Miramar Blasting History

White Rock Quarries Holds a Community Outreach Regarding Blasting
On February 21, 2006, White Rock Quarries held an outreach session with residents impacted by the blasting occurring in northwest Miami-Dade County as a result of limestone mining. White Rock Quarries is the largest mining operation that borders Miramar with over 4,000 acres zoned and permitted for rock mining. The meeting held at the Sunset Lakes Community Center commenced with an overview of the mining industry and was followed by a panel discussion.

Experts in various fields, including seismology, structural engineering and mining gave an informative presentation on the effects of blasting. The presentation covered issues such as the science of blasting, seismograph monitoring, safety of blasting and affects on structures.

The meeting concluded with a question and answer session where residents were able to raise their concerns to the panel of experts. Over 70 residents attended the session, as well as the City Commission and State Senator Nan Rich. Mayor Moseley expressed that “blasting by the mining operations in northwest Miami-Dade County has been a major concern for the City as many of our residents are affected by it.

We are pleased to see that White Rock Quarries is taking a proactive approach and setting up these outreach sessions to inform and educate our residents on what they do and how it impacts the community.” As a result of the dialog, White Rock Quarries agreed to reduce night-time activity in areas that are in proximity to residential units.

Independent Blasting Vibration Monitoring
At the regular meeting of the City Commission on February 16, 2005, Resolution No. 05-117 was unanimously approved to establish an Interlocal Agreement with Broward County for inspection, monitoring, and blasting related services to be performed by the Broward County Building Codes Services Division. The City Commission elected to become involved after receiving reports from numerous western area residents that blasting events they have been experiencing appeared to exceed the levels documented in monitoring reports provided to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Interlocal Agreement provides a mechanism for independent monitoring blasting vibrations, and a permanent record for comparison to the levels reported to the State Fire Marshal. The Interlocal Agreement was approved by the County Commission at their April 12, 2005 meeting. Seismograph monitoring commenced soon thereafter on April 27, 2005. Below are the monthly reports.

Blasting Damage Claims Mediation Process
On June 2, 2003, Governor Bush signed Senate Bill 472, making that law effective immediately. In essence, this Bill provides for a State sponsored mediation process for blasting damage claims, which is essential since the blasting that is being experienced in western Miramar is out of the City's jurisdiction. We believe that the adoption of Bill 472 is a victory for the residents of Miramar and we will continue to petition the State for additional protections against blasting.

Bill 472 provides an exclusive administrative remedy through the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) solely for the recovery of damages to real and personal property caused by the use of explosives in construction mining activities. Recovery of damages for personal injury, emotional distress or punitive damages is excluded from this administrative forum and must be pursued separately in court. The administrative remedy for the alleged real or personal property damage must be sought no later than 6 months after the damage occurred.

Within 5 days of filing the petition, the case is assigned and an order is issued directing mandatory nonbinding mediation to be held no later than 60 days after the mediator is selected by the parties or the administrative law judge. If no settlement is reached within 15 days of the concluded mediation, the matter may be set for an expedited summary hearing upon mutual agreement of the parties. If the parties have not reached a settlement within 30 days of the concluded mediation, the matter is set for formal administrative hearing.

If the administrative court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the damages are attributable to construction mining activities, it must direct the respondent to pay the damages within 30 days of the order unless the matter is appealed to a district court of appeal. If the respondent fails to pay the damages within 30 days of the order, or within 30 days of an appellate mandate affirming the order, then the damages may be paid upon the petitioner's request from the security bond the respondent was required to post as a statutory prerequisite to applying or renewing a user license in connection with the construction mining activities. The court may reduce to judgment any amount not covered by the security bond. If the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that the damages were not caused by the respondent's activities, the court must issue an order stating that the respondent is not responsible for the damages. The prevailing party is entitled to taxable costs including expert witness fees, administrative costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

City Commission Special Meeting with State Fire Marshal’s Office
The Miramar City Commission held a Special Meeting on October 23, 2002 with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The Special Meeting provided a forum where the City Commission and affected residents were able to express their concerns directly to State Fire Marshal officials and stress the stress the importance of revising the current blasting legislation. After the Special Meeting and a number of meetings between the City, State officials, and representatives from various companies that engage in blasting, several proposals were made to address the problem. Among those proposals were:
  • To seek changes to Florida law and administrative rules regarding blasting levels established by the State Fire Marshall,
  • To increase the distances between residential areas and permitted blasting as set forth in Florida law and administrative rules
  • To create a state-driven arbitration or mediation process wherein City residents could seek redress for their blasting damage claims
As a result of the City’s efforts, a Bill was introduced for the 2003 legislative session for both the State Senate (SB 472) and the House of Representatives (HB 673) to consider. The Bill addresses the third remedy referenced above - to create a State driven arbitration or mediation process wherein City residents could seek redress for their blasting damage claims. The Bill provided for the creation of a claims process for people who blame blasting for damage to their homes and property. The issues of blast intensities and locations remain under review.

We are hopeful that a resolution that the concerned residents of Miramar, State Officials and the blasting companies can agree with will prevail. Unfortunately, this entire process is somewhat lengthy since it involves property beyond our boundaries, private corporations and other local and state governmental agencies. We thank all of those affected residents for the continued patience on this matter.

City Blasting Ban & Blasting Arbitration Board
Although records are sketchy, it appears the City of Miramar may have passed a blasting ordinance as early as 1968, with several revisions implemented over the ensuing years. As vacant lands in western Miramar were demucked and made suitable for building construction, geologic conditions on the site often necessitated blasting to yield sufficient clean fill material to raise and grade the site to an acceptable elevation.

Developments such as Nautica, Country Lakes, Silver Shores, Sunset Lakes, North 29, and Miramar’s Regional Park all received blasting permits in the summer and fall of 1996. Recognizing the disturbance to surrounding developments, the City did not award any permits to perform blasting within the City of Miramar that would occur after December 31, 1999 - the expiration date for all City-issued blasting permits.

In November 1996 the City Commission created a Blasting Arbitration Board to provide a venue for addressing claims for damages due to blasting. Meetings of that Board were held monthly. The board addressed all claims presented over the next 6 years and had heard all claims on file before their final board meeting on November 18, 2002.