Miami-Dade judge won't block upcoming Formula One race at Hard Rock Stadium

Aaron Leibowitz, Miami Herald on

Published in Auto Racing

MIAMI — A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge said Wednesday that he won’t stand in the way of an upcoming Formula One racing event at Hard Rock Stadium after nearby residents expressed concern about noise.

Judge Alan Fine said he won’t hold an injunction hearing before the Miami Grand Prix begins May 6, denying a request by Miami Gardens residents who say noise from the event could cause hearing damage.

Fine said any potential harm to the residents would be avoidable — perhaps by wearing ear plugs or staying inside — and added that the evidence the residents have presented on noise levels is “highly speculative.”

“It is not based on any current Formula One noise information,” Fine said.

Fine said the residents’ lawsuit could continue after the May 6-8 event and potentially affect future races. Hard Rock Stadium has a 10-year deal with the city of Miami Gardens to hold the Miami Grand Prix annually.

During this year’s race, the judge said, representatives for both the residents and the stadium can conduct their own noise measurements to inform their future arguments in court.


“I think it’s important to have an objective measure of what the decibels actually are that would be affecting a plaintiff,” Fine said.

An attorney for Hard Rock Stadium, Melissa Pallet-Vasquez, told the judge an agreement is already in place with the city of Miami Gardens to measure noise during stadium events, but Fine ordered that at least one of the measurements be taken offsite “at a distance equivalent to the closest plaintiff’s house.”

The city has yet to issue a required special events permit for the Grand Prix, which is the final hurdle for the event to take place. The residents who filed the lawsuit have cited a city ordinance that says events should not “unreasonably disturb the peace and comfort of adjacent residences,” but the law does not define what noise levels would meet that threshold.

Joseph Serota, a lawyer for the city, said Wednesday that the city plans to “comply with the ordinance for the special events permit” but didn’t specify a time frame. The City Council has supported the event, agreeing to the 10-year deal that includes a $5 million community benefits package.

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