN) - Residents in the Redlands have been complaining for years about big rig trucks paying to park on land that is zoned for agriculture. 7’s Kevin Ozebek says tensions now are higher than ever, and now the county is taking extra measures to try to stop these trucks from disturbing the peace.
The front of a home in the Redlands doesn’t look much different than others in the area, but what’s behind the house has neighbors worried.
Resident (anonymous), upset about trucks: “All hours of the night, there’s trucks coming in and out.”
The 7 Dronecam shows big trucks parking behind the house on Southwest 200th Street and buildings under construction, as well.
Resident: “I believe they’re sleeping in their trucks, and maybe other accommodations are becoming available.”
Kevin Ozebek: “You think they may be building accommodations?”
We came to see if we could talk to the property owner and knock on the door. The gate was closed.
So we couldn’t find the property owner, but look what we did see right here on the gate: two notices from the county for code violations.
Resident: “They’re turning it into an industrial zone instead of an agriculture zone.”
The property owners were fined more than $11,000 after the county said it found an “estimated eight illegal shed apartments placed behind the house.”
We spoke to one of the property owners on the phone. She told us, “Everything is being taken care of,” anything further will come through her attorney, and then she hung up on us.
Resident: “The county is stretched thin due to COVID-19, but they need to stay on top of it more.”
7News first reported on the big rig problem in the Redlands two years ago.
Despite residents’ complaints, and fines and liens placed on properties in violation, the trucks keep rolling in.
Louis Lawson, plant nursery owner: “You listen to impact wrenches every day, compressors, riveting nuts.”
Farmland turned into truck depots.
Tony Mena, resident: “I got one about two blocks away. There’s another one about three blocks away. There’s another one block to the East. I mean, they’re all over.”
Fransico Marilla and his nephew Isidro farm a five-acre field. They said they’ve had confrontations with the truckers who park next door.
Fransico Marilla, property owner (translation): “The truckers would throw too much garbage. They would pee in jars and would bombard us with the jars full of urine.”
The owner of the neighboring property is Larry Cintra-Prieto. Isidro said last March, Cintra-Pietro attacked him with a metal bar after a dispute over the property line.
Isidro Arriaga, farmer (translation): “He grabbed me with both hands. He grabbed me like this, hit me here. I fell down because I was bleeding.”
Cintra-Prieto was arrested on five counts of battery. He also has been slapped with thousands of dollars in code violations for unauthorized use of his land.
Incidents like this are why some residents are afraid to complain.
Resident: “Ugly things can happen in the Redlands.”
Michael Wanek, resident: “This is like the Wild West out here.”
County officials say the current code meant to keep big rig traffic low here is hard to enforce, so now they’re working on new legislation.
Nathan Kogon, Assistant Director for Development Services: “We’re already in the process of crafting the ordinance. We have most of the guts of the ordinance.”
The new ordinance being hammered out will reduce the number of tractor-trailer trucks allowed per property.
Nathan Kogon: “I don’t have a magic number, but I can tell you it’s definitely going to be significantly smaller.”
That’s good news for residents like Michael Wanek, who lives down the street from a truck depot.
Michael Wanek: “I ended up purchasing the land next door, OK? I didn’t really want to buy more land, but I bought it because the trucks are going to move in.”
It could take months before the new ordinance is passed, but residents hope it will finally be what keeps big rig trucks out of this big stretch of farmland.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office also said her office is committed to continuing efforts to contain the illegal tractor-trailer parking lots in the Redlands.
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