Santa’s Enchanted Forest Event Threatened by Code Violations


No matter how exhausting they could strive, many Miami residents cannot think about a vacation season with out Santa’s Enchanted Forest. With its acquainted twinkling lights, old-school sights, and tacky Santa Claus photograph ops, the seasonal occasion attracts huge crowds on a yearly foundation.

As its opening date quick approaches, the occasion has been left in limbo due to a slew of code violations courtesy of Miami-Dade County. In latest weeks, it appeared as if tiny tots throughout South Florida, with their eyes all aglow in hopes of constructing their annual journey to the Enchanted Forest, is likely to be met with a proverbial lump of coal.

On October 4, the occasion’s organizers have been issued a cease-and-desist order by the Miami-Dade Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (hooked up on the backside of this story). The division insists it isn’t being a Grinch: in accordance with county spokesperson Tere Florin, the occasion organizers had failed to adjust to 27 citations and a earlier stop-work order issued for beginning development on the occasion website with out the required permits.

While organizers are nonetheless working to safe the required permits, Santa’s Enchanted Forest spokesperson Maritza Gutierrez says these hiccups will not disrupt the vacation spirit –– and the occasion will proceed as deliberate subsequent month.

“All the promoting is being positioned, and shortly we’ll be kicking off identical to regular,” Gutierrez tells New Times.

After leaving its longtime dwelling at Tropical Park in 2020, and following a quick transfer to Hialeah Park in 2021, Santa’s Enchanted Forest relocated to a spot on the border of Medley and Doral this 12 months. The new website is reportedly owned by the rich Dunn household, who maintain massive swaths of land within the Miami space.

Because the property is located at an ungainly location on the intersection of soon-to-be annexed areas in Medley and Doral, occasion organizers thought they solely wanted to apply for permits with the City of Medley, Gutierrez says. As it turned out, they wanted to use with the county as nicely, she says.

Florin says Santa’s Enchanted Forest is working with county employees to deliver the property into compliance “as rapidly as doable” in time for the occasion on November 9.

The Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, which handles constructing, growth, and shopper safety, has suggested organizers what must be to accomplished to deal with their improper storage of reclaimed asphalt and submit a storm water administration plan.

Among the circumstances for compliance, the Enchanted Forest organizers needed to cough up roughly $20,000 for the citations earlier than any permits can be issued. (Florin says they paid it earlier this week.)

While Gutierrez says the occasion operators instantly “hit the brakes” on work on the property and utilized for permits with the county, they have been nonetheless fined $13,000 for placing up shows and a chain-link fence.

“They obtained a tremendous, which they’re taking good care of,” Gutierrez says, “and so they’re now working with the county for the allowing.”

Florin says that Santa’s Enchanted Forest is at present allowed to do some work on the location –– together with putting in vacation decorations, string lights, and momentary fencing for the vacation shows. However, she notes that “with out correct environmental remediation,” the occasion will not be capable of proceed.

The occasion is scheduled to run from November 9 to January 8, 2023, in accordance with its web site.


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