Today, Miami-Dade County commissioners will cast a final vote on a developers’ proposal to add almost 800 acres of rural land off Florida’s Turnpike to the Urban Development Boundary. Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples traveled to Miami to deliver the following comments in opposition to the industrial complex which threatens valuable green space and Biscayne Bay restoration efforts.
Chairman and Commissioners, I’m Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades. We were founded in 1969 to fend off a dangerous development that threatened the Everglades ecosystem.
Back then, it was the Everglades Jetport. Today, it is the South Dade industrial complex.
This vote is a litmus test.
The outcome will reflect whether your voiced support for Biscayne Bay translates into action. County staff and independent experts have concluded that 9 million square feet of industrial space would be worse for Biscayne Bay than the existing agricultural operations on the site. Appointing task forces and conducting studies on Biscayne Bay’s ecology are only meaningful if you’re willing to apply that knowledge to reject bad environmental proposals like this one.
Your “yes” or “no” vote today also will signal whether the county’s commitment to resiliency in the face of sea-level rise is sincere — or merely a series of symbolic gestures you’re willing to undercut to enable a developer build on Coastal High Hazard Area. This is among the most flood-prone and least suitable land for development in the county.
This vote will tell us whether you are good stewards of the billions of dollars in taxpayer money invested in ongoing Everglades restoration — or whether you are willing to take 800 acres of green space off the table even as a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan project is in the works in this very area. County staff, state agencies and the federal Department of Interior have made it clear that the applicant’s land is still within the footprint of lands being considered for the BBSEER project, which aims to improve water quality in Biscayne Bay.
This vote will tell us whether you care about job-development in existing urban areas, for landowners whose property is appropriately zoned — or whether you’d prefer to give special treatment to speculators with inflated job projection fitures who want to convert working farmland to flood the market with a 100-year supply of warehouse space in South Dade.
Please protect Biscayne Bay, honor the county’s resiliency needs, and safeguard the public investment in Everglades restoration by voting no on this amendment today.