Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hiaasen on Urban Boundaries

The usual suspects will be on hand Monday when the Miami-Dade County Commission considers taking the first step toward trashing the Urban Development Boundary and obliterating the vital green barrier between urban development and the Everglades.

This is the opening paragraph of Carl Hiaasen's column this past Sunday. We know that we are not the only area in Florida facing extreme pressure from developers. We read about it every day.

Apparently politics and lobbying rule the day in South Florida to a much greater degree than here on the Suncoast. In a small way we can be thankful for that this week. We should not believe that we are off the hook though. There are plenty of developers waiting for a chance at undeveloped property east of I-75. And the pressure is relentless.

Hiaasen's column is excellent and should be read by everyone that values the quality of life we are losing slowly but surely, as the developers march toward more and more land being put under concrete.

His answer: make sure your officials know what you want, you must show up at hearings and meetings when these decisions are made.

Why should you go to these meetings? "The best reason to be at the meeting is because the lobbyists and the politicians they own don't want you there. They don't want anybody spoiling their party."


Anonymous said...

A member of the public coming before elected officials has to have a lot of courage and commitment.In several years of watching City Commission meetings, I have been struck by how defensive some on the Commission are,when ordinary people present a point of view. They are terribly pleasant to most lawyers, however,who are representing an economic special interest.These people are called "the stakeholders".They are greeted as old friends when they sit down at the Commission table.

Anonymous said...

The proposal by Citizens for Sensible Growth (CSG) to require a referendum for citizens to approve any Comp Plan Amendment to expand the Urban Services Area would be a giant step to removing the pressure on the BCC to move the existing boundary (all it would take at the moment is a vote of 3 county commissioners). Let us hope that CSG will get the required petitions signed to get this proposal on the 26 November ballot.

Bill Zoller

Anonymous said...

Agree with you about reception citizens get at commission table as opposed to developers and their representatives. Recently two developers' lawyers, about to leave the chamber after their agenda item had been covered, stood up in the first row and talked loudly for about two minutes. None of us could see or hear what was going on at the meeting. Citizen groups are reprimanded for being out of line...rightfully so...but why the double standard for development interests.