Well, folks, that time has rolled around again. Time to “march on City Hall” – only this time it’s “County Hall,” downtown.
Convening at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, county commissioners are to decide if a sixth shopping center within less than two miles of a unique and storied Kendall neighborhood is really a necessity.
Why? Because someone wants to sell some property to make a buck, even though it would help to destroy the country setting of Horse Country and someone else up the Florida Coast itches to buy it make more bucks by building an unwanted shopping center on a piece of Kendall turf whose residents must fight for its preservation every couple of years or so.
Since 1975 when a shopping center was proposed for the southwest corner of SW 43 Street and SW 127 Avenue residents have been forced to fend off land grabs to preserve their historic surroundings. Now, the target is a 10-acre tract at the southeast corner of SW 56 Street and SW 127 Avenue.
So once again, Horse Country folks will raise an arm or wave a handkerchief to remind 13 county commissioners that, just as they have decided in years past, this placid country setting must remain intact with its farmyards, stables, mini-zoos, nurseries, churches, schools and peaceful homes so completely uncommon to the suburban sprawl where eyesore commercial building has polluted landscapes throughout much of Miami-Dade’s territory.
Peggy Brodeur, the grand lady of the nearby Community Zoning Board 12, has lectured many avid attorneys and their cash-hungry clients that citizen boards are here to protect established land uses in accordance with the county’s land use map, which means not making arbitrary changes unless not doing so causes an economic hardship to the owner.
We don’t know what “economic hardships” the present owners may be suffering but perhaps it’s time for the commission to call them forward to explain how owning acreage in Horse Country is ruining their finances.
The county’s own planning staff that watchdogs over changes in land use, has already turned thumbs down as they did the local zoning board (Community Council #11), pointing out that five shopping centers already exist in the same area: Birdgate, Birdside Center, Bird Point Plaza, Miller Plaza and Miller Square.
They also recognized that Horse Country, that is from SW 40 St to SW 72 St and from the Turnpike to SW 127 Ave and zoned agriculture deserves to be protected by the county.
In addition, several regional shopping centers serve the immediate area south and east of Horse Country, including The Palms at Town & Country (Kendall Drive and 117 Avenue) and Kendall Village Center (Kendall Drive and S. W. 124 Avenue). There’s a plethora of both retail sites and professional offices.
Both Miami and out-of-state residents, not just residents of Horse Country, have signed petitions objecting to the change, both on paper and on-line. (BTW: You can add your voice by signing a petition at www.horsecountry.org).
Now, it’s up to the elected county commissioners to protect and preserve Horse Country, a unique and special part of Miami- Dade County, and turn down the latest absurdity – changing the county’s land use master plan to suit a private economic-driven interest.
What more needs to be said?
The mayor may be reached at 305-375- 5071, and the county commissioners at 305- 375-5833. For email addresses go to www.miamidade.gov/commission.
Michael Miller is co-owner of Community Newspapers and lives in Horse Country, where he and his wife raised their children. He currently serves as the President of the Bird Kendall Homeowners Association, which represents Horse Country and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.