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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A major setback Wednesday for environmental groups fighting a massive development on environmentally sensitive land near Zoo Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff in Miami recommended that an emergency injunction issued against work on a proposed Walmart, big box stores and apartment complex on the property be lifted.

Click here to read the report and recommendation.

Environmentalists say the property is home to endangered plants and animals and argued that the feds improperly issued permits for the development.

Wednesday’s recommendation against blocking the project, named Coral Reef Commons, now goes to District Judge Ursula Ungaro, who had temporarily stopped it. 

District courts generally follow the opinions of magistrate judges in cases like this.

The environmental groups now have 14 days to appeal.

The site in question is rare forest land, part of what was once one of the largest tracks of pine rockland outside Everglades National Park. Pine rockland once covered much of South Florida’s high ground but has been mostly wiped out by development and is now considered globally imperiled. The uniquely rocky floor forms the foundation for a host of plants and animals in the forest, including 22 endangered plants and animals including the Miami Tiger Beetle and the Miami Rock Snake, which are found nowhere else in the world.


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