Land raids in the West?

By Michael Miller….

Michael Miller, Executive Editor

While Miami-Dade budget items will command attention in July, environmental issues and the potential of Urban Development Boundary movement remain the prime concern for many in Kendall. A few recent items that reflect possible territorial raids for western areas include:

• National Park Service extended the public comment period to July 25 on FPL’s proposed transmission line in East Everglades after a June meeting at FIU produced vigorous objections to the project.

• Concern by Susanne Torriente, MDC Director for Sustainability, and Lee Hefty, Associate Director of Environmental Resources, sought County Commission appointment of a Task Force to monitor increasing wetlands intrusion, documented by 460 permits issued in past year for an estimated 10,000 acres.

• Chairman Joe Martinez proposed a $2.64 million saving in Parks & Recreation Department budget by allowing cellular phone towers in public parks, despite newcomer Comish Xavier Suarez’s objections.

• Dismantling of the Department of Community Affairs by Gov. Rick Scott removed a watchdog over UDB and other growth issues when local applications were reviewed before final Commission action.

• Principals and associates of the Parkland “new community” in West Kendall gave $28,000 to mayoral loser Julio Robaina and $3,500 to winner Carlos Gimenez, indicators to many that Lennar will again ask UDB movement to build 18,000 homes off Krome Avenue.

Newly-elected Mayor Gimenez told a Dice House campaign meeting in June he’ll continue to judge UDB movement applications on a “case-by-case” basis, a pledge confirmed by his approval of a small tract outside the UDB for commercial development while rejecting other ‘aps’ in recent years.

Massive projects like Parkland need 18 to 24 months for land use, zoning and permitting approvals well before the first dirt is shoveled. For Parkland, that would likely mean not even infrastructure development until 2014.

With Florida’s sharpdecline housing employment and a general economic malaise in 2011, strong arguments can be made “to put people back to work” and “help revive the local economy,” even at the cost of UDB movement.

Without the state’s DCA (which sharply criticized Commissioners for not following UDB movement objections raised by their own Planning & Zoning Department in the past), environmental activists are now understandably nervous about how a changing administration will view Miami-Dade’s western growth in the immediate future.

Sour Grapes Dept. Luther Campbell’s June 30 ‘Gospel’ column in the New Times takes some nasty (and prejudicial) cracks at 1970-80‘s Miami Herald and downtown business leader Alvah H. Chapman, insinuating his racial bias. Why this publication continues to provide space for ‘Uncle Luke’s vitriolic racisim only reeinforces lack of credibility for whatever it prints.

For the gals! Urgent heads-up arrives in June to attend the July 29 Grand Opening of a new Ann Taylor “concept store” at Dadeland Mall when the “Newest look from the Summer 2011 Collection” goes on view that weekend, adds a NY PR firm to keep us all current!

Thought for the Day:

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

— Thomas Paine

Richard Yager contributed to this column.

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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at

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