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Miami-Dade Commission Delays Vote On Controversial Development Proposal Near Homestead, Cutler Bay

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - After a tie vote, the Miami-Dade County Commission has put a controversial plan to develop 800 acres of farmland in District 8 on hold for the moment.

The commission decided to defer the issue until June 1. There will be no public forum at that time, just commissioner debate and then a vote.

During Thursday's commission meeting, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who has long been against the project, said it's a horrible idea.

At issue, 800 acres stretching from SW 107th Avenue to the west at SW 122nd, from the south at 268th to the north at 256th.

It's proposed for the development that opponents say circumvents the comprehensive development master plan which restricts development in the Everglades and Biscayne Bay.

"If we degrade our environment. That precious resource that supports us for our water needs, our agriculture needs, for the protection of our bay. All of these things are at risk with today's application," said Mayor Cava.

Roughly 250 residents had signed up for Thursday's public forum to put in their two cents.

Chairman Jose "Pepe" Diaz has argued it's a development that would bring jobs, build schools, businesses, and residential areas.

But others say it's a proposed site for a massive warehouse system which would increase traffic and ultimately destroy the environment.

"Building a development requires the necessitation of raising it by 4-8 feet, as developers say," said Michael Perez, who lives in Homestead, the potentially affected area.

He says that 4-8 feet would create a huge flooding problem. It would directly affect the streets and homes of his family and friends.

"Essentially, when you have a raised area the water will flow around it to the peripheries affecting many Homestead residents. I believe that negates the economic benefit oft-touted by this project. We can't reap the benefits if our homes are flooding."

Also with a stake in the proposed development, the Miccosukee tribal land.

Encroaching development is something the tribe is very familiar with.

Curtis Osceola of the Miccosukee Tribe said, "The expansion of the UDB (urban development boundary) is not good for any South Floridian. We have experience with environmental issues and we've been litigating environmental issues for decades."

Osceola said the development would do serious damage to the Biscayne aquifer and affect agriculture, among other negative impacts.

The proposed development sight doesn't encroach on tribal land as of now, but Osceola said it's an eventuality.

"The expansion of the UDB on this side is symbolic of them coming to the other side and encroach on tribal land and start to encroach on that main Everglades waterway."

Mayor Cava's team of experts have advised against this development in a 1,364-page analysis of the proposal.

Mayor Cava said she's for development, just not here.

"We have demonstrated that commercial development can grow in this county. We have adequate space. We have demonstrated we have jobs in this county. We're building rapid transit to South Dade."

For this development to proceed, it needs 9 commissioners to vote in favor of it. However, Mayor Cava said if it does pass, she'll veto it.


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