Miami Dade County Community Forum

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Orchids & Onions Awards: Subrata Basu

Subrata Basu received an Urban Environment League Orchid Award for Lifetime Achievement Planning/Regional Issues:

Subrata Basu, architect, planner and artist, left the planning jungle of South Florida to join the Peace Corps in Belize. His 34 years in public service included time as Community Redevelopment Director of South Miami and his last position as Assistant Director for Planning at the County. His leadership in numerous charrettes for urban centers demonstrated his deep commitment to creating livable communities and to promoting vigorous public participation in planning. He was a strong defender of the Urban Development Boundary and will be sorely missed. Our loss is the Peace Corp’s gain.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scenic Miami Call to Action on Billboard Ordinance

Big Support: Norman Braman has written all County Commissioners in support of and opposing Comm Bruno Barreiro's legislation to let cities opt out completely of county sign ordinance; he also requested that Comm. Barreiro withdraw the legislation. (see letter also TAKE ACTION on this issue before Wednesday.)

Big Victory: Federal Highway Administration rebukes Miami for illegal mural ordinance (click on link at to see letter)

Big Coverage: Three articles in the Miami Herald in last week

Big Fight: Keep our County Sign Code intact.

Tell our City and County commissioners and adminstrators that we do not want cities writing their own billboard ticket (more Miami rogue ordinances??) Another city, West Miami, has bowed to the outdoor advertising industry and allowed a massive electronic LED digital billboard which blights that city as well as west Coral Gables.

We oppose Comm. Bruno Barreiro's legislation to let cities completely opt out of the County sign code.

The next vote is in the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee at 2 pm Wednesday July 13 at the Commission Chambers, Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, The Commissioners say they like to see people in the chamber so please attend this meeting and make your opinion known. Members: Chair Edmonson, Barreiro, Diaz, Jordan, Monestime, and Sosa.

UEL signs letter to FDEP about Port and Tunnel Dredging in Biscayne Bay

Major environmental and civic groups in Miami are asking the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to slow down the environmental permitting process for the proposed Port of Miami deep dredge project to assure the utmost protection for the fragile natural resources of Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, and even the Florida Keys.

Seagrass beds, coral reefs and water quality will be impacted by blasting, boring and dredging that are proposed as part of the expansion projects at the Port of Miami, that seek to attract Post-Panamax freighter ships, the largest in the world. The secondary, cumulative environmental impacts of transforming the Port of Miami into a major industrial port -- have also not been properly explored nor assessed, the groups state. These impacts include subjecting the shallow bay and off shore coral reefs to increased risk of oil spills and groundings.

“There should be no shortcuts in either the costs that will be incurred to ensure best management practices or employing the least environmentally harmful methods available," was stated in a letter sent Friday, July 1, 2001 to Mr. Michael Carothers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.

"The full of amount of highest quality mitigation is required to protect our existing resources as well. Quality mitigation should restore habitats to extent possible to keep intact resources healthy, effectively resolving anticipated issues, as well as account for any likely yet unanticipated secondary impacts.” The 12-page letter was signed by representatives of environmental groups representing thousands of Floridians, including: the National Parks and Conservation Association, (NPCA), Tropical Audubon Society, Friends of Biscayne Bay, Sierra Club Miami Group, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, Izaak Walton League, the Environmental Coalition of Miami and Miami Beaches, Surfrider Miami, Urban Environment League, Urban Paradise Guild, and Clean Water Action.
Among the issues discussed:

1. A plan to use Virginia Key, a 1,000 acre barrier island with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve that is home to a state-designated critical wildlife area, as a disposal site for port tunnel and dredge materials.

2. The impacts of 600 days of blasting in areas never previously impacted by past dredging projects, including coral reefs off Miami Beach.

3. Water quality issues in Biscayne Bay, revered for crystal clear waters and extensive seagrass beds that are essential habitat for endangered species, including manatees and sea turtles. As a designated “Outstanding Florida Water,” the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, state standards call for “no degradation of water quality.”

4. Insufficient consideration of all natural resources impacted due to the Army Corps not taking into account that latest studies and assessments that reflect current conditions and resources.

5. Contamination from spoil materials within the Aquatic Preserve, including use of dredging or excavated materials for fill.

6. Secondary and cumulative impacts of port expansion projects, including groundings and oil spills in Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys from increased port activities and larger size of vessels.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Emilie Young Posthumous Orchid Award

Emilie Young received a posthumous 2011 Orchid Award for Environmental Excellence:

Emilie Young’s commitment to preserving the natural heritage of South Florida is a model for all of us. Under her leadership, the County’s Environmentally Endangered Land Program
acquired and maintained nearly 18,000 acres of rockridge pineland, tropical hardwood
hammocks, freshwater and coastal wetlands. This legacy will forever remind us of her love of the natural world, her commitment to the future of this County, and her incredible skill at
negotiating a good deal for the County taxpayers. She will be missed.

Accepting the award is Cynthia Guerra Director of the County’s Environmentally Endangered Land Program. Former County Commissioner Katy Sorenson was on hand to present the award. Sonia Succar is also pictured.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paula Church Recipient of Posthumous Orchid Award

Pictured: UEL Treasurer Barbara Falsey, Paula's husband Tom receiving the award, Mark Woerner her supervisor at Miami Dade County and Sonia Succar, UEL Co-President.

On June 15th, Paula Church was presented with the 2011 UEL Orchid Award:

Paula Church was one of the quiet and forceful soldiers in the fight for good planning in Miami Dade County. Her commitment to the environment and sound public policy were cornerstones in her work on the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan. As Supervisor in the Metropolitan Division, she was a gentle advocate for good planning and environmental protection. She was cherished by her colleagues and respected by the development community with whom she often strongly disagreed but respectfully and with good humor. Her passion for good planning, and for her home team – Go Canes – will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

James Murley Awarded the UEL 2011 Orchid Award

James Murley received the 2011 UEL Orchid Award for Lifetime Achievement for Planning/Regional Issues:

For a lifetime of leadership in the State of Florida promoting growth management and environmental protection. He has demonstrated that economic development can be furthered by combatting urban sprawl at the same time. He is providing a legacy that needs to be restored, not dismantled.

James Murley pictured with his lovely daughter!