Your search for "UDB" resulted in 15 hits.

Tuesday November 27, 2007

UDB vote today.

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Wednesday April 19, 2006

This is it, folks: looks like the UDB decisions are being made tomorrow. Slap on a green shirt, call in sick, and join Rebecca down there.

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Wednesday January 2, 2008

What to do right now to help prevent development past the UDB.

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Thursday May 1, 2008

County commission sells out Everglades

Last week, the Miami-Dade commission approved several developments beyond the UDB, and while the developments are still up in the air pending a mayoral veto, this spells trouble. A Time Magazine article very nicely lays out the compromised integrity of various members of the commission (“One of the Lowe’s project’s biggest backers on the commission is Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who is under federal investigation for allegedly receiving gifts from developers whose plans he’d voted for.”), but it also points out a larger point.

Nominally underway is a $10 billion Everglades restoration project funded by the federal government. In actuality, the whole effort is troubled and behind schedule. How, the Time article asks, can South Florida expect such a huge national investment in the ‘glades when we can’t resist paving more and more of it over? (via TM)

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Wednesday November 21, 2007

Urban Development Boundary update: From information received by Boom or Bust, it appears that there are 4 pending applications to open a total of 178 acres beyond the UDB to development. Only one of those is currently recommended for rejection. Please to attend the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting on Tuesday, November 27, 2007, write your commissioner, or at least customise and submit this action alert.

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Monday December 3, 2007

Eight county commissioners voted in support of development beyond the Urban Development Boundary last week: Bruno Barreiro, Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Audrey Edmonson, Barbara J. Jordan, Joe Martinez, Dorrin Rolle, Natacha Seijas, and Javier Souto. To echo Verticus: “They should be ashamed of themselves.” Update: The proposals are now forwarded to the Florida Department of Community Affairs, which usually gives these things the thumbs-down, but get this: their approval is just another recommendation back to the county commission for a final vote in April. Good grief.

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Saturday April 15, 2006

A greener Miami

a steenkin' pile of garbage One of the nice things about all the new blogs is that certain unpleasant tasks, like trying to keep up with the horrible UDB site, get taken off my hands. Not only does Rebecca do it better then I ever did, but she does what few bloggers do: she gets out there and does stuff in the real world.

There was the trash thing, the transportation challenge, and the liveblogging thing. It’s not in her nature to be preachy, which is quite unexpected for a hippie environmentalist blogger, right?

OK, so how about this: “I will pick up at least one piece of litter and place it in a trash can everyday for 1 month, but only if 20 other local people will, too.” You can get behind that, can’t you?

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Wednesday December 19, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, your county commission is out of its collective fucking mind: They just approved $347 million for a new Marlins stadium (more then double what the actual team will contribute!), overrode the UDB veto (to allow building past the development boundary, and note that Katy Sorenson, Rebeca Sosa, Carlos Gimenez, and Dennis Moss are the only ones that stood up against development), and generally passed the whole downtown overhaul that was proposed last year. I’m with them on the streetcar and on Museum park, but not much of anything else. Update: The budget for the 800-unit replacement to the Scott and Carver housing projects can suddenly accommodate only about 150 units. (thanks, Carlos)

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Wednesday December 5, 2007

Everglades anniversary

Everglades

Everglades National Park celebrates its 60th anniversary tomorrow. As we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the restoration of the park is in serious turmoil, and the latest is that the Army Corps of Engineers are trying all sorts of tactics to get elected officials to pony up the necessary money.

There is a lesson here about green accounting, and the true cost of the choices that we make as a society. Unfortunately we are not yet at a point of looking realistically at this stuff. Alas, our choices now are to bite the bullet or to let the wilting of the ‘glades continue (I’m looking at you, piss-on-the-UDB Miami-Dade commission). I hope we choose right and make Marjory proud. Anywho, I stopped by last weekend and got this photo.

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Monday November 21, 2005

How long can we hold the line?

This struggle is as basic as the one between man and beast. In fact, it sort of is the struggle between man and beast. Every single day, 800 people move to Florida. Some of them want to live in a 1920’s house east of Biscayne. Some want to live in one of the snazzy new downtown condos. Some want to live in an appartment that’s affordable, and close to their job. But the overwhelming majority want a nice, brand new house, with a two-car garage, a big lawn, and a swimming pool. And they’re willing to commit well over a quarter million dollars to get one. That, my friends, will buy a lot of political pressure.

So maybe our friends at Hold the Line are fighting the rivers of time. The only thing they have on their side is a good argument, which goes something like this: unchecked development will run roughshod (will? ney- it has!) over the everglades, gradually destroying the natural ecosystem, all the while contributing to our unhealthy urban-sprawl city unplanning. A low-density city, they claim, is bad for the enviroment, bad for our social lives, and bad for numerous other reasons. Well, putting reasoning and studies by some of the most respected organizations in our country against well-paid lobbyists is just not a fair fight.

Why? Well, lobbyists won’t argue for urban sprawl as a desirable goal; they argue for the one particular development that they’re representing at any given point. And, taken individually, we suppose any development might sound good. Well, folks, nine developments go befor the County Commission today, asking to have the Urban Development Boundary expanded—just a little, you understand?

The Sunday Herald ran two articles about this, one a basic summary of the situation, the other an editorial by Carl Hiaasen. Carl is great – he’s not afraid to say that the developers are out for themselves, and we, the people, need to stick up for ourselves. On this, the Hold the Line folks agree – anyone who can make it to the meeting this Monday morning should get down there. Just putting in an appearance will make a difference, but by all means register to make a public comment. The meeting will be held at the County Chambers, on the second floor of 111 NW 1st Street. More information, along with instructions for e-mailing your commissioner if you can’t attend, here. Hold that line, y’all. And in the meantime, support your existing infastructure and city history by living as far east as you can.

Update: This morning, the Herald added a more official editorial aimed at the commissioners themselves:

Developers eager go outside the UDB say that it is the only place with land affordable enough to build reasonably priced homes. But the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning says there is enough land to continue building homes within the UDB until 2018. More important, adding to Miami-Dade’s sprawl will increase costs for all taxpayers. The reasons are well documented in studies and books.

Fair enough, but Hiaasen’s please are more relevant to the reader – they are about what we can do: show up at the meeting and tell our commissioners what we want.

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Tuesday May 16, 2006

The thing about the alligators

sign: We Sell Smoked Alligator Original or Hot
Image by Frances Nash

Now don’t get any ideas – this isn’t going to be one of those we’ve been eating them for decades, it’s a wonder they haven’t started eating us sooner type of things. But what’s really going on with all these alligator attacks? Look. Gators have brains the size of a pea. They’re running on some ancient-ass instinctual behavior, and they’re designed to live in the swamp, not in a lake by some dumb UDB-pushing cookie-cutter development (actually, human beings aren’t designed to live like that, either, but I don’t want to digress). What’s more, they’re cold blooded, kind of like a solar panel – the warmer it is, the more energy they have to move around, and the more they have to eat.

But of course the alligators aren’t the problem – the problem is people. Remember the guy from Grizzly Man? He thought he was going to be friends with bears, and ended up getting his brain snacked on by a grizzly while his girlfriend watched. Well, that’s the same thing that’s happening for our whole species with the alligators. The solution is simple: stay the hell away from the gators, and especially don’t feed them. (When gators get used to being around people (and esp. if they associate us with food), the possibility of taking a bite out of our ass becomes to look pretty attractive to a hungry one.)

The problem with this approach is that everyone has to do it for it to work. Good luck there. Also, all the alligators that have already gotten used to people are not going to un-learn shit. So my alternate suggestion is to watch your ass. Forget the zig-zag running thing – it’s a myth (alligators don’t chase people). The key is to just stay the hell away from them. If you’re attacked, pound the crap out of their snout and eyes. Yikes. All that and more in this fun video:

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Tuesday November 15, 2005

Tuesday morning clickiage

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Thursday January 24, 2008

The ugly side of historic preservation

Ugly house

Tuesday, we saw a stately, if not exactly iconic, house from 1913 gain historic status, and everybody cheered. Now we have this news: the Miami Beach city commission has declared the eastern half of Alton Road between 8th and 14th streets a Newly Minted Historic District. The above little house is one of a group designed by “prominent” [?] architect Robert A. Little in 1934 which is cited as evidence for the NMHD. These houses (see them all in this pdf) are located between 12th and 14th Streets; the argument for 8th to 12th streets is apparently much weaker.

Now, Alton Road is a busy commercial corridor which serves the residents of South Beach — unlike Washington and Collins, which are much more tourist-oriented. These houses, designed as single-family residences and now all pressed into service as businesses, are clearly a drag on the commercial potential of the immediate neighborhood. With their newly found historic status, this is what they will remain.

In passing the ordinance, one of the commissioners cited a study which found that 88% of the city’s residents considered historic preservation important. Well, of course we do, and Miami Beach has much architecture that deserves protection. But I think we like our preservation to include concessions to common sense. Here is a group of out-of-context buildings that are ill-suited to their surroundings, and are of widely varying aesthetic (and debatable historic) value. Miami Beach boasts many homes from this time period in, you know, residential neighborhoods.

By advocating for historic preservation in all cases and at all times, preservationists appear oblivious to the reality that without tearing down old buildings, the only development possible is on virgin land (hello, UDB). The positives of historical preservation ought to be weighed against its natural negatives — a drag on economic potential of a property, and a contribution to sprawl.

In the case of these particular buildings, the argument against declaring a few of them historical and allowing the rest to be torn down falls particularly flat. Preservationists argue for the need to preserve the “character” of neighborhoods. This is laughable in the case of these particular buildings, which could not be more out of character to the street they find themselves on today. It is in fact much easier to argue that the historic and aesthetic value of the couple of real gems in the group would be heightened if they were surrounded by the more contemporary, and higher-density, buildings the neighborhood needs.

Such is the case with the Coral House, which (the same article notes) is now thankfully in a much better position to be restored and preserved. It’s the case of Dr. Jackson’s Office in Brickell. Both are gems, and both were once surrounded with similar buildings built in a similar time. Would we wish that those neighborhoods were “preserved” as they were thirty years ago? Of course not. Only a packrat saves everything — the rest of us keep a few cherished mementos from the past and toss the rest.

I’m going to close with a dose of libertarian argument, because the Miami Beach commission did not just act like packrats. After all, these properties are not theirs to do with as they wish — they have actual rightful owners. What has actually happened here is that the property rights of these owners have been restricted. It’s of course necessary for society to do this under certain circumstances, but it needs to be kept in mind. Property rights, aesthetics, economics — here we have an act of historical preservation that is almost all downside.

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