Opponents to trolley depot in Coconut Grove hit legal hurdle

Astor Companies building trolley depot for Coral Gables at Douglas Road between Oak, Frow Avenues


MIAMIOpponents of a trolley garage being built in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood hit a legal hurdle Friday.

Construction began earlier this year on Coral Gables' new trolley garage on Douglas Road between Oak and Frow Avenues.

When Astor Companies wanted to buy the city's current garage, near Coral Gables High School, to build condominiums, Coral Gables said yes, but only if the developer built a new trolley garage first. The developer decided on a site in Coconut Grove.

"What we were doing is looking for an injunction that said you can only use this building for commercial purposes, and that would have been prohibitive of it being used as a government maintenance facility," said attorney Lowell Kuvin.

But the the judge said he didn't have jurisdiction to make a ruling in part because opponents didn't file a timely appeal. Kuvin said they didn't receive proper notice.

"It's always an uphill battle when you have a poor neighborhood that's fighting against a developer," said Kuvin. "The fight is definitely not over."

Kuvin said he would file an appeal.

An attorney representing Astor Companies issued a statement, saying: "The Astor Companies has maintained from the beginning that the Grove trolley building was designed and constructed in adherence with the City of Miami Code and we are pleased with the court's ruling."

"Based on an agreement with the developer, the city is under no obligation to accept the building until a judicial determination is made that the zoning is correct," Coral Gables City Attorney Craig Leen said. "If the zoning is not correct, the city will not accept the building."