Miami Dade County Community Forum

Monday, April 11, 2011

A call to Action by the UEL Board of Directors!

Florida is a treasure which we have the privilege of enjoying with the responsibility to preserve and enhance that treasure for future generations. - Former Senator Bob Graham


To All Those Interested in Fair Growth and Good Planning in Greater Miami:

The Urban Environment League calls on you to speak out against fast track legislation that will significantly harm the built and natural environment of South Florida. We are facing a major crisis brought on by Governor Rick Scott and the state legislature.

Is Florida prepared for more uncontrolled development? Governor Rick Scott thinks so. He’s working to destroy the growth management laws and gut the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to appease to the interest of developers. The public's interest is being lost and we will pay a high price in years to come. Most of the public does not adequately appreciate the complex nature of the issues involved but hopefully you can help persuade legislators that thousands of voters do care very much.

Under the leadership of Governors Reubin Askew and Bob Graham, Florida was at the forefront of states in creating the Growth Management Act of 1985 - mandating state oversight of local development so that more rational planning could assure fair funding of public infrastructure, calling for contributions by developers. Do we really want to gut this legislation in favor of paying for new development when we have such a glut of unsold properties from the past housing crisis?

What’s at stake for South Florida?

- Our fragile Everglades ecosystem faces new and unplanned for encroachment!

- Our municipal services, already struggling, would be incredibly strained by this legislation.

- Our existing infrastructure and transportation systems need to be upgraded before we can pay for more development & growth! Where would any authority effectively oversee that?

Governor Scott is proposing that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) be drastically reduced in size and its authority to regulate development emasculated. The citizens, in the past, have been able to call on the DCA for help with issues like enforcing the UDB line rules and requiring water dependent uses for riverside properties. This will end.

The DCA has been instrumental in maintaining the urban boundary line (UDB) in Miami-Dade County as well as other counties that face the threat of decentralized sprawl. That could become history.

The Urban Environment League is in favor of well planned development, infill and encourgaing development around transportation corridors but knows all to well that some politically connected developers in Miami-Dade County can and will easily distort community needs in favor of their narrow interests. Without the oversight of the DCA, uncontrolled growth will prevail.

Now is the time to advocate and fight for smart growth planning in South Florida and throughout our state!

Join the UEL and other groups like Tropical Audubon Society in demanding that growth management laws remain intact and that the DCA remain as a vital government entity, fully funded and fully staffed.

There are a number of ACTION STEPS you can take:

1. Commit to writing a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
2. Send an email to your State Representative or State Senator in support of growth management.
3. Also call their office.
4. Post your concerns and share articles about this issue on Facebook, asking your friends to write emails and make calls to their legislators!

Please contact the UEL with any questions or requests for assistance at

Florida really needs your support at this critical time!

Thank you,

UEL Board of Directors

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