Miami-Dade County commissioners on Wednesday opened the door to more warehouses and offices west of Doral, agreeing to expand the Urban Development Boundary to include a 521 acre-chunk already surrounding by buildings.
They also largely rejected staff recommendations that would have protected more than 3,600 additional acres previously marked for future expansion. County planners, echoed by environmentalists, had argued that much of the land is environmentally sensitive or important to protecting the drinking-water supply — and not needed anytime soon because the county’s population growth has slowed.
Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa defended her vote to move the UDB, which was designed to limit suburban sprawl and protect the county’s agricultural lands and natural areas, calling the parcel in question “one of those extreme cases.”
“I am always against moving the UDB line” when buildable land remains inside the boundary, Sosa said.
It was the first time the commission moved the UDB since 2011, when they redrew the line to include 120 acres for business and office space by the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The buildable land inside the boundary should last the county until 2020, up from the previous estimate of 2015, according to Miami-Dade’s latest comprehensive development master plan.