© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

Eco-Village Looks To Expand Miami-Dade Development Boundary

Green City
Green City's 'Vision Plan'

A new development project, Green City, just released its plans to build a 860 acre eco-friendly village in west Miami-Dade County.

The ambitious project is slated to be built over the next two decades and calls for the inclusion of, among other things, 1.36 million square feet of retail, 11,401 new homes (a portion of which will be set aside for affordable housing), a sports village, and a hydroponics facility.

The idea behind this development is to create "a self-sufficient and self-sustainable urban development center in West Kendall,” says Mario Garcia-Serra, the representative for the property owners. It’s hoped that having an urban hub in the western part of the county will relieve highway congestion from daily commutes east for jobs or retail needs.

The catch is that the project’s developers are requesting to move the county’s urban development boundary (UDB) one mile to the west, crossing into currently protected Everglades territory. For this to happen, county commissioners must approve the request with a supermajority vote.

The first step in the approval process will be a consideration of the developer’s application and a subsequent recommendation by the County Planning Division to the Board of County Commissioners to aid them in their decision.

“Ultimately this department will prepare an initial recommendation on whether or not the Board of County Commissioners should approve it, approve it with changes, or deny the application,” says Mark Woerner, chief of the County Planning Division. “We will prepare and post that report by August 25.”

Once the recommendation is made, the commissioners are set to discuss the development at a hearing on November 18.

Garcia-Serra admits that the project is ambitious, but he also believes that it’s necessary. The county’s population is quickly growing, and this project is a creative, pre-emptive solution to address a future problem. “We definitely have to be looking at what the need will be twenty years down the road.”

According to Woerner, it’s still too early to predict what will happen with this proposal, but he admits that the last time the commission approved moving the UDB for a residential-type development like this one was over 20 years ago.