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ISSUE: Miami's Urban Development Boundary

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Urban Development Boundary: The Next Battle Line


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and Land Use Law Center

Standing between a row of cabbages on a wide expanse of farmland in western Miami-Dade County, Douglas Wilson stared at suburban homes and a strip mall looming on the eastern horizon.

Despite the encroaching urban sprawl, the farm land leased by Wilson and his brother, Daryll, has been protected from large-scale development for decades. The reason: It sits west of the county's Urban Development Boundary, the line providing a green buffer between densely populated areas and the Everglades.

But now home builder D.R. Horton wants to put roads, homes and shops on the land Wilson farms -- and is asking the county to move the UDB to do it.

''I guess it's inevitable,'' sighed Wilson, 53, who previously farmed the south Miami-Dade land that was turned into the residential subdivision Country Walk. ``We're going to have to look for new land.''

With a dwindling supply of developable land in Miami-Dade County and Broward County nearly built-out, a host of powerful developers are now targeting land previously off-limits for large-scale development.

The activity, sure to prompt a fierce and lengthy battle, represents the biggest push in years to move the UDB, which has been altered just once in the last decade and has not been moved for a residential development since 1993.


On one side of the issue are the developers who argue the county's growing population and surging home prices have created a crisis in affordable single-family homes in Miami-Dade. The only land left to build reasonably-priced homes on, they contend, is the broad expanse beyond the UDB.

On the other are environmentalists, citizens associations and civil rights groups who say development outside the current line will choke already clogged roads, threaten Everglades restoration and open the door to incursions into rural and environmentally sensitive lands.

Developers, anticipating it's only a matter of time before the boundary is moved, have begun buying up land beyond the UDB. Home-building giant Lennar Corp. has an option to buy nearly 2,500 acres near Florida City. It hopes to build homes on 981 acres there and expects to file an application by April to amend the UDB, said Anthony Seijas, president of Lennar's Miami-Dade division.

The Miami-based home builder has also bought an 823-acre parcel in western Miami-Dade outside the UDB.

D.R. Horton, a Fort Worth, Tex.-based builder, has a pending application to amend the UDB for a development with more than 5,000 residential units along Krome Avenue near Kendall Drive. The 854-acre parcel includes the land where Douglas Wilson farms.

Meanwhile, Edward W. Easton of The Easton Group, Neighborhood Planning Company's Armando J. Guerra and Agustin Herran, and home builder United Homes all have snapped up property outside the UDB.


Unlike Broward, which permits development to the Everglades' doorstep, Miami-Dade established the UDB in 1975. Running generally north-south, it limits any building outside the boundary to one dwelling per five acres.

Through the years, several amendments pushed the UDB further west, but the line has hardly moved at all during the past decade.

Now as developers eye the wide open spaces beyond the boundary, opponents are girding to save the current configuration at all costs.

''Moving it is totally dangerous to the Everglades,'' said Nancy Liebman, president of the Urban Environment League. ``And totally dangerous to people who like to have a quality lifestyle and don't want to be trapped in endless traffic gridlock.''

Developers say they are ready for what will likely be a bruising contest over the line's fate.

''Am I fearful of engaging and being a participant in sometimes contentious discussions about growth and how it should occur? No,'' said Stuart Miller, CEO of Miami-based Lennar. ``The population is crying out for development, and I think we will represent the population well.''

If more land is not made available, developers argue, then families will continue to be priced out of South Florida's surging real estate market.

But a 2003 report by Miami-Dade's Department of Planning and Zoning determined there is enough developable land to last until 2020. It also concluded the UDB should not be moved.

In recent years, faced with dwindling open space in the suburbs, local developers have focused more on urban in-fill projects, neighborhood redevelopment and high-rise condominium projects near town centers and the coastline.


But Lennar and D.R. Horton argue the county's population growth and increasing housing needs cannot be met by in-fill projects alone. And, they say, many of the high-rise condominiums are way too expensive for most buyers.

''Not everyone wants to live in high-rise condominiums, especially families,'' said Easton, chairman of The Easton Group. ``There is a need for single-family homes.''

That housing shortage and lack of available land is feeding the upward spiral in prices, said lobbyist Miguel De Grandy, who represents D.R. Horton. ``That is creating a situation where you are seeing redevelopment in older neighborhoods with prices skyrocketing so folks living in those neighborhoods can no longer buy product there.''

Critics of moving the line say simply opening up new land won't automatically temper soaring housing prices. ''It will take more than moving the line out,'' said Rod Jude, Sierra Club Miami chairman. ``Prices will still be high.''


There are also other concerns about pushing out the boundary line. Monroe County officials, for example, express worry that development outside the UDB in south Miami-Dade could impede evacuation efforts from the Florida Keys.

And some critics just don't buy the notion that Miami-Dade is out of developable land. ''They are trying to create this specter of people living in boxes if their development is not approved,'' said Richard Grosso, executive director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center in Fort Lauderdale. ``That is not true.''

Grosso cites the county's own conclusions in its 2003 Evaluation and Appraisal Report of Miami-Dade's comprehensive master plan.

''The area within the UDB provides enough countywide capacity of residential land to accommodate projected development until 2020,'' the report concluded.


The date when the county's inventory of residential land is expected to run out has since been revised upward to 2021, according to Mark R. Woerner of Miami-Dade's Department of Planning and Zoning.

But Easton responded that every single-family home builder he has spoken with in Miami-Dade County says the biggest problem now is finding developable lots.

''That is my barometer,'' Easton said.

The last time a small portion of the line was pushed westward was in 2002 to make way for the 436-acre Beacon Lakes industrial park west of Miami International Airport. That effort, led by developer Armando Codina, received so much attention that the Harvard Business School did a case study last year on the long-running battle.

Amendments to the UDB are considered in April of every odd year.


Here's how it works: A developer submits a detailed plan to the county and South Florida Regional Planning Council. The plan goes through a comment and revision process, in which state agencies critique the project. That process can run for a year or more.

Ultimately, the plan goes before the Miami-Dade County Commission. A super-majority -- two-thirds of the county commissioners -- is required for approval.

The push to move the line comes as the county commission prepares to launch a new study on the UDB. Another study that could have implications for the UDB, the South Miami-Dade Watershed Study, is due to be completed later this year.

Some suggest the county should defer action until each study is submitted.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, who proposed the UDB study, said Friday he will not support any UDB changes until the study is completed.

''I am hoping that within the next six to eight months the study will be done,'' said Moss, who added that constituents in his south Miami-Dade district are increasingly getting priced out of the market. The pricey condos being built in Miami, he said, aren't a solution for them.

''I want there to continue to be a greenbelt,'' Moss said. ``But I am also not one who thinks the sky will fall if we expand the UDB.''


In the face of developers' efforts, opposition groups are scrambling to organize and mount a defense. Last month, Liebman said, a group was formed called the Coalition for Livable Communities. It includes the Urban Environment League, Sierra Club and Tropical Audubon Society, among others.

Late last month, in what it called ''an opening salvo,'' the UEL commissioned a poll of registered voters' feelings about traffic in Kendall, Hialeah and South Miami. Some 55 percent said they were spending more time in traffic than a year ago and 77 percent deemed traffic a ''lot worse'' than when they first moved to the area.

Grosso said the Environmental and Land Use Law Center is putting together a white paper on the subject.

But developers are assembling formidable, high-priced teams, too.

D.R. Horton has hired De Grandy, real estate analyst Andy Dolkart and lawyer Joseph Goldstein -- the same attorney who got the Beacon Lakes boundary amendment passed for Codina.

According to Lennar's Seijas, Lennar has retained Goldstein and lobbyists Luis E. Rojas and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, the defeated Miami-Dade mayoral candidate and former county commissioner.


Meanwhile, some question developers' affordable homes argument.

''When it is painted as a battle between those who need affordable housing and hard-core environmentalists, it really does an injustice to the issue,'' said Daniella Levine, executive director of the Human Services Coalition.

DeGrandy shrugs off such comments, noting that the UDB was set up with an eye toward moving it to accommodate growth.

''The UDB was never meant to be a line in stone,'' said DeGrandy. ``The UDB is there to be a buffer for additional development until such time it is necessary to move the UDB.

``The question for the commissioners is, is this the right time?'

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some possible developments pushing the UDB.


Numerous developers challenge the UDB

In recent months, land purchases beyond the Urban Development Boundary by developers have increased, and plans are being drawn up for a very different future for land on the western and southern fringes of Miami-Dade County.

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My personal view of it is this:

I don't buy the affordable aspect of it. The homes maybe be cheaper than established neighborhoods, but real affordability is apartments near transit lines. If demand is outpacing supply so much then it's time to build up and not out. I don't really agree that the growth boundary ever needs to move, at least not until the rest of it is really urbanized. Given the amount of money the developers have invested though, I feel this will probably happen sooner rather than later. I just hope the people wise up and stop moving so far out.

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What's the point of having a set boundary if they can move it like that? I agree, build up, not out! With all of its growth, Miami needs a Preservation Project like Jax had. I don't know how feasible that is, but I wish we could save what's left, rather than building suburban homes out there. It's time to move back east, to the city!

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''Not everyone wants to live in high-rise condominiums, especially families,'' said Easton, chairman of The Easton Group. ``There is a need for single-family homes.'' "

They need to move to Montana or Wyoming for that.....

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As I've said before, the line does not need to be moved, and there has been no legitimate reason given to do so. South Dade does not need to look like western Broward County.

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That always seems to be an ongoing problem. I wish that they could move towards the actual city and start to build up as well. Eventually, if they let them, they will want to challenge the Everglades and it should never come to that. They need to stop Miami sprawl now.

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^^ Oh, I think you're absolutely right. This is nothing more than an excuse to build over protected undeveloped area. On top of that, if it gets moved, it sets a precedent: if one developer can sway the Commission to move it once, other developers will certainly try again. At that rate, we'll be developed all the way to the Key Largo.

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This is probably the best news that could come in our goal to keep the UDB in its current place.


Posted on Sat, Feb. 19, 2005


Alvarez sets new priorities for county

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez highlighted new priorities and took a more conciliatory approach to the County Commission in his State of the County speech. His themes included protection of the urban boundary from sprawling development.


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In his first State of the County speech, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez on Friday broadened his agenda beyond his message of government reform to include environmental, health and juvenile delinquency issues -- and took a more conciliatory approach toward commissioners who oppose his effort to reduce their powers.

Alvarez highlighted one theme welcomed by environmentalists: protecting the Urban Development Boundary established to shield agricultural and environmental resources from sprawling development.

The mayor said he would not favor changing it until a local, regional and state study with recommendations on how to balance growth and environmental concerns is completed this fall.

''This watershed area plays a vital role in the health of Biscayne Bay and the Everglades,'' said Alvarez, who noted he has taken his children fishing and airboat riding in Everglades. ``The longer I live in South Florida, the more I come to appreciate these natural wonders.''

Environmentalists cheered the statement.

''I am overjoyed that this is my mayor,'' said Jamie L. Furgang, an Everglades Policy Associate with Audubon of Florida. ``I'm telling you, I think the mayor is the champion of Biscayne Bay that we need.''

In the past, Alvarez has rarely strayed from his stump speech that calls for stripping county commissioners of the power to award lucrative contracts and the county manager of his authority over department directors.

On Friday, however, the mayor showed he has more goals in mind.

''With 100 days in office comes 100 days of wisdom,'' said Mario J. Artecona, executive director of the Miami Business Forum.

Alvarez talked generally about launching an initiative to foster healthy lifestyles among the elderly by educating them on nutrition and exercise. He expects to create a task force to study alternatives to jailing the mentally ill, put together a plan to fight juvenile delinquency, and reiterated his support for a salary increase for commissioners, who currently earn $6,000 a year.


Alvarez also discussed his campaign promise to make county government more efficient by streamlining the permitting process.

He has asked County Manager George Burgess to outline an action plan bringing together construction industry experts to make recommendations.

Overall, the speech was received well by the large audience of business people, university graduates and county employees, who applauded longest when Alvarez spoke about his push to change county government.

``On these issues, some Miami-Dade commissioners and I have an ideological disagreement between conscientious and well-meaning elected officials, he said, adding that he will submit his recommendations on these changes to the commission within weeks.

While commissioners did not join in that round of clapping, most agreed the speech was more conciliatory than Alvarez's frank inaugural address, which rankled commissioners with its lack of political niceties.

However, Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler did not give the mayor high marks, complaining that his speech lacked details.

She said she also was irritated that when the mayor spoke about future Metrorail priorities, he singled out the East-West corridor that would connect Florida International University -- the site of his speech -- to a transportation hub at Miami International Airport, but did not mention the North corridor.


This issue has been the source of an escalating rift along ethnic and racial lines on the commission, with Carey-Shuler and other black commissioners pushing for the North line.

Alvarez has said he favors the East-West expansion.

Alvarez's appearance ended with an unexpected on-stage handshake with Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, who has been highly critical of the mayor's plan to strip the commission of large contract awards.

But this public display of friendliness does not mean the commission's opposition to Alvarez's push to broaden mayoral powers will lessen.

''We have a main philosophical difference, but it's not personal,'' Martinez said. ``We have a lot of things in common. Who's not going to be against crime and traffic?''

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Posted on Tue, Mar. 01, 2005


Activists' rallying cry: Hold the line on growth

Mayor Carlos Alvarez joined environmentalists as they kicked off an effort to ensure that Miami-Dade's urban development boundary stays put.


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Environmentalists launched a campaign Monday against a tide of red-tiled roofs rapidly rising toward the Everglades.

The turnout at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami was sparse, as it typically is for media events, but nonetheless notable because of who showed up.

Carlos Alvarez, just past his 100th day as county mayor, delivered a concise but clear message echoing the campaign's slogan to ''Hold the Line'' -- meaning resist pressure from developers to extend what's known as the Miami-Dade urban development boundary to permit thousands of new homes on the fringes of the county.

''I do not believe moving the UDB and expanding development is the answer to our population growth,'' he said.

For environmentalists, the mayor's stance, echoed by County Commissioner Katy Sorenson, was a major boost in what promises to be a bruising battle with politically powerful developers over where and how the county should grow.

Outside the UDB, residential building is limited to one house per acre -- not enough to fuel what Nancy Liebman, president of the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami, called the ''overzealous, outrageous development'' envisioned for south and western Miami-Dade.

Activists warn that the growth poses problems not only for the fragile Everglades, but for farmers and suburbanites in the form of overcrowded schools, flooded property, gridlocked streets and bigger tax bills.

''Hold the line or taxpayers will be holding the bag,'' Sorenson said.

At least two major projects have been proposed outside the UDB and more are likely to be in the pipeline soon.

One large landowner, Atlantic Civil, floated preliminary plans for 6,000 homes, a multiplex movie theater, a hotel and 300,000 square feet of retail space on 2,500 acres outside the UDB near Florida City. In September, developer Lennar Corp. signed an option to buy the land.

D.R. Horton, a Texas builder, has a pending application to amend the UDB for a development with more than 5,000 residential units along Krome Avenue near Kendall Drive.

Attorneys for the developers did not return calls.

County planners say there is room to accommodate growth inside the UDB for at least a decade, but developers have argued that they need to move the line to fill demand for affordable housing.

Alvarez said he wants the county to complete ongoing growth studies before making any decisions. One, the South Dade Watershed Study, is due later this year.

The first skirmish on the issue comes when commissioners decide whether to allow Florida City to annex the Atlantic Civil parcel, a step activists think would make it easier to develop property that environmentalists say should be used to help restore water flows to Biscayne Bay. That project, still years away, is part of the $8.4 billion Everglades restoration plan. The Atlantic Civil issue comes up for commission discussion today.

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Posted on Mon, Mar. 14, 2005


Diverse groups unite against sprawl

As developers push to extend the Urban Development Boundary, environmental and community activists have broadened support for a surprisingly effective opposition campaign.


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Both live miles from where developers want to build thousands of new homes, but Hattie Willis and Millie Herrera still fear they will feel the impact in their own backyards.

That's why Willis, a Little Haiti activist, and Herrera, an East Kendall community council member, have joined the fight against expanding the Urban Development Boundary, which would open Miami-Dade County's western and southern fringes to a wave of growth. [...]

Article can be read in its entirety here


The reactions from the community, politicians, et al., to moving this line has been very pleasing. So far we have the Mayor on our side. The developers' arguments are so disingenuous.

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Miami wants details on county's plan to move urban boundary

By Yeleny Suarez

Miami Today

Miami officials plan to ask Miami-Dade County planners for details about a proposal to move the county's urban-development boundary line.

"I think we (city commissioners) should request someone from the planning department in the county as a courtesy give us a presentation," Commissioner Tomas Regalado said last week.

Miami officials said they would like a county planner to make a presentation at their next commission meeting March 24.

Mr. Winton said if the county expands the boundary and creates neighborhoods closer to the Everglades, cities and the county would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure.

"They would have to run water and sewer systems from scratch, build roads, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, parks, school, etc. ... Those dollars should be put into municipal neighborhoods like the City of Miami, Hialeah, Miami Gardens and Opa-locka ... other communities that desperately need infrastructure improvements," Mr. Winton said.

Mr. Regalado also said he wanted more information.

"It makes sense to study and analyze it and I think that everyone, every resident in Miami-Dade County, has a stake in this issue," he said. "I would hope that someday someone would come here and tell us... the plans and impact to our ecosystem."

Mr. Winton said developers are saying they need the land to add affordable housing.

"Developers are making an argument that if we expand the urban boundary line we will get more affordable housing... Affordable for whom? Maybe market affordable, but I will tell you all the housing being built along the [Miami River], Coral Way, 37th Avenue - those are $400,000 units and are market affordable.

"The City of Miami has probably built more real affordable housing than any part of Miami-Dade County, period," Mr. Winton said. "The mayor and staff are working on this and we are going to have real data real soon."

One development proposed beyond the urban development boundary is Providence by D.R. Horton, which owns a 900-acre site bounded on the south by Southwest 120th Street, on the north by Southwest 104th Street, on the west by Krome Avenue and on the east by Southwest 167th Avenue.

County Chief of Metropolitan Planning Mark Woerner said amendments to the boundary are considered in April of every odd year.

"The proposal to consider the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) is first reviewed by the regional planning council, followed by the state agency... This typically takes about a year," he said.

"I know our colleagues at the county commission are struggling with this issue also and so I would like to go on record with the county suggesting that those with municipal boundaries in Miami-Dade County have a lot at stake here," Mr. Winton said.

Not all developers support moving the boundary.

Jorge Perez, CEO of Miami-based The Related Group of Florida, said in a recent interview that moving the line would affect natural resources.

"I would like to see density moving inward," Mr. Perez said. "If not, the expansion will negatively impact our natural resources."

Mr. Perez said Miami-Dade lacks economic development, education, transportation and cultural facilities and he is worried about transportation and education expenditures to attract the right business and people in the next five to 10 years.

"The City of Miami has a lot of stake in this issue," Mr. Winton said. "I don't know what we really ought to do but I am personally not in favor of expanding the urban development boundary, because I think over the course of 20 years it's going to cost us greatly."

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This is a map of Dade County, showing the current Urban Development Boundary. This map is somewhat hard to read, so I've highlighted the UDB in red.


The entire county, for some perspective:


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Commissioners wary of moving urban boundary

Susan Stabley

Where there's a will, there's a way.

But the level of political will in Miami-Dade County to move the urban development boundary (UDB) line is uncertain.

The line, established as part of a 1975 county comprehensive growth plan, was intended to slow sprawl while protecting the Everglades.

A pair of proposed developments containing thousands of homes would, if commissioners approve the move, push the boundary out west of Krome Avenue - where only one house is allowed for every five acres - and to the south, where Everglades restoration is under way.

Newly elected Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has come out as a strong defender of holding the line. Supporting him is arguably the most powerful name in Florida: Gov. Jeb Bush, who told The Miami Herald he has concerns about moving the line.

Next comes Miami-Dade Commis-sioner Katy Sorenson, another advocate for keeping the UDB right where it is.

The current housing supply is enough for another 15 years, she argued. Allowing new developments will only worsen the county's existing congestion problems, plus add the issue of costs for any new infrastructure required.

Sorenson said most of her constituents tell her to hold the line.

"By now, we should have learned from our mistakes," she said of the county's suburban sprawl.

Annexation anxiety

Only Sorenson, Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Commissioner Dennis Moss were present by the time public comments were taken at a Tuesday workshop on the UDB. The commissioners met to discuss the possible Florida City annexation of Atlantic Civil's property, more than 4,000 acres outside the line.

UDB supporters fear the annexation will open the area for a development plan of 6,000 homes, a pair of schools, a movie theater, office space and retail - all next to two Everglades restoration projects.

Few Miami-Dade residents spoke at the afternoon hearing, save one from Kendall who asked for relief for the traffic congestion surrounding his home. A pending request from national homebuilder D.R. Horton proposes building more than 5,000 homes, two schools, two parks, shops and offices to the west of where he lives.

Sorenson said the impact of traffic was one of the reasons she opposed moving the line out west and near Florida City, which is considered an evacuation zone.

Adding as many as 18,000 residents requiring evacuation would impair the efforts of moving out citizens from the Keys, she said.

Infrastructure expenses are another issue, but Moss questioned that argument. He asked county staffers to find out if the developers or the county will be required to pay for roads and water and sewer lines.

"I just don't know if the horror stories everyone is talking about are actually real," he said. "What is the county's real cost?"

Undecideds wait on studies

Other commissioners said they were undecided or mixed about moving the line.

"I haven't made a decision," Commissioner Barbara Jordan said. "I need more information."

Jordan said she wants to see the results of the South Florida Watershed Study first. The study will evaluate how to balance population and economic growth with water resources and wildlife.

Commissioner Carlos Gimenez also will hold off making a decision until the study is done, according to Ruben Arias, his director of public affairs.

Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said she strongly opposed moving the line to the south because of the long-term ramifications of development to the county's ecosystem.

"Instead of paying millions, we pay billions and it will never be the same," Sosa said. "We have to be very careful to not damage what we have."

But she said she was still undecided about moving the line to the west.

Diaz said he's opposed to moving the line for now. He wants more data and said a UDB study due in November could sway him to move the line in certain locations and for the right kind of development.

Plus, there's the pressure from those in search of housing, he said.

"Not everybody wants to live in a condo," Diaz said during the workshop. "Not everybody wants to live in an apartment."

Miami's increasing housing crisis isn't far from Jordan's mind.

"We don't want to get in the same situation that Key West is in," she said, noting that housing has become out of reach for so many that workers are bused in from hours away.

"We have interest groups from both sides. We have the environmentalists and the developers," Jordan said. "We really need to look at what's best for Miami-Dade County and the citizens of Miami-Dade County."

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Some updates:

The UDB controversy was recently featured on local television news. You can access it by going to WTVJ-NBC6's website and clicking on "The Battle for South Dade" below the EcoWatch header.

Also, the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami has set up a website with information on the UDB. It can be accessed at http://www.udbline.com/

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There's was also a recent article in the Herald (that I can't find on the website) quoting the Florida City mayor as saying that he has no intention of urban development in the area in question. He only wants to extend the City's limits so they can get the taxes off of the 5 acre ranchettes that are allowed there now.

However, if it's money he is after, there will be a line of developers with fistsloads of it knocking on his door to urbanize.

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I'm still very wary of that, especially considering the interest in that land already by developers.

The county could approve the annexation but then keep the line where it is. Then all the lobbyists will start coming out of the woodwork urging the line be moved, probably using the affordable housing spiel they've been using as of late.

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I agree completely.

Just an interesting side note.

Perhaps there's some deal that can be made to put the area within Florida City and at the same itme freeze the southern UDB for 10 years.

That would at least take present politics out of it.

Even then I'd be wary though.

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Posted on Sun, May. 15, 2005


Leaders vow to fight urban development line

Miami Lakes has pledged to lead the countywide fight against the expansion of the Urban Development Boundary line.


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Miami Lakes was among the first municipalities in Miami-Dade to come out against moving the county's Urban Development Boundary. On Tuesday, the town council also pledged to step up as the leaders in what one council member called a war.

After hearing from several visiting community activists opposed to the expansion of the UDB, the council authorized town staff to ''use the full power of our city to make sure we do everything necessary that the UDB is not expanded,'' said Councilman Michael Pizzi, who sponsored the council's initial resolution in March.

Read more: Miami Herald

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Posted on Tue, May. 17, 2005


Building push has all signs of a war

The biggest push in many years to break through Miami-Dade's urban development boundary has begun as developers and the city of Hialeah have formally applied to move the line.


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Developers and one municipality are mounting the biggest push in 15 years to shift Miami-Dade County's development boundary closer to the Everglades.

The moves, which were expected as developers have aggressively assembled land parcels outside the development zone, are set to unleash a political battle royal.

Big-name developers, environmentalists, neighborhood groups, lobbyists, business leaders and elected officials -- ranging from small-town mayors to the governor of Florida -- all may jump in.

''This is going to be a bloody war,'' said Miami Lakes Councilman Michael Pizzi, whose city opposes boundary changes.

The debate over the urban development boundary has competing factions: those who think of it as an immovable line that preserves the Everglades and prevents suburban sprawl, spoiled water and crowded schools; and the opposing camp, which sees a flexible line that should bend with a burgeoning population that needs affordable housing.

Read more: Miami Herald

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I wonder what they plan to do after they have used up all available land.

They might have to build 900 ft buildings in Downtown, since thats the "highest" they could build.

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Well, Broward is already there... at build-out. All the older established cities east of I-95 are now starting to grow faster. They are starting to build townhouses, apartments, and condos. The best way to go is up. Dade's eastern cities are also starting to build denser as well. Transit is easier to provide, utilities can be set up in smaller areas and serve more people, and neighborhoods can become compact and walkable.

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