Audubon has worked with many partners over the years to “Hold the Line” in Miami-Dade County to prevent development into the Everglades.
The Miami-Dade County commission instituted the line in the early 1980s in an effort to limit urban sprawl and protect agriculture and our natural resources.
Of these battles to protect the Everglades from urban sprawl, one application has been particularly troublesome: the South Dade Logistics and Technology District. Originally, the plan for this district would convert 800 acres of farmland currently protected by the UDB in South Dade into an industrial park.
Several commission meetings (including four separate deferrals) and several iterations of the application came and went before the proposal to move the boundary passed on a Commission vote in November of 2022. At this point, the acreage had been narrowed down to 380 acres, but concerns remained — including a lack of a detailed development plan for promised jobs and negative environmental impacts to Biscayne Bay and the vital forthcoming Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan project, the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration. Despite a Mayoral veto, the Miami-Dade County Commission moved forward with the expansion in midNovember 2022.
However, Audubon Florida orchestrated a strategy to notify the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) of missed statutory deadlines in the comprehensive plan amendment process. And, DEO agreed! In January and March 2023, DEO issued letters indicating that the applicant had in fact missed their voting deadline. Now, developers must start the approval process from square one.
While the fight to hold the line is not quite over, we are pleased that our continued efforts to facilitate state intervention, through coordination with the Governor’s office and state agencies such as DEP and the SFWMD, has been an effective tool in delaying what would be a poor land-use and planning decision for Everglades restoration.
This article appeared as part of the Spring 2023 State of the Everglades Report. Read the entire report here.