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It's Miami-Dade County vs. the feds in fight over Miccosukee-owned golf course in Miami suburbs

Smack in the middle of a densely populated neighborhood in West Kendall lie nearly 230 acres that are physically in Miami-Dade County, but soon may fall out of the county’s control.

Since 2001, the land in suburban Kendale Lakes has belonged to the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club. Two years later, the Miccosukees asked the federal government to designate it tribal trust land — a change that would strip the county of its existing regulatory authority and do away with a zoning restriction prohibiting development.

This summer, the U.S. Department of the Interior granted the Miccosukee’s request.

Now the county is appealing the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decision, saying the federal government did not give due weight to concerns on matters including drainage, zoning and public safety that would be affected by having a slice of a sovereign Indian nation in the heart of a residential neighborhood.

In its appeal, the county called the decision “unreasonable and also erroneous,” arguing that the Bureau did not consider the objections Miami-Dade first raised in 2003 — including the possibility that the property could some day house a casino.

Topping Miami-Dade’s concerns: the county’s inability, under the new trust designation, to enforce an existing, 99-year zoning restriction known as a covenant from 1972 that requires the property to remain a golf course.