The Urban Forum Newsletter of The Urban Environment League Website: www.uel.org Issue No. 16 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org September 2005 Where have we been? Where are we going? How will we get there? By Nancy Liebman - UEL President As this is the beginning of my place, so developers continue to rush the removal of visual blight in all offourth year as President of UEL, I in with huge development plans. Miami Dade’s neighborhoods.thought I would reflect on the ques- Now, with so many cats out of the The greatest blight stems from thetions posed in the title. bag, no matter how great a job Liz lack of enforcement of the outdoor When I started with the UEL, the and her staff do with the plan, the sign ordinance (AKA as the Billboardissues were about saving open space, future streetscape will be fraught with Ordinance). While Commissionerestablishing benchmarks for quality insensitive growth and lack of neigh- Katy Sorenson staunchly fights forcommunities, insuring that Miami borhood integrity. Community as- stronger sign regulations, the City ofwould develop a land use master plan sociations are fighting back through Miami is eagerly attempting to settleto preserve the character of the city’s out Miami-Dade County. The UEL with the owners of the illegal signshistoric neighborhoods and parks. will work with each of the groups to and legalize the illegal signs. TheAlso on our agenda was the preser- establish a smart growth master plan. County is the designated enforcer ofvation of natural resources such as the Miami kicked off its ALL billboard signs inwaterfront and the revitalization of Virginia Key Master Plan Conversation Miami Dade County.the Everglades. UEL was in the fore- that will produce a blue- They have failed to usefront of civic issues related to the print for the historic res- with their authority! Anabove. We worked hard, but many toration and sensible re-times when we thought we had a suc- development of the Key. Mayor amendment to beef up the County Sign Or-cess story, progress took three steps A week after the kickoff, Carlos dinance was on thebackward. The issues below illustrate we almost took a giant county commissionwhere we have been, where we were step backward. An item Alvarez agenda September 8.going, and the dedication to get appeared on the City of Oct. 20th An advertising glitchthere. Miami Commission disrupted the best in- As the City of Miami kicked off agenda to expand the See Page 10 tentions of the com-Miami 21, the long awaited master Rusty Pelican Restaurant mission. The amend-planning strategy began with plan- on Virginia Key, complete with a ments to the sign ordinance are nowner, Elizabeth Plater Zyberk. One floating bar at the water’s edge. The on hold for a month or two.step forward for a Miami Master inconsistency of this expansion on It is up to the County to controlPlan. The purpose of the plan was Virginia Key flew in the face of the visual sign blight. UEL eagerly sup-to end overzealous construction master planning process. We com- ports the amended ordinance and weprojects and begin to design zoning mend the Miami Commission for urge the County Commission to usethat complemented Miami’s unique putting this development plan to rest their powers to enforce and removecommunities. Miami’s planning until the Virginia Key Master Plan is those illegal signs.code today encourages construction completed. The UEL will monitor Back in 2002, the County and thethat shadows over them. The step the progress for writing a creative School Board plotted to try to buildbackwards was that no moratorium plan. a school in Haulover Park.in place until the master plan is in The UEL has strongly supported Please go to page 3
Miami 21 & we are most likely number 3. design that is compatible to sur- It is a fact that more traffic is the rounding neighborhoods, and pro- Transportation chief objection to additional develop- mote alternative transportation op- ment and density in the City. tions.” By Bob Flanders Miami 21 has been billed correctly More traffic and road capacity are as a complete and holistic approach not the inevitable result of growth. Fred Kent of the Project for Pub- to redesigning the City into a sustain- They are in fact the product of verylic Spaces said his favorite saying able community for the rest of the deliberate choices that have beenabout Transportation is: 21st century. But it is also true that made (for us usually, not by us) to “If you plan cities for cars and traf- the studies which will reshape our shape our communities around thefic, you get cars and traffic. If you zoning, create a new economic devel- private automobile. But Miami 21plan for people and places, you get opment plan and redesign the public can change that.people and places.” realm will fail with- We as a society, and now as an en- It is 2005 and in out a redesign of tire city, have the ability to make dif-Miami we have fi- our transportation ferent choices—starting with the de-nally awakened to networks. cision to design our streets asthe fact that many of In other words, comfortable places for people.our public spaces the other three dis- Miami 21 offers the greatest op-have been over- ciplines revolve portunity to develop a plan that be-whelmed by car-cen- around the fourth, gins to make the changes that willtric development. transportation, help Miami overcome our most Miami’s traffic which according to pressing long-term problem with asnarls and depen- the Miami 21 solution that greatly enhances ourdency on the auto- website, “will make quality of life and returns our city tomobile are well recommendations its citizens.documented and for improvements This from the Project for Publicwidely known. Mi- that will mitigate Spaces website - http://www.pps.orgami, along with congestion, im- Rule One: Stop Planning for Speed.other car-choked cit- prove the existing Speed kills sense of place. Citiesies across America road network, en- and town centers are destinations, not Lead Consultanthas fallen victim to courage highway raceways. Commerce needs traffic— Elizabeth Plater-Zyberkthe ever growingpresence of the auto-mobile. Two years ago, intheir 2003 nationalUrban Mobility Re-port, researchers withthe Texas Transporta-tion Institute at TexasA&M University(which monitors howmuch time motoristsspend each year intraffic) ranked Miamias the 4th most con-gested city in Americaand the gridlock capi-tal of Florida. Today
foot traffic. You can’t buy a dress from Nancy Liebman’s Column Continued..a car. Even foot traffic speeds up in This outrageous plan to usurp Since UEL’s beginning, we havethe presence of fast-moving cars. Ac- open space parkland as land for advocated for good communitycess, not automobiles, should be the schools was scuttled by then Super- planning complete with amenitiespriority in city centers. Don’t ban intendent, Merritt Steirheim after an such as transportation, schools,cars, but remove the presumption in outcry from UEL and the environ- pedestrian safety, walkability,their favor. People first! mental community. parks, open space, affordable Rule Two: Start Planning for Pub- In a giant step backward, Super- housing and up-to-date infrastruc-lic Outcomes intendent Rudy Crew suggested in a ture. All of these qualities have Cars were first introduced into cit- memo dated, August 24, 2005 that become the central focus of UEL’sies as a public health measure—re- the School Board “authorize the Su- fight to hold the urban develop-moving the dirt and filth of a trans- perintendent to form an education ment boundary line. So, despiteportation system based on raw compact between Miami Dade Pub- many steps backwards over thehorsepower, in the literal sense of the lic Schools and the City of Miami”. years, we know we are still mov-word. Cars also allowed us to sepa- One of the elements in the ing on the same future path.rate people from the pollution of Superintendent’s memo suggests “in- Preserving the UDB meansmills and factories, another public corporation of a specialized Science stopping sprawl, redeveloping thebenefit. Great transportation, such as High School and a Fine Arts High inner city neighborhoods with itsGrand Central Terminal, grand bou- School on the grounds of Museum decaying infrastructure, fightinglevards, cozy side streets, rail-trails, Park (Bicentennial Park) where the for a viable mass transportationthe wide sidewalks of the Champs city’s science and arts museums will system, demanding the end toElysées, are transportation “improve- be”. The “educational compact”, in- traffic gridlock through the use ofments” that actually improve the cluding Crew’s language was ap- the County’s transit tax, insuringpublic realm. Think public benefit, proved by both the School Board and there will be inclusionary housingnot just private convenience. the City of Miami Commission. for our diverse community and Rule Three: Think of Transpor- Last year, UEL worked out a com- saving our most irreplaceable his-tation as Public Space promise with the museums whereby toric resource, the Everglades. a total of eight acres of the park will This is our ongoing agenda based Yes, the road, the parking lot, the be used for museum building includ- upon the core principles by whichtransit terminal—these places can ing their infrastructure. the organization was established.serve more than one mode (cars) andone purpose (movement). The UEL is a member of the Bi- We know where we have been centennial Park planning committee and where we are going, we lose Sidewalks are the urban arterials and will remain mobilized to preserve some battles, but we know howof cities—make them wide, well lit, the remaining open space and water- to get there.stylish and accommodating withbenches, outdoor cafes and public art. front vistas. We will use our educational fo-Roads can be shared spaces with pe- Not only will we oppose Superin- rums, our dinner meetings anddestrian refuges, bike lanes, on-street tendent Crew’s school plan for the our newsletter to keep the publicparking etc. Parking lots can become park, but we will continue to advo- informed about the ever-growingpublic markets on weekends. cate that parks are not surplus land issues. and must never be compromised by We will also be in the public Even major urban arterials can be placing buildings in them. Once in arena to advocate for the future ofretrofitted to provide for dedicated the Park, the school’s needs would a sustainable South Florida.bus lanes, well-designed bus stopsthat serve as gathering places, and quickly gobble up -- bit by bit -- BE THERE WITH US!multi-modal facilities for bus rapid what little open land remains.transit or other forms of travel. Roads We also continue to urge theare places too! City of Miami to not usurp pub- Visit the Miami 21 Website: lic open space to put their policehttp://www.miami21.org/ horse stables in the open space of Billboard - cosmetic surgery historic Lummus Park.
of that year at what was then called ban refugees, but also around that On 60th Anniversary Baker’s Haulover, the site of present- time another bold protest held at Virginia Key Beach Park day Haulover Beach which, at the Crandon Park ended segregation at Looks Back, time was being planned for “White all Dade County public beaches. Only.” The new park was an instant With that, however, the physical de- And Ahead success, although only accessible by cline of Virginia Key Beach began, boat. It only became more popular as the Parks Department saw no fur- August 1, 2005, marked the 60th as such improvements and amenities ther need to maintain two parks atanniversary of the official opening of as cabanas, a bath house and conces- the same level, and concentrated onhistoric Virginia Key Beach Park. It sion stand, amusement rides and Crandon Park.was marked by a special, televised rental cottages were added. The Shortly after the transfer of theboard meeting of the Virginia Key completion of Rickenbacker Cause- park from County to City ownershipBeach Park Trust at Miami City Hall, way also gave the park auto access in 1982, the park was closed, and twowhere community residents were in- increasing its popularity. Despite its decades of “demolition by neglect”vited to share birthday cake, history restrictions, it was a “paradise,” a fa- began. In 1999 Dr. Gregory Bushand reminiscences of the Park’s early vorite as much for visiting celebrities and Nancy Lee brought to the atten-days, and visions for the future, with as for the local population itself. tion of the African American com-introductory presentations by the Yet, the history of the Park did not munity that plans were afoot to leasethree architectural firms which just begin there. The site had already out a section of the historic beach toemerged as finalists in the design been well established as an unofficial private developers for an exclusivecompetition for a new museum struc- African American recreational venue, Eco-resort. Led by community ma-ture to be built at the site. informally known as “Bears Cut,” as triarch Mrs. M. Athalie Range, resi- The Anniversary was honored by early as the 1930s. Indeed, dents with fond memories ofthe presentation of a proclamation by an intriguing survey map their once beloved “ColoredCity of Miami Mayor Manny A. of Virginia Key dated Beach” bonded with environ-Diaz, and the observance was also mental and public parks activ-marked by as special tribute to the ists and con-memory of the late Arthur E. Teele, vinced theJr., the former City Commissioner Miami Citywhose astute leadership was crucial Commissionto the establishment of the current to rethinkeffort to save and restore a the Park. that mis- By any measure, the story of this guided pro-sacred site, as it might justifiably be posal, and tocalled, is special and unique. restore and reopen the The opening of Virginia Key 1918 even shows a “Negro Dancing park instead as a national environ-Beach on August 1, 1945, as “a Dade Pavilion” in the very same location. mental and historical landmark.County Park for the exclusive use ofNegroes” was a highly significant, Even earlier maps show the original The Virginia Key Beach Park Trusthistory-making event, but was but a shape of the island (after a hurricane was established to manage the resto-small chapter of a much larger, more separated it from present-day Fisher ration process and the constructionencompassing story. This designation Island) and show some of the first in- of a unique museum/park whichof a bathing beach specifically for the dications of “Virgin Island.” The would commemorate the park’s his-“Colored” population, where no such earliest recorded history is of a skir- tory (and future) as “a place of free-facility existed anywhere in the mish with U.S. forces at the site in dom,” ultimately for all people.County before, was a major victory which three Seminoles were killed County Bond Programduring the segregation era, that came and their property confiscated. Launched At Historic Virginiain response to a bold and courageous By the early 1960s, Virginia Key Key Beach Parkprotest that had taken place in May Beach was also welcoming early Cu- On Tuesday, June 28, Virginia Key
hosted the official launch of the Mi-ami-Dade County Building Better The Urban Environment LeagueCommunities Bond Program, where Dine & Discuss DinnersMayor Alvarez and several County Are held at:Commissioners unveiled a new sign,informing motorists on Rickenbacker The Historic Miami River InnCauseway that the newly restored 118 SW South River Drivepark and a new museum on the site 6:00 PM – Wine Receptionare “Coming Soon.” 6:45 PM – Dinner Besides the Mayor, County Com- Followed by Programmissioners Bruno Barreiro, Barbara Limited Seating, RSVP a must:Carey-Shuler, Dennis Moss and KatySorenson were among those present Miami River Inn:for the occasion. 305-325-0045 The County officials chose the E-mail: Miamihotel@aol.comhistoric Beach Park as the venue forthe launch ceremony, which initiates Come and get to know UEL Members and make new friends in thethe spending of some $2.9 billion for Community. The meals are delicious and the wine reception is a greatmore than 300 County improvement networking opportunity. Dinners are held the third Tuesday of the month.projects over the next 15-20 years, as Oct. 18, 2005 - UEL, Dade Heritage Trust, Miami Neighbor-approved by the voters in Nov. 2004. hoods United Representatives to talk about issues of common One of the very first of these interest and how we can all work more effectively together.projects will be the funding of a newmuseum and cultural center, which Nov. 15, 2005 - Update On The County Bond Issuewill be the centerpiece of the restored December: No Dinner Meeting Because Of Holidayspark, and will house many of the Jan.. 17, 2006 - Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnickimportant but little-known stories ofMiami-Dade’s rich Black heritage, Feb. 21, 2006 - Professor Marvin Dunn and possibly our ownalong with Virginia Key’s natural his- board member Enid Pinkney on "Civil rights in public spaces."tory. The park will also preserve one Mar. 21, 2006 - Miami River - We are anticipating that this dis-of the most valuable open green cussion would involve the fact that the Miami River Greenwayspaces in south Florida as a public is a great new source of public recreation open space on bothrecreational location for future gen-erations. sides of the River and it is seriously being compromised by city zoning changes which are threatening the river to become a In its leading role, the park willreceive $15.5 million, all in the first condo canyon, as marine industrial zoned properties are beingfour years, which will make it easily gentrified off the river.the earliest and most visible proof of Apr. 18, 2006 - Topic open. Suggestions from the public?the voters’ wisdom in approving the May 16, 2006 - Topic open. Suggestions from the public?bond issue. Virginia Key was the idealvenue for this important ceremony. Admission $25 for UEL Members For further information about the $30 Non-MembersPark’s history and future plans, visit Seating is Limited: You must Reserve!their website at: www.virginiakeybeachpark.net Note: Tentative dinner schedule (At times, things come up and speakers that have confirmed cancel and at other times, the UEL itself is confronted with a Gene Tinne, Vice Chair more pressing issue and has to change things around). When you RSVP we can The Virginia Key Trust Park Trust confirm the speakers. We can try to accommodate limited dietary restrictions - ask us when you reserve.
County Commissioner Souto and airport runways. The new urbanism and smart on the American Dream: Dan McCrea Comments: growth movements have developed Miami-Dade County is getting According to current CIA fact intellectually reasonable approaches40,000 to 50,000 new residents every book figures, the UK has 7.8 times to new development and redevelop-year and many of them would like to the population density of the US. ment.be part of the “American Dream’’ to own We must emphasize the importance But a compelling vision of thetheir home. of multistory, mixed-use, New American Dream has yet to be There has to be a balance. This is brownfield development here. That adequately formulated — a visionthe big challenge. The county is very is how they do it in England. that motivates people, developerspopular around the nation and around There are centuries of growth and politicians to sensibly rebuildthe world. We cannot limit the size of capacity in South Florida, without our cities and foster economicallyour population. This is America. touching another greenfield, if we efficient new communities. You’re Posted on Thu, Jun. 30, 2005 will build modestly up. Good on the right track! COUNTY COMMISSION examples are cities like Paris and Dan McCrea: DISTRICT 10 Barcelona, where population Denis, one simple key to densities are great and average winning the hearts and minds for A UEL Discussion: On Souto’s building height is in the middle the current UDB round, and for American Dream, Affordable single digits. future rounds, is to lay out all the Housing and Density Note that the public is over- benefits of building up. A redefined Snippets from an article from whelmingly in favor of not touch- American Dream has stairs andEngland: The Tories are accusing ing open space for development. It party walls.Ministers of turning the green belt could be worth contacting the Many people have positiveinto an “elastic band” as a study Campaign to Protect Rural En- associations with denser urban lifesuggests 84% of people oppose gland (CPRE) to see what strategies on which to build. It’s too hot tobuilding on undeveloped land. have worked to inform the public. cut the bloody grass anyway. Mori interviewed 931 people in Denis Russ Responds: Take a map of South Florida andEngland between June 30th and Dan, I agree with your thoughts show the relatively thin bands ofJuly 4, 2005 for the Campaign to on the importance of these matters. coastal ridge on which we can live.Protect Rural England. Europe’s best cities - which we all There must be a discussion about The results are revealed on the love - use medium density, that you the continuing population growth -50th anniversary of the first advocate, for residential areas. And pouring people onto those thingovernment circular telling councils England, particularly, has had a bands. Sprawl becomes ludicrous toto look at designating areas of history of understanding and even a casual observer. Well-greenbelt land. protecting the green belt lands. designed density is a self-evident But ministers insist the greenbelt In contrast of course, our own necessity. And it comes with theis being “maintained and in- post WWII development has been promise of soccer fields!creased”. characterized by middle-class flight Albert HarumAlvarez: They say there are controls to from the City in pursuit of the I pulled out this single line fromstop inappropriate development in America dream - single-family, Dan’s email, because this is the onegreenbelt areas. home ownership in racially isolated issue that is missing from the Campaign to Protect Rural suburban developments. debate!England (CPRE) head of planning Prospects for progress are “Good examples are cities likeHenry Oliver said it was “under complicated by a variety of exasper- Paris and Barcelona, where popula-threat as never before”. ating current conditions, including: tion densities are great and average He blamed “government plans 1. Negative reactions to increased building height is in the middlefor massive housing growth” in density, 2. Housing affordability single digits.”southeast England, “speculators becoming a problem for more and There’s a big difference betweenselling plots to gullible investors for more income groups, 3. The seven stories and 15. What we’resilly prices way above agricultural political power of the suburban getting today is buildings that arevalue”, and proposed new roads developers. too tall, too big.
The pendulum has swung back, newspaper before dinner was served forces many urban home seekers totoo far. Many leaders now under- to him. That is the whole Ameri- move to the suburbs to pursue thestand that we can’t keep sprawling can Dream. It wasn’t just a house dream of homeownership.at the edge, that we need to build with a picket fence it was a lifestyle The result according to a recentmore densely. But the cheap and pushed after WWII. It’s purpose Harvard University study is thatgraceless towers that are going up was to get women to go back to inner-city residents of all incomeare too tall. being homemakers, to make room levels are less likely to own a home Some developers are now prone in the factories for men coming than suburban residents of similarto repeat that real cities need tall home from the war. incomes.towers, glossing over the fact that I say, let’s move forward to the This is not only unfair to thosethe average building height in New American Dream of a new century families denied the opportunity toYork City is four stories. not stagnate in the 1950’s! live in the home of their choice, it Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk once Greg Bush mentioned to me that also unfairly limits the ability oftold me that Miami has lost the I should pay close attention to red- cities to maintain the homeownerhabit of building mid-sized lining in the 30’s. He said that the base that is so vital to the economicapartment buildings. This is a skill Government actually helped and social stability of urbanthat we need to resurrect, soon. promote sprawl in subsidizing the neighborhoods. The most liveable and workable single family home. Interesting. Discriminatory practices, ofcities have buildings that are 3 to 7 I looked on line and was course, are particularly problematicstories, framing walkable streets surprised to find the term used in for minority families. Urbanthat are places people love. Our the 90’s. I found this article from a redlining has ruined and continuesnew crop of high-rise are ugly at 1996 Conference of Mayors about to ruin thousands of minoritythe bottom, where the sidewalk is red-lining: communities.dwarfed by the looming shadow of How Urban Redlining and The Federal Reserve Board hasthe tower and the gates to the Mortgage Discrimination Penalize shown that African Americans andparking garage. City Residents Hispanics - even those making Nancy Lee: This Harvard University study greater than 120 percent of the Albert, I totally agree with this suggest that inner-city residents of all median income -- are much morelast paragraph. If people were not income levels are less likely to own a likely to be denied credit thanso afraid of density we would have home than suburban residents of whites.a 21st Century “American Dream.” similar incomes. Once again, the pattern has a The 1950’s version of the Despite a dramatic surge in the spatial dimension. As is the case“American Dream” Miami sprawl nations homeownership rates, with white families, the denial ratedevelopers are presenting us with is academics and housing experts for minorities seeking to purchasea single family house. continue to document discrimina- homes in inner-city neighborhoods Their American Dream is the tory lending practices in inner cities is particularly high, and manyone I was fed in the 50’s. However, today. minority households must movethe whole story was of a wife The long and infamous history away from the city to secure thewearing an apron, staying home of housing and lending discrimina- mortgage credit needed to purchasecooking and caring for the 3 tion in this country scarred the lives a home of their own.children. Our American Dream of millions of families seeking to This report looks at the evidencehousewife didn’t need to work to realize the dreams and aspirations compiled by the Federal Reserveafford the single family house with of all Americans - to own a home. Board and Harvard Universitysthe picket fence they lived in. Dad Unfortunately, such practices Joint Center for Housing Studies inmade enough. remain with us, in the form of order to argue for a renewed The American Dream family urban redlining, mortgage steering, commitment to eliminate discrimi-owned only one car and the and other discriminatory actions. natory lending practices andAmerican Dream Dad returned Not all families would choose to expand homeownership opportuni-home from work with that one car, purchase a home in the city, but ties in urban America.and had plenty of time to read the mortgage lending discrimination “snip”
Ahwahnee Principles: Authors: Peter Calthorpe, Michael Corbett, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Moule, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Stefanos Polyzoides - Editor: Peter Katz, Judy Corbett, and Steve Weissman In 1991, the Local Government Commission brought together a group of lead- 13. The community design shoulding architects to synthesize new ideas and trends in community land use planning. help conserve resources and minimizeThe ideas were drafted into a vision document for local elected officials as an waste.alternative to urban sprawl. The document was presented to 100 local elected 14. Communities should provide forofficials in the Fall of 1991 at a conference at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite the efficient use of water through thewhere it received great acclaim. use of natural drainage, drought tol- Ahwahnee Principles for Resource-Efficient Communities erant landscaping and recycling. Preamble: Existing patterns of urban and suburban development seriously 15. The street orientation, the place-impair our quality of life. The symptoms are: more congestion and air pollu- ment of buildings and the use of shad-tion resulting from our increased dependence on automobiles, the loss of ing should contribute to the energyprecious open space, the need for costly improvements to roads and public efficiency of the community.services, the inequitable distribution of economic resources, and the loss of a Regional Principlessense of community. By drawing upon the best from the past and the present, 1. The regional land-use planningwe can plan communities that will more successfully serve the needs of those structure should be integrated withinwho live and work within them. Such planning should adhere to certain a larger transportation network builtfundamental principles. around transit rather than freeways. Community Principles 2. Regions should be bounded by and1. All planning should be in the form of complete and integrated communi- provide a continuous system ofties containing housing, shops, work places, schools, parks and civic facilities greenbelt/wildlife corridors to be de-essential to the daily life of the residents. termined by natural conditions.2. Community size should be designed so that housing, jobs, daily needs and 3. Regional institutions and servicesother activities are within easy walking distance of each other. (government, stadiums, museums,3. As many activities as possible should be located within easy walking dis- etc.) should be located in the urbantance of transit stops. core.4. A community should contain a diversity of housing types to enable citi- 4. Materials and methods of construc-zens from a wide range of economic levels and age groups to live within its tion should be specific to the region,boundaries. exhibiting a continuity of history and5. Businesses within the community should provide a range of job types for culture and compatibility with thethe communitys residents. climate to encourage the development6. The location and character of the community should be consistent with a of local character and communitylarger transit network. identity.7 The community should have a center focus that combines commercial, Implementation Principlescivic, cultural and recreational uses. 1. The general plan should be updated8. The community should contain an ample supply of specialized open space to incorporate the above principles.in the form of squares, greens and parks whose frequent use is encouraged 2. Rather than allowing developer-through placement and design. initiated, piecemeal development, lo-9. Public spaces should be designed to encourage the attention and presence cal governments should take chargeof people at all hours of the day and night. of the planning process. General plans10. Each community or cluster of communities should have a well-defined should designate where new growth,edge, such as agricultural greenbelts or wildlife corridors, permanently pro- infill or redevelopment will be al-tected from development. lowed to occur.11. Streets, pedestrian paths and bike paths should contribute to a system of 3. Prior to any development, a spe-fully-connected and interesting routes to all destinations. Their design should cific plan should be prepared basedencourage pedestrian and bicycle use by being small and spatially defined by on these planning principles.buildings, trees and lighting; and by discouraging high speed traffic. 4. Plans should be developed through12. Wherever possible, the natural terrain, drainage and vegetation of the an open process and participants incommunity should be preserved with superior examples contained within the process should be provided visualparks or greenbelts. models of all planning proposals.
UEL Members/Supporters Sound Off... On Hurricanes, Holding the Line, Jim DeFede and Other Issues: Its been widely reported lately will drain South Floridas most Amory Lovins. He said the bookthat there are frightening similari- valuable resource, its water supply. articulates the shift to an economyties between the Gulf Coast areas It also will continue to drain the based on accurate valuation ofthat were so heavily impacted by countys financial resources to build natural resources as part of func-Hurricane Katrina and the South roadways, sewer and water lines, tioning ecosystems.) - ThornAtlantic Coast of Florida. Both schools and amenities, keeping all Grafton, UEL Memberregions have been drastically altered of us in a constant state of gridlock Skyrocketing property taxes areby manmade water management and leaving older neighborhoods in forcing more and more rentalsystems, levees and canals, that decay. - Nancy Liebman property owners to sell or convertreduce the capacity to react and Lets talk about reality. All the their properties. Soon we will see arecover from major storm systems. big developers care about is making critical shortage of affordableA return to more natural water money. Thats why they want the (workforce) housing. Instead offlows through environmental line moved. If we end up moving implementing more repressiverestoration and preservation will the line, the county is going to zoning restrictions, citizensimprove our ability to mitigate eventually have to spend should object to burden-damaging flood waters and storm money on providing some regulations andsurge, and of course, we must be infrastructure to excessive, inequi-more thoughtful about where to those areas and table taxation andallow urban and suburban develop- that is going to lobby for rentalment. -Cynthia Guerra, Executive take money away assistance fundsDirector Tropical Audubon Society from areas that for the working The entire community pays for need it. - Hattie poor before it isgrowth by subsidizing new roads, Willis, President of too late. -Stevensewer systems, schools and other Communities Z. Levinson, UELfacilities. The question yet to be United Memberanswered by Miami Dade County: I think the Wherever one standsHow can we accommodate this Miami Herald lost a on the political spec-growth without further harming tremendous voice Photo Illustration of trum, no one can argueour environment, reducing our when they decided to The Herald’s Jim DeFede that Jim DeFede wasquality of life, losing the very terminate Jim DeFede. Jim has not the fearless and unabashed con-character of South Florida and been afraid to challenge the status science of this community.taxing ourselves beyond our means? quo which is something very few During his tenure at the Herald- Charles Pattison, 1000 Friends of people are prepared to do in this he covered stories that would haveFlorida community. Now more than ever, otherwise gone unreported. From Gov. Jeb Bush has questioned DeFede’s perspective is needed in the senseless beating of a teenagethe wisdom of moving the line, understanding what is going on in boy by Sweetwater policemen, tociting "grave concerns." If he has Miami. - John DeLeon, UEL Board the shameful intervention ofgrave concerns, it leaves me scared Member Governor Bush in the Terri Schiavoto death! Learning from Hurricane Moving the line to get affordable case, to the dangers of politicalKatrina, it is important to note that housing? That would be the most influence on the part of specialopen space and wetlands protect expensive "affordable" housing we, interest groups in county and citydeveloped areas from flooding as a community, would have to pay governments, and everything in-during catastrophic hurricanes and for when you factor in long-term between, Jim’s integrity and pursuitextreme rain events. - Nancy Lee, costs. Communities all around the U.S. have realized that cheap land of truth made one simultaneouslyUEL Member mad and glad. Mad about people only means the initial cost may be The consequences of moving the less, nothing else. (Thorn suggests a and circumstances that permittedUrban Development Boundary line read of Natural Capitalism by such horrible things to happen, and
glad that someone like Jim had thebackbone to write about it. -Maria-Ines Castro, UEL Board Member A Conversation I lived in Galveston as a boy – a withpreacher’s kid. My father’s church,The First Presbyterian, had been amorgue during the 1900 storm, Mayorwhich I thought was pretty cool. As Carlosa young teenager, my first job wasworking on Galveston beach, which Alvarezsits 17 feet below the seawallGalveston built after the 1900 Thursday, October 20, 2005storm nearly swept it away. Later, I thought, In a world of Trinity Episcopal Cathedraldumb things, the dumbest thing 464 NE 16th Street & North Bayshore DriveI’ve seen is development BELOWthe Galveston seawall – on the 5:30 - 7:30beach.” Then I heard New Orleans The Mayor will speak about:was allowing re-habitation of theirbarely dry toxic wasteland and we The State of the County andhad a new winner! environmental initiatives, land use issues and South Florida is definitely in thegame. Ours is a story of boom/bust priorities of his administration.bad development from sea to Questions if time permits. Free parking.swamp, enriching cycle after cycleof self-serving wise guys - the same could have stopped the madness in One of the more glaring ex-wise guys who develop below New Orleans, and they could stop amples of a bad idea was theGalveston’s seawall and play sand it in Miami-Dade. Whether they decision to allow floating casinoscastle nonsense with southeast will, remains to be seen. - Alan along the Gulf Coast. Once theLouisiana. Who will win The Farago, UEL Member storm surge picked up these mega-Silliest Bugger of All award? With If our leaders would come down barges, the casinos themselvescompetition fierce, we wait, we to earth, we might have avoided the became unimaginable forces ofwatch, and we know we’re in with a disorganized post-hurricane rescue destruction. Miami has a similarreal chance! Our star players – efforts that resulted in such chaos concern (although unrelated to thegreenfield development beyond the in New Orleans. The benefit to gambling industry). One can onlyUDB and high-rise hulks clamor- society of spending billions on the imagine how Miamis downtowning for water views – support a space program (or in Iraq) is yet to core will handle the onslaught ofteam of solid contenders. Go wise be proven while we have such hundreds, if not thousands, ofguys – we’re pullin’ for you! -Dan serious issues with our Nation’s cargo containers from the Port ofMcCrea, UEL Board Member infrastructure. In the past 40 years Miami. A Katrina-esque storm Developers promoted growth in no high bridges, tunnels, major surge has the potential to turn theselow lying areas of New Orleans, highways, refineries or alternative containers into battering ramsand local officials permitted it. The energy sources have been built or against our beautiful new skyline...same has happened in Miami- developed. The only saving grace is causing unthinkable damage. I canDade--especially South Dade--and that Katrina may be a wake-up call think of no reasonable solution tono one should be surprised at the that will ultimately save them, us, this problem other than prayers,costs when extreme weather events and other coastal communities luck and considerable insuranceput human life and property at from a repeat performance. - Steven coverage! - Max Strang, UEL Boardjeopardy. Local elected officials Z. Levinson, UEL Member Member
Mayor Alvarez’ Statement on the Environment The expansion of our communitymust be managed carefully and op- www.udbline.comtions maximized to increase develop- The UEL is one of the lead groups and a founding mem-ment within the Urban DevelopmentBoundary (UDB). Moving the UDB ber of Hold the Line campaign -- Now composed of moreand expanding development is the than 50 groups.not the answer to our populationgrowth because it could impact our News on the UDB Line:water supply, rural areas, agricultural There are nine applications seeking to move the UDB Lineindustry, wildlife and even oureconomy. closer to environmentally sensitive lands. The UDB line must be held where There is also an additional application, asked for byit is today to ensure our future gen- builders and developers, that proposes a language changeerations will have sufficient clean on how the county inventories residential and commercialwater, a healthy economy and socialwell-being. It places the growth and land. If passed it would force the county to move the linepopulation within a region where ser- more frequently.vices and infrastructure exist, and can There are two upcoming meetings which we hope yoube improved. It also provides a buffer will attend to have your voice heard:to protect our natural resources suchas the National Parks, while allow- October 17th - Planning Advisory Boarding for the growth and redefining ofan agricultural industry which brings November 21st - County Commissionjobs and over a billion dollars a year For up-to-date information, check out our website:to our county. Once the South Miami-Dade www.udbline.comWatershed Study is completed later or call 305 532-7227 and leave a message for Nancy Leethis year, we will have final recom-mendations outlining the best way tobalance growth with environmental County Mayor Alvarez (with Commissioner Katy Soresnson in the rear).concerns. UEL Members Jim Jude, Greg Bush, Nancy Liebman (back), with Cynthia Guerra, April Gromnicki, Mike Hatcher and Shannon Mayorga (front).
We are happy to announce that we have moved our UEL office to a historic building in Miami Beach. Please make note of the UrbanEnvironment League new contact information: 945 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 100 Miami Beach, FL 33139 Phone: 305 532-7227 Fax: 305 532-8727 Activities at the Hold the Line Picnic Urban Environment League 2005 Officers, Board Members, and Advisors Officers: President Nancy Liebman Vice-President Ernie Martin Treasurer Kay Hancock Apfel Secretary Richard Korman Past President Gregory Bush Board of Directors: Board of Advisors: Kay Hancock-Apfel Gregory Bush, Chair Alan Bisno Ernest Martin Amy Paige Condon Gregory Bush Robert McCabe Sallye Jude Michael Cox Dan McCrea Dorothy Jenkins-Fields John DeLeon Arsenio Milian Dr. Paul George Richard Donovan Jimmy Morales Joe Kohl Robert Flanders Enid Pinkney Dan Paul Albert Harum-Alvarez Alberto Ruder Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk Sage Hoffman Denis Russ Brenda McClymonds Maria Ines Castro Paul Schwiep Arva Moore Parks McCabe Ruth Jacobs Howard Slotnick Gene Tinnie James Jude Fortuna Smukler M. Athalie Range Richard Korman Max Strang Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Judith Berson-Levinson David Turner George Knox Nancy Liebman Jason Uyeda Susan Luck John Van Leer
Future Fiesta: Supporters of Hold the Line held a beach barbecue inAugust where their families got together for some R&R atCrandon Park. There was much talk about how our communitiesshould grow in the future. People attending agreed thatthey wanted to have both vibrant neighborhoods and ahealthy environment. There was great live music thanksto Grant Livingston and Val Wisecracker. And, the hun-dred plus attendees were treated to home-made cookiesand brownies thanks to Tricia Auffhammer. County Commissioner Katy Sorenson
Move the Urban Development Boundary to Solve Affordable Housing? Not in My Book! Gus Gil from The Latin Builders the council.” In fact, builders lured many buy-Association said, we should open the Experts in Miami-Dade County ers to affordable houses a few yearsUrban Development Boundary so he should be working on solving this ago in the building boom on floodand other builders can create more crisis, not developers. prone land around Homestead. Nowaffordable housing. This just isn’t Experts on affordable housing say the buyers there, although they cantrue. the developers who want to build afford the mortgage, can’t afford the In fact at a recent meeting for a outside the line have the wrong high taxes and the cost for infrastruc-development called “Florida City answers.They just want their land to ture that was tacked onto to the pur-Commons”, a Lennar representative become more valuable. There are hun chase price as a 30 year loan (bondsaid single family homes on the other dreds of developers waiting for the payoff for infrastructure). These buy-side of the UDB in the Lennar De- county to move the UDB line. It will ers are suing the developer.velopment would cost as much as be like a floodgate. Each developer Who are the people misleading the$325,000. Hardly affordable. will say: “Well, you moved it for public? Let’s look at Mr. Gil’s argument them, why not us?” And, to make it worse, these samemore closely. Imagine that you and In fact, speculating developers are new homeowners are paying $300 toyour husband are gaining weight. right now taking chances and buy- $400 for gasoline, and maintaing twoYour clothes are getting too tight. ing land (and wetlands) at bargain cars to get to their jobs. Affordable?You buy a larger sized dress and your prices because it is on the wrong side This affordable housing poses ahusband buys a bigger belt. It didn’t of the Urban Development Bound- burden on those firemen and teach-solve your weight problem and in fact ary. If the Boundary is moved as they ers the Latin Builders Associationnow you are creating new problems want, their land will be worth much, claim they want to help.such as the threat of developing dia- much more. So even though it was Addressing the Everglades; pan-betes and heart disease. Getting affordable land at one time, if the thers, alligators and fires and floodsmore space in your clothes just puts Boundary is moved it will be just as don’t know where the park bound-things off and can cause an entirely expensive as land inside the bound- aries end. Having some open farm-new crisis. And, in the meantime, ary. ing buffer land as a transition fromthe belt and dress company got Supporters of Hold the Line are the actual property line of the park isricher! asking that experts work on the af- just plain smart. Putting up densely Broward has “bought the bigger fordable housing crisis and find a so- populated development with thou-dress and the bigger belt” for a long lution that works for everyone. We sands of people on the edge of thetime. They have little land left that don’t want our roads clogged with Everglades is not.is not developed and yet the afford- mind-numbing traffic and our Every time there is a fire sparkedable housing/workforce housing schools over-crowded. Developers by lightening in the Everglades, ev-problem still exists there. Attorney pay lip service to school construction eryone living out west in the countyScott Brook, a Coral Springs City and are mute on traffic increases. We is choked with smoke and endan-Commissioner has spent more than are telling the truth about the results gered by fire. And, in the past hurri-three years as chairman of the of moving the line. canes flooded farms. What if thoseBroward County Planning Council. You don’t solve the overweight cri- same farms are now housing devel- He said “My sense is that there is sis by buying a bigger belt. You solve opments?a crisis. Had we begun working on it by taking positive actions such as Farmland is good as a place wherethis a couple of years ago, we’d have eating better and getting more exer- water can sink into the ground. Thata better grip on the situation and cise. That helps the crisis, not the helps prevent flooding. Additionally,specific solutions,” concluding that, person selling you new belts. water can get down to the aquifer to“There’s really no one-hat-fits-all for We need strategies that will work. replenish our water supply if there isaffordable housing, and what it’ll cost We have seen that the Latin Builder’s no cement or blacktop on top of theand how to accomplish it, and that’s solution does not work. We can look land. We need rain water to keep re-one of the problems we’re having at to Broward to see that. filling our aquifer. We are pumping
from it at breakneck speed and it is fice in the Grove for about ten years. ways). Every car approaching a bikeexpected to be depleted within the It’s an 18 mile round trip. I shower lane from every cross street and drivenext 20 years. Isn’t it smart to allow at the office. I’ve had a few run ins; way rolls through on their way to thewater to sink into the ground? I’ve made some dis- street. They are not ex- The Miami-Dade Department of coveries. They in- pecting a biker travelingResource Management has said that clude the following: on the walkway at aboutdrinking water could be put at risk 1. Drivers who 20 mph to meet them (aswith salt water and pollutants if we honk at bikers, un- I have on four separatepersist with encroaching of sensitive knowingly startle occasions) while they rolllands and our wellfields. bikers, causing a through. For that reason, Experts agree, meeting our hous- hazard. It never smart riders are on theing needs is not going to be done by ceases to amaze me street. Bikers are statisti-moving the urban development that drivers who can cally much less likely toboundary. I agree that moving the be so menacing be hit from behind on theUDB line will only make developers while moving, won’t street than they are to bericher. Take for example, Stuart even look at me if I “t-boned” at an intersec-Miller, president and CEO of Lennar catch up. I glare at tion. That’s why we rideCorp., who earned $16.19 million them from under on the street. Movein 2004, including a bonus of $15.19 my helmet. Why? Because there’s over. And don’t honk.million according to news reports and nothing like the sound of a car horn 5. A biker’s best horn is the hu-he lives in a home in Miami valued three feet from your rear end to scare man voice. I yell at cars, sometimesat over $7,000,000. you senseless. Anger is a pro- alternating the pitch. I find that bik- grammed response to fear. ers who yell at a cars, flails their arms, What do these builders and devel- 2. A driver’s rudeness is in direct and make direct and prolonged eyeopers know about affordable? I want proportion to the size of their vehicle contact are likely to be avoided.to hear from the experts. - Nancy Lee (a principle that likely has phallic 6. I’ve concluded riding aggressive implications also). Mini and Miati equals riding safe. This may be a Driver and Bike drivers (I own the latter) are the mistake. But if I’m going to get hurt, Etiquette model of friendly drivers. They are I’d rather not add timidity to injury. charitable with road space, not that Let me be the protagonist in any col- In this time of rising gas prices they need to be since their vehicles lision. it is smart to seek alternative take up only about half of a standard 7. Riding gets me to work quicker, transportation, here are some tips on 10’ lane. Hummer drivers are in better shape and happier than driv- accommodating Bicyclists by our grouchy, aggressive, and pissed at the ing ever could. And it costs less. I Board Member, Paul Schwiep: world in general, and the biker in breeze through school zones, traffic I consider it my personal mission front of them in particular. The accidents and general gridlock.to teach drivers how to accommodate Hummer greedily hogs the lane. Travel time is reduced. Listening tobike commuters. 3. Hummer drivers are most likely an iPod is not safe on a bike. I sing. Twice a day from Palmetto Bay to to honk at a bicyclist. (For a thor- Out loud. I’m outside and fit.the Grove, I put on a clinic on driver ough discussion of the Hummer’s 8. Most importantly, riding a welletiquette towards bikers. Drivers general faults visit www.fuh2.com. fitted bike will not adversely effectlearn that they need to move over Stop. Reread the web address.) your sex life.only 18 inches which in the long run Why someone driving an 6,500 One last thought: Driving a carbenefits traffic congestion, reduces pound vehicle with a 6 liter, 315 will leave you less fit and the gas youUS dependence on foreign oil, and, horsepower V-8 engine honks at use depletes the planet’s supply.helps prevent global warming. Bik- someone on a bicycle is a mystery. - Paul Schwiepers need 18” of lane. It’s not a lot to Are bikers a threat? (Paul, I always honked to warn ofask. 4. No one stops before crossing the my approach, didn’t think about the I’ve been riding into my law of- bike lanes (really pedestrian walk- startling factor. Thanks for the tip, ed.)
NOTICE: The UEL accepts articles/letters from its members and members of the public. These articles/letters do not always reflect the views of the Members of the UEL, or its Board, or the views UEL Advisors. To submit articles/letters, contact: nancy88@ bellsouth.net The editor takes full responsibility for botching articles during cuts. URBAN ENVIRONMENT LEAGUE OF GREATER MIAMI MEMBERSHIP & RENEWAL APPLICATIONNAME________________________________________________________________________________________________ADDRESS____________________________________CITY___________________ST.______ZIP______________________DAY PHONE____________________EVE. PHONE__________________________FAX_____________________________E-MAIL___________________________ OCCUP._________________INTEREST__________________________________ Signature__________________________________Date______________ (All fees are tax deductible.) Membership $35 Preferred Mem. $50 Board Members and Sponsors of UEL $100 Donations: Students: $15 Urban Environment League of Greater Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez: Oct. 20th, Trinity Church 945 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 100 UEL Dinner: Oct. 18th Miami Beach, FL 33139 UEL, Dade Heritage Trust and Miami Neighborhoods United Representatives Phone: 305 532-7227 Will talk about issues of common interest and Fax: 305 532-8727 how we can all work more effectively together. email@example.com (see inside) Website: www.uel.org To receive information on upcoming UEL events such as dinners, forums and conferences send you email address to: UELmiami@bellsouth.net