Thousands of West Kendall eyes are on County Commissioners now that the Calusa Golf Course issue has quietly resurfaced. As the owner and developer seeking to build 550 homes on the 168-acre green space races to secretly push the deal through our government, hundreds of Calusa residents and thousands from surrounding communities – Crossings, Devon Aire, Winston Park, Hammocks and others – are united in opposition of jamming 1,000-2,000 new residents into a development in place of a planned, zoned and legally restricted green space.
While many believe there is no way our elected officials will push back against a well-funded development team and one of the most recognized and influential names in the region, Bacardi, others believe that times are changing.
Despite knowing that political campaign funding of commissioners and mayoral candidates usually assures a nod on development issues, we are confident that our current leaders realize that the days of ignoring the concerns of constituents is not only political suicide but just plain wrong.
Even those conservative on environmental issues – green spaces, wildlife, fresh air, global warming (where would rainwater drain?) and quality of life issues – must realize that there is no reasonable explanation for releasing the covenant which was a 99-year promise to the community.
And, frankly, who would move into the hundreds of new homes that have been built in the middle of a community already overburdened with traffic, overcrowded schools and infrastructure on the brink of overflowing as we’ve seen with Fort Lauderdale sewers?
In the years since the developer’s team was last shot down by the community and the Board of County Commissioners, they have secretly invested millions in attorney and consulting fees and have negotiated to provide huge financial reward to neighboring residents in return for “flipping” against the rest of West Kendall. With over 75% of the 146 homeowners abutting the golf course signing away their backyard golf vista views, Commissioners are led to believe that removing the covenant is a no-brainer with no jeopardy to their political popularity.
Voters from 5 or 6 Commission districts within a couple of miles of Calusa are anxiously watching. Citizens from other corners of the county are following the Save Calusa effort as they grapple with similar issues from Fisher Island to north and south Miami Dade.
An opportunity exists for County Commissioners to demonstrate leadership and good common sense on March 19th. First, they can show up as their schedule should dictate. Second, they can do the right thing for Miami Dade County by denying the application to remove the covenant on the Calusa Golf Course property.
A promise made in 1968 should be a promise kept.
Residents believing that high density residential development on one of the last remaining green spaces in West Kendall is a great idea should show up at the March 19th hearing before the County Commission. The rest of us would love to hear how such a position is justified.
Will the experienced and talented (and HIGHLY paid) dream team of lawyers, lobbyists and consultants with huge political campaign influence prevail or, will Commissioners vote with their heart and in the best interest of the community they serve?
Will Miami Dade County aid and abet the property owner in breaking the promise or assist the community in keeping it?
Other than the few who stand to gain financially from the ill-conceived plan, the message will be loud and clear from Kendall – NO!
A long time Kendall resident
Michael may be reached at email@example.com
I am not a Golf-Course resident…have lived in Calusa since ’84, needless to say I know the neighborhood (all of it) well.We are one community at Calusa Estates, not two separate ones…& the Golf-Course green-space impacts every single resident of Calusa due to environment-lifestyle-traffic etc in a direct way, no exceptions.
What is crucial is having green-spaces where unplanned-development has always been the norm up to now.If there is a will to prioritize the environment there must be a way…. & therefore protect the quality of life of all residents plus the broader-area itself (& not propel the rampant building/development in an already extremely congested neighborhood, as are nearby ones), am sure the Commission will find a way to initiate the process to do so.I agree 100% with Mr Mills re. opposing a builder jamming many hundreds of new homes in this green-space with resulting negative impact on ALL Calusa
Say No to Golf Course development in Calusa!
I am a Calusa golf course resident and I agree with Micheal Mills. We are not in favor of the development and distraction of our neighborhood. I would say Mr. Mills really does speak for the majority of Calusa and Kendall.