Ed. note: Ahead of a scheduled vote by the Miami-Dade County Commission, Nikki Fried authored this op-ed voicing her opposition to the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary (UDB) expansion.
The postponed vote originally scheduled for June 1 is now set to take place this Thursday, September 22.
I recently testified before the Miami-Dade County Commission in opposition to expanding the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) for the proposed South Dade Logistics and Technology District Industrial Park.
Altering the UDB is unnecessary for this facility’s construction and would adversely impact the agricultural integrity of the surrounding lands and further destabilize the area’s water management.
I was not alone in speaking out at the May 19 Commission meeting. In fact, because of the overwhelming turnout of community members voicing their opposition, the commission delayed its final vote on this proposal until June 1.
I hope Commissioners took this time to reflect and truly consider all the ways approving this expansion would be a massive loss for the county and its natural lands for negligible gain.
Let me be clear: I am completely supportive of job creation, but the UDB does not need to be expanded to create economic opportunity.
Miami-Dade County’s own Regulatory and Economic Resources Department said there is enough vacant industrial land within the current boundary to accommodate new projects through 2040.
Additionally, the department projected it would take more than a century for the market to absorb the proposed development, and the project would only encourage further urban sprawl.
It was also revealed during the May meeting that the estimate of 12,000 jobs created by the project’s economist was heavily inflated.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade is home to a nearly $3 billion agriculture industry that produces a variety of crops that feed families across our state, nation and world. The land at risk is 793 acres of beautiful and necessary farmland, part of this vital industry in Florida.
During our statutorily required agency review of this proposed expansion, my department found that these agricultural lands are an “irreplaceable resource of statewide importance” under Florida law, and the amendments would violate the state’s Community Planning Act, in which agriculture is to “be recognized and protected.”
In addition, 90% of the proposed area’s land is the highest soil designation within the county and significant acreage of specialty crops grown on adjacent agricultural lands would be endangered. In fact, only 2% of the land in question is classified as “not prime farmland.”
In this time of crisis with domestic and global food insecurity rising, food prices reaching record highs and supply-chain challenges, it would be unconscionable for commissioners to sacrifice even a single acre of farmland to clear the way for a misplaced industrial center.
Furthermore, the lands in question have continually borne the brunt of development, fragmentation, flood control and water-management challenges. Recklessly changing this land’s use from agricultural to industrial undoubtedly would upset the fragile balance of flood control, recharge, nutrient filtering and water management that takes place throughout the agricultural community — further endangering Biscayne Bay and South Dade’s environment.
My Office of Agricultural Water Policy reviewed this development proposal and found it would alter the flood control of the surrounding area, requiring substantial changes to water management to safeguard the viability of adjacent farmland.
Additionally, it would require acres of soil to be paved over, robbing the surrounding area of vital water management and recharge benefits, likely increasing flooding and runoff entering waterways. It is my responsibility to speak out against plans that so completely go against common-sense land management.
Beyond my department’s formal objections to the proposed plan, shared with the county last October after we completed our agency review, the outpouring of testimony I heard by community members at the recent meeting about misstated job numbers and lack of transparency is also of great concern.
As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as well as a Miami-Dade native, I urge the County Commission to consider the full and unnecessary harm this project would bring to the region and reject the proposed UDB expansion.
Nicole “Nikki” Fried is Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
September 20, 2022 at 11:53 am
Impeach her please! ASAP.
September 20, 2022 at 12:05 pm
👆Neo nazi incel…need Fat Cammack bare ass face sit… Nikki Fried golden shower to wash it off. Then for desert, I give you a high kick to the lips… outta there buddy!
September 20, 2022 at 3:56 pm
Are you writing from a psych ward, a prison cell, or rehab facility?
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