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Davie against land into trust application

DAVIE — A 10.6-acre parcel of Tribal-owned land on Stirling Road is causing the Town of Davie great anxiety.

When the Seminole Tribe requested that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) place the land into trust in March 2013, Davie mayor Judy Paul formally objected based on the belief it will negatively impact the town’s finances. The Tribe purchased the property, formerly a mobile home park, in 2005 and pays Davie $26,251 per year in property taxes.

Davie held a public workshop Feb. 19 to discuss the BIA trust process and the financial implications for the town, and as a result, Davie has directed its federal lobbyist to contact the BIA and reiterate the town’s opposition to placing the land into trust. Davie will also contact the BIA to determine what the Tribe plans to do with the land.

“It’s all about the money,” said Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola. “We much prefer them to talk to us; the Tribe wants to be a good neighbor.”

The Tribe does not yet have plans for the site, which is zoned for 10 units per acre or 100 homes. In the last couple years, they have used the property, lush with mature live oak trees and abundant shade, for Health Department walks and for Rez Rally.

“We are trying to bring the land into trust for self-determination purposes,” said Joe Martin, Community Planning and Development Real Estate assistant director. “There is no plan for it yet, but once it is in trust, Council will decide. But whatever we do develop will be a less-intense use than what was there before.”

The Stirling Road Mobile Home Park, which closed in 2006, contained 70 mobile home pads and two one-story residences. Since the land was vacated, Davie has provided no services to the site but has collected taxes every year, Martin said.

In her letter to the BIA, Paul claims the town provides police, fire, public works and other municipal services to the property.

Martin said he believes Davie doesn’t want to lose control of the land.

In 2010, for example, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood wanted to use the land for overflow parking for a one-time Super Bowl event – the game was being played in Miami – and Davie refused to allow it.

“That’s why self-determination is so important – to bring control back to the Tribe,” Martin said. “It’s a good example of why the Tribe wants land in trust.”

The BIA application process has been delayed until Florida Power & Light moves transmission lines to the edge of the property, which should be completed during the summer.

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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