For Immediate Release
Kahlil Kettering, National Parks Conservation Association, 954-401-4592
Governor and Cabinet Send Message to County--Do Not Expand Urban Development Boundary
The state of Florida submits final order in lawsuit to prevent expanding the Urban Development Boundary into threatened lands
MIAMI - The Governor's cabinet submitted a final order on July 28
against expansion of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) in west
Miami-Dade County. This order will prevent an oversized Lowes
development proposal outside the urban core of Miami from moving
forward on top of wetlands next to Everglades National Park, and is the
result of a lawsuit brought forward last year by the Florida Department
of Community Affairs (DCA) along with the nonprofit National Parks
Conservation Association (NPCA) and 1000 Friends of Florida.
Governor Crist's cabinet concurred in part with environmental
advocates, civic activists, local residents, the DCA, and County staff
in opposing expansion of the important UDB that protects national parks
and open spaces. The permits sought for a Lowe's home improvement store
and a shopping plaza would compromise the water supply, economy, and
quality of life for Miami-Dade residents. The Governor's cabinet
determined that the Lowe's store violated State growth management
policies, but approved a shopping plaza as an anomaly, which should not
set precedent to move the UDB.
Kahlil Kettering of the National Parks Conservation
Association hailed the decision by the Governor's cabinet, "This is a
momentous decision and sends a clear message to Miami-Dade County that
the UDB is a line that needs to be held to protect our parks and
natural environment. ‘Holding the Line' is vital to restoring Everglades National Park, protecting our water supply, and keeping agriculture viable in Miami-Dade County."
The National Parks Conservation Association's legal counsel, Robert
Hartsell of the Everglades Law Center, Inc., said "The cabinet has
shown their commitment to promoting smart growth in our state. This
ruling tells us that expansions of the UDB should be few and far
between, and allowing urban sprawl that threatens America's Everglades
is not sound growth management policy."
"The cabinet's decision to ‘Hold the Line' supported thousands of
citizens who know that maintaining the UDB is critical to encourage
smart growth and protecting Miami-Dade's economy, environment and
community" said Dawn Shirreffs, Florida Program Coordinator for Clean
Development outside the UDB place a heavy burden on taxpayers, who
must shoulder additional infrastructure costs. Given the environmental
and economic realities in Miami-Dade County, the need to protect
farmland and wetlands, and the glut of vacant real estate, the benefits
of maintaining the UDB far outweighs any asserted need for another
development outside the UDB. It is important to note that the County
Department of Planning and Zoning staff recommended denying these
developments before they went before the commission for approval in
Preserving the UDB is important to efforts to restore the
Everglades. Each new development outside this area increases demands
for drainage, water use, roads, supporting development and reduces the
existing buffer between urbanization and the Everglades. Some of the
development also results in the filling of wetlands adjacent to
Everglades National Park, which are a rapidly disappearing resource in
the State of Florida.
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation
Association has been the leading voice of the American people in
protecting and enhancing our National Park System. For 36 years Clean
Water Action has been working to empower people to take action to
protect America's waters, build healthy communities and to make
democracy work for all of us.
For more information about Clean Water Action, click here.
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NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.