The Progressive Miami International Boat Show won a key battle in its long-running legal dispute with Key Biscayne on Wednesday when Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal upheld a state environmental permit allowing the construction of a massive temporary marina at Virginia Key.
Village officials challenged the state Department of Environmental Protection’s five-year permit for a temporary 830-slip marina that was issued ahead of last February’s inaugural boat show at the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, the Miami Herald reported.
Their request for an administrative hearing was dismissed by a lawyer for the state on the grounds that the village, which neighbors Virginia Key but is not a party to the permit, did not have standing to challenge the permit.
The village appealed the lawyer’s decision, arguing that the state was conflicted in dismissing its appeal, a decision the village said properly should be made by an administrative law judge.
A Third District Court of Appeal panel agreed that the process presented a possible conflict, but said it jibed with Florida law and that Key Biscayne had failed to argue that point at the agency level or call for recusal.
“We are pleased this latest challenge is behind us and look forward to yet another exciting Miami International Boat Show at Miami Marine Stadium this February,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today in an email.
“This show has such a far-reaching positive impact — from creating thousands of jobs throughout South Florida to providing hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity,” Dammrich said. “With lessons learned in 2016 we are going to even greater lengths in 2017 and are thrilled for what the future holds for Miami and boating.”
The ruling comes as the boat show prepares for its return to Virginia Key in 2017. Settlement talks continue between Miami, which spent millions to create an outdoor event space for the boat show, and Key Biscayne, which filed multiple legal challenges to stop the event.
“This ruling will have an ongoing impact it because it affirms a five-year permit, which solidifies the Miami International Boat Show’s presence going forward as an economic engine for the South Florida community,” Kerri Barsh, a lawyer with Greenberg Traurig who represented the boat show, told the Herald.