Friday, March 23, 2018

Protecting native pine rocklands - our duty to preserve our Palmetto Bay community - this property is still at risk - there is more work to be done to ensure preservation.

I was invited to speak before the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition on Thursday, March 22, 2018. I was pleased to present our continual efforts to protect what little native rock pineland remains in Miami-Dade County.  I posted information on how those interested in protecting our Pine lands can get involved: Presentation by the Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition - -- Who they are. How you can join, Dec. 14, 2015.
I discussed our progress to date in preserving these Pinelands.
"The struggle is real": We almost lost the 22 acres of imperiled Pine Rocklands to development of 41 homes and a fire station back in 2014 - See: Palmetto Bay council defers old Burger King property zoning; approves Palmer Trinity’s site-plan changes, by Lola Duffort, July 22, 2014.This effort was sponsored by then Mayor Stanczyk (as reflected in official agenda and public documents)

See: Palmetto Bay developer’s rezoning request up for vote, Environmentalists worried about proposed project on 22 acres of forest land, July 21, 2014.

This was also covered in the Miami Herald at length, Palmetto Bay approves Palmer Trinity expansion, By Lola Duffort, September 26, 2014, reporting that:

The council was also initially scheduled to hear a rezoning package on 22 acres of mostly forested land to allow for single-family homes and fire station at the Palmetto Bay Village Center, the 80-acre bayfront office park that once housed Burger King’s world headquarters in the village’s southeastern quadrant.

The item was first deferred from July, when criticism from environmentalists about developing forestland peppered with Pine Rockland – an imperiled habitat unique to South Florida and the Bahamas – led council members to direct staff and the property owner to gather more information about the forest’s environmentally sensitive properties.

Last week Stanczyk, the item’s sponsor, withdrew it from consideration after staff told her that the appropriate information had not yet been gathered.

“Mr. [Scott] Silver [a partner in the office park] has contacted some of the [environmental] groups, he has done some things but I don’t have any thing in writing at this point that is available to me to show that those environmental concerns have been addressed,” she said on the Thursday before the hearing.

Environmentalists who spoke out against the measure in July, including Tropical Audubon Society Executive Director Laura Reynolds, have said they wouldn’t have a problem with the village rezoning just the 1.5 acres necessary to site a fire station on the northern tip of the parcel.

But Silver said on Tuesday that the company has no intention of splitting up the rezoning package to allow the village to make a decision on the fire station separately from the housing development.

Is it important to save Pine Rockland?
Florida’s pine rocklands are some of the most imperiled lands in the world. They are characterized by limestone rock outcroppings with a low understory of tropical and temperate shrubs, palms, vines, grasses and herbaceous wildflowers — as well as a single species of overstory tree, the slash pine. With very little soil substrate and a dependence on fire, these ecosystems are among the world’s rarest forests, occurring only in South Florida and the Bahamas. They once spanned 185,000 acres of Miami-Dade County, but now — thanks to rampant development — just 2 percent of those lands remain outside Everglades National Park. Florida’s pine rocklands are now regarded as critically imperiled globally, and the plants and animals that rely on them are extremely rare.
See: Save The Pine Rocklands, Biological -

I chose to save the 22 acres. These 22 acres do have significant development rights (discussed in many other blog posts). 

I ask that our residents who care for our community continue to join the fight to preserve these lands.

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