Miami wants details on county's plan to move urban boundary
By Yeleny Suarez
Miami officials plan to ask Miami-Dade County planners for details about a proposal to move the county's urban-development boundary line.
"I think we (city commissioners) should request someone from the planning department in the county as a courtesy give us a presentation," Commissioner Tomas Regalado said last week.
Miami officials said they would like a county planner to make a presentation at their next commission meeting March 24.
Mr. Winton said if the county expands the boundary and creates neighborhoods closer to the Everglades, cities and the county would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure.
"They would have to run water and sewer systems from scratch, build roads, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, parks, school, etc. ... Those dollars should be put into municipal neighborhoods like the City of Miami, Hialeah, Miami Gardens and Opa-locka ... other communities that desperately need infrastructure improvements," Mr. Winton said.
Mr. Regalado also said he wanted more information.
"It makes sense to study and analyze it and I think that everyone, every resident in Miami-Dade County, has a stake in this issue," he said. "I would hope that someday someone would come here and tell us... the plans and impact to our ecosystem."
Mr. Winton said developers are saying they need the land to add affordable housing.
"Developers are making an argument that if we expand the urban boundary line we will get more affordable housing... Affordable for whom? Maybe market affordable, but I will tell you all the housing being built along the [Miami River], Coral Way, 37th Avenue - those are $400,000 units and are market affordable.
"The City of Miami has probably built more real affordable housing than any part of Miami-Dade County, period," Mr. Winton said. "The mayor and staff are working on this and we are going to have real data real soon."
One development proposed beyond the urban development boundary is Providence by D.R. Horton, which owns a 900-acre site bounded on the south by Southwest 120th Street, on the north by Southwest 104th Street, on the west by Krome Avenue and on the east by Southwest 167th Avenue.
County Chief of Metropolitan Planning Mark Woerner said amendments to the boundary are considered in April of every odd year.
"The proposal to consider the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) is first reviewed by the regional planning council, followed by the state agency... This typically takes about a year," he said.
"I know our colleagues at the county commission are struggling with this issue also and so I would like to go on record with the county suggesting that those with municipal boundaries in Miami-Dade County have a lot at stake here," Mr. Winton said.
Not all developers support moving the boundary.
Jorge Perez, CEO of Miami-based The Related Group of Florida, said in a recent interview that moving the line would affect natural resources.
"I would like to see density moving inward," Mr. Perez said. "If not, the expansion will negatively impact our natural resources."
Mr. Perez said Miami-Dade lacks economic development, education, transportation and cultural facilities and he is worried about transportation and education expenditures to attract the right business and people in the next five to 10 years.
"The City of Miami has a lot of stake in this issue," Mr. Winton said. "I don't know what we really ought to do but I am personally not in favor of expanding the urban development boundary, because I think over the course of 20 years it's going to cost us greatly."