Southwest Ranches installs gates to block traffic

Some think gates are retaliation against Pembroke Pines

SOUTHWEST RANCHES, Fla. - The city of Pembroke Pines and the town of Southwest Ranches have been embroiled in a feud for years, evident again by a single roadblock at Southwest 199th Avenue, where the two meet. 

"The gates are being installed as we speak," said Southwest Ranches Vice Mayor Doug McKay.

The town will be installing three gates: at Southwest 199th Avenue, 202nd Avenue and 205th Avenue. The gates will block traffic from northern neighbor Pembroke Pines.

Pembroke Pines leaders had opposed a proposed controversial immigration detention facility that would have been housed in Southwest Ranches. While the protests are over and the deal was quashed, some believe the barricades are payback.

"No, clearly not retaliation -- they probably closed it for that reason, but I think the other reason was ultimately, the cut-through traffic that those residential neighborhoods were getting was getting severe," McKay said.

In a phone interview, Mayor Frank Ortis of Pembroke Pines called the roadblocks "distasteful." 

Brian Dearbeola, who lives in Southwest Ranches but opposes the roadblocks, agreed. 

"This kind of thing is disgusting, you know, to separate two neighbors," he said.

Longtime Southwest Ranches resident Mary Gay Chaples said the barricades prevent speeding drivers from using the avenues as thoroughfares.

"I think it'll be good for both sides. It really takes two to feud. And if they choose to feud then it's their feud. We just want to be left alone," Chaples said.

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