Miami-Dade sends South Dade warehouse proposal to the state

Development would be on land environmentalists say is crucial to Everglades and Biscayne Bay

The land proposed for use is outside the county's urban development boundary and, while it could bring jobs to South Dade, environmentalists say the development would be bad for the Everglades and Biscayne Bay.

MIAMI – The Miami-Dade County Commission voted 9-3 Thursday to send a proposal for a large South Dade industrial warehouse project to Tallahassee without a recommendation.

The 794 acres involved sit south of Florida’s Turnpike and north of Southwest 268th Street, between Southwest 107th and 122nd avenues. It’s land outside of Miami Dade’s urban development boundary (UDB), drawn by the county to protect farmland and the Everglades from urban encroachment.

Developers asked the county to expand the UDB to make room for their project, but environmentalists say that land is vital to restoring the Everglades and the health of Biscayne Bay.

Commissioners got an earful from both sides of the debate before their vote.

“We have land inside the UDB where jobs can come to South Dade,” said Laura Reynolds of the Hold the Line Coalition. “I encourage you to deny and do not transmit this application. It’s in the wrong place. We need this land for Everglades restoration.”

But a number of South Dade residents spoke in favor of the development, saying it will mean more jobs close to home.

“Are we opening a Pandora’s box by approving or even transmitting this application? My answer to you is no. The South Dade Logistics Technology District has to be reviewed and approved on its own merits,” said Jeffrey Bercow, an attorney for the developers.

Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, who represents the district where the proposed industrial park would go, opposed the plan, moving to deny.

But she was outvoted by her fellow commissioners.

It would be the first breach of the county’s UDB in eight years if eventually approved.

The proposal now goes to the state for a full review before it comes back to the commission for a final vote. A final decision appears to be months away.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava spoke to Local 10 News after the vote and said she remains firmly against the project. She said the land is outside the urban development boundary and “poses a great risk to our local environment, particularly Biscayne Bay.”

Information from Local 10 News Anchor Louis Aguirre was used in this report.

CORRECTION: Local 10 inadvertently misidentified a speaker in the video for this story. The speaker was Pastor Timothy Forbes. We apologize for the error.

About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter.