Miami-Dade to vote on controversial zoning change in booming South Dade off US 1

Rendering of the proposed assisted living facility in South Dade’s east Killian neighbhorhood.

UPDATE: Feb. 23 – The controversial rezoning of a small tract adjacent to the Metrorail south busway corridor to permit a 216-bed assisted living facility for the elderly was deferred Thursday by the county commission, vexing speakers for more than 500 residents opposed to the project. Commissioners reset the hearing for March 21.

Melissa Tapanes, an attorney for the owner of the property at 8315 SW 122 St., made the request.  She said it was to accommodate some homeowners. But an attorney for Killian Area Neighbors, a group opposed to the rezoning, objected.

“We have not asked for a deferral,” David Winker. County documents said more than 500 residents had signed a petition opposing the project.

Winker said he was not informed about the proposed deferral by the property owner or the county. He told those gathered to speak at the hearing the deferral may have been sought because of the turnout of more 50 residents who were there to speak or support those opposing the rezoning that would allow the facility.

“I think they are trying to wear us down,” Winker said. “This was planned in advance when they saw the large turnout. I think all of this was unfair.”

When asked comment about the deferral request and claims it was a delay tactic, Tapanes said “no comment.”

By William Gjebre,

Feb. 20 – Miami-Dade County commissioners will soon decide whether to rezone a 1.59-acre tract adjacent to the Metrorail south busway corridor to permit a 216-bed assisted living facility for the elderly, or side with unhappy nearby residents in the east Killian neighborhood and reject it.

The decision comes amid a general construction boom along the buses only lanes that run parallel to South Dixie Highway, U.S. 1 in South Dade. The growth there is exemplified by an 18-story, 298-unit apartment complex that opened recently 9600 S. Dixie Hwy. Three more high-rise apartment buildings are being planned near the Dadeland South station, and others are under consideration for the area south of SW 160th Street where many new and renovated businesses, as well as several mid-size apartments have recently gone up.

The 20-mile south busway corridor to the west of S. Dixie Highway stretches from Dadeland South station to SW 344th Street.

And in an attempt to further stimulate business activity, bus and train ridership, and job opportunities, commissioners approved a provision, Mixed-Use Corridor Density (MCD), in January, 2019. The MCD increases density for properties near the busway and is at the center of the controversy surrounding the 1.59-acre tract at 8315 SW 122nd St.

Rosemary and Hugh Pringle

The provision applies within one mile of the busway, and the greater distance from the busway the less increased density allowed. The tract is within one-quarter mile of the busway and would be allowed the highest hike. This change would occur if commissioners agreed to replace the current duplex zoning for up to 12 units and approved the MCD for the property.


“We are opposed because it’s not a good fit for the neighborhood,” said Rosemary Pringle, a member of the Killian Area Neighbors, which is leading the opposition. Pringle, who has lived in the area more than 30 years with her husband Hugh, worries the proposed assisted living facility (ALF) will have a negative impact and result in other rezoning of nearby residential property along the busway, from SW 104th to SW 128th Street.

The facility, she said, is a “commercial enterprise,” and will be a hub of activities around the clock, with different employee shifts, services and deliveries there throughout the day and night, and has limited access only through the south end of the property. “It’s a dead-end street,” Pringle said. Added Hugh Pringle: “What’s being proffered is preposterous.”

Melissa Tapanes, attorney for the owner, disagrees, saying the ALF will provide housing and care of the growing elderly population, adding, “This is much needed…and compatible” with the surrounding area.”

The owner is a company called South Dixie and 122 LLC. State corporate records identify Michael Garcia-Carrillo as the company’s registered agent and managing member.

Garcia-Carrillo is CEO of GC3 Group, a 30-year-old development company in South Miami. Garcia-Carrillo declined to comment for this story.

County commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, District 8, represents the area. Her office staff said was precluded from commenting on zoning issues prior a hearing due to a past state court ruling on zoning issues prior a hearing. The matter is to be heard by the commission on Feb. 22, item 24016.

Protesters who attend Thursday’s commission meeting will have to overcome a recommendation by the county’s Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources to approve the rezoning to MCD and allow the ALF. Some 247 residents have signed a petition, and a large contingent is expected to vigorously oppose the rezoning and the project.

Developer Michael Garcia-Carrillo


The site is next to a small section of duplexes and single-family homes. Further west and north the neighborhood is predominantly single-family homes. The newly opened Centris complex of single-family homes and townhouse is just north of the property.

The streets within the area are two lanes, with not much property available for road widening. County staff noted there would be an increase traffic on nearby SW 124St. and SW 112 St. as drivers seek to get onto US 1, but that it would not be “excessive.”

The ALF, a petition by Killian Neighbors also stated, would be “completely inconsistent with the compatibility of the adjacent land uses and single-family neighborhood;” an “institutional business and proposed zoning would allow the developer to operate multiple types of uses from this location,” and it would “diminish property values.”

The staff stated the proposed project met all requirements pertaining to number of beds, building height and size, land coverage; would not create noise and traffic above acceptable levels; would be compatible with the neighborhood; and would not burden other public services, such as water, sewer, and fire safety.

Furthermore, the report said the owner proffered a covenant limiting the number of beds to 216 and building heights to two and three stories; use the facility only for its purpose; schedule employee shift changes to avoid peak traffic hours in the morning and afternoon; and preserve trees deemed protected.

It will create jobs and not have a negative economic impact, the reported stated, adding that the state, which licenses assisted living facilities, considers such facilities “residential instead of an institutional use.”


Many of the findings dovetail with statements made by representatives for the property owner. County records show multiple exchange of documents between the parties, resulting in the proposal going to the Miami-Dade Board of County commissioners.

According to documents the ALF, considered one building, will have 32 beds for patients on the first floor, 98 beds on the second floor and 86 beds on the third floor, and likely such other related uses such as staff offices, a dining area, recreation and other services. The complex will have 128 spaces in underground parking.

County records show, that in 2014, the previous owner sold the 1.59-acre property, zoned “estate,” for $500,000, and the following year the county approved a zoning change to allow up to five or six duplex units. After Garcia-Carrillo’s company took over the property, ownership was granted another rezoning to build 12 duplex units. But construction never started. And, after the county adopted the MCD, the ownership changed plans.

Noting that “conditions and circumstances have significantly changed” since the previous rezoning approval, representatives for the owner began the process, in late 2021, of seeking to be released from the prior zoning change and to seek the MCD zoning.

Area residents have been concerned for years about proposed zoning changes that impacted the area. They twice opposed the rezoning of a 10-acre tract allowing 10 homes, just north of 1.59-acre site. The first time the county rezoned the tract for 20 homes, on half-acre lots. While the project was delayed, the MCD was approved, and could have allowed hundreds of housing units.

Residents fought efforts to increase units on property. But when Lennar Homes became involved in the project, the various parties, which including some residents and county officials, agreed to rezone the 10-acre site for single-family homes and townhouses, setting aside the MCD zoning. The complex, known as Centris, has 22 single-family homes and 32 townhouses. A number of residents were upset to learn of their potential neighbor.

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  • Within the property there are large royal poinciana, live oak, lychee, avocado and benjamin fig trees. All of those trees will be removed or cut, no tree preservation will take place because they are proposing over an acre of underground parking. They can’t build a garage under existing trees.

    The “Tree Hauzz”assisted living facility is a tree removal and tree cutting job. The environmental destruction is permanent. We must promote transit ridership while preserving our environmental resources.

    Calling the project “Tree Hauzz” is an effort to distract the public from the environmental impacts of this proposal.

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