Wynwood Residents Complain of 'Illegal' Dumping Next to Apartments, Art Galleries
A scrap heap on land owned by Wynwood developer David Lombardi. In the background, the New Arena apartment complex.
Michael E. Miller
The sign says: "Available Development Site: 3.35 Acres. Will Build to Suit."
But there's no building going on at the corner of NW 2nd Ave. and 22nd Terrace. Instead, dump trucks come and go at all hours of the day and night, depositing giant piles of asphalt and gravel torn off of Biscayne Blvd. Neighbors say the noise and dust is making them sick.
"I've asked to see the permit for six months, but they can't seem to find it," says Wynwood loft resident Liz Fate. "I've got a suspicion that none of this is quite legal."
But David Lombardi, the owner of the lot, insists that everything at the site is legit.
"Illegal dumping? I don't know where you guys come up with this," he says. "I own the 3 acres, and I have a lease with American Engineering... They're not even dumping. They're storing gravel, storm drains, and asphalt from Biscayne Boulevard."
"This is not some secret project," adds Lombardi, a major real estate developer in Wynwood. American Engineering did not return Riptide requests for comment.
Yet Fate says Lombardi and the city have ignored her complaints for months.
"I thought they were actually building something for a while, so I was tolerant," she says. "But it's just a dump."
Not only does she doubt that Lombardi or American Engineering have the proper permits, but she says the site is dangerous.
"There's hazardous dust everywhere, blowing through my window, the AC unit," Fate complains. Plus there's gasoline and other chemicals seeping from the asphalt into the ground, she says.
Fate isn't the only Wynwood resident pissed over the plot of land.
"They wake us up every morning," says Christina Johnson, a resident at New Arena apartments next to the dump.
"It'd be 3 o'clock in the morning, they don't care," says her friend, Demetria White. "They go all day and all night, non-stop. The hours are illegal."
Dumps like a truck, truck, truck.
Michael E. Miller
Fate says that she, too, has complained about the noise and incessant activity.
Lombardi admits that he had to call American Engineering last fall, but insists that the company now only works regular hours on the lot. He says that if there is still any noise late at night, it's probably the Charlie's Angels TV studio located nearby.
Lombardi argues that Fate is trying to pass off a personal gripe as a community issue.
"Liz doesn't like the noise outside of her loft window," he says. "She wants it stopped, but it is in my right to lease this land for... light industrial use. That's what it is zoned for."
He also dismisses her claims that dust filled with heavy metals is causing asthma problems for residents, not to mention unsafe dining conditions for food trucks on Saturday nights.
"Is she a chemical engineer?" Lombardi scoffs. "Drive by and take a photo. You tell me what the fuck is going on."
Fate insists that there is something shady going on with the lot. Despite dozens of calls to DERM, FDOT, Lombardi, and city commissioner Richard P. Dunn II, no one has ever shown her a permit authorizing the dump.
"I should have just sued them a long time ago," says Fate, a lawyer. "But this is a symptom of a bigger problem."
"Wynwood is at the cusp right now," she adds. "It's going to be either something really great or something really cheesy."
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