MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – After a number of delays, Miami-Dade County commissioners finally voted in favor of expanding the Urban Development Boundary to allow developers to build on sensitive county land.
It’s not quite a done deal yet, though.
The issue that has kept getting deferred is whether to hold the line or to build, pitting environmental concerns against new jobs.
The urban development boundary, or UDB, lines were drawn four decades ago to limit development to the west and south in order to protect fragile lands.
Four times before the commission has deferred the issue, extending the UDB to build the massive South Dade Logistics and Technology District.
Developers say it will bring jobs and improvements to the environment. The majority of commissioners are in favor.
“It’s either the economy or the environment, and I think this application, as it exists today, looks at both of those things,” said Commissioner Raquel Regalado.
But the commissioner who represents that district, not so much.
“It does look like this is cooked. It’s so cooked, it’s burned,” said Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins.
Miami-Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cave could decide to veto the expansion after long opposing the measure.
“Obviously there’s a domino effect, once one property goes,” said Levine Cava. “Obviously there are a lot of people who are looking to develop.”
“There are no jobs guaranteed, and it’s a false claim to say that a warehouse development is better for the environment than agriculture,” said Levine Cava.
Aligned Real Estate Holdings Developer Jose Hevia, who was in favor of the expansion of the UDB, told Local 10 News, “The property itself is contaminated and we are going to remedy that ourselves. so environment, jobs, we going to help these people.
One of their arguments has been that over 50 percent of growth over the next few years is expected in south Miami-Dade. but most of the jobs are located farther north.
Levine Cava and those opposed have said there was other land available for this project.
The commission could override the veto with another two-thirds vote.
Should the mayor veto the commission decision, the issue would come back in front of commissioners on Nov. 15.