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U.S. Green Building Council
April 12, 2005

Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County
Stephen P. Clark Government Center
111 NW 1st Street
Miami, Florida

Dear Board of County Commissioners:

The U.S. Green Building Council advocates the wise use of natural resources, including land. In light of this, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council South Florida Chapter urges you to evaluate changes to the Urban Development Boundary based on a full understanding of the value of the land supply in the county following completion of the South Dade Watershed Study and the Agriculture and Rural Area Study.

Land value has become such a hot topic in the county because it is our most limited natural resource. But the value of land is not measurable only in real estate profits and the land outside the Urban Development Boundary is not merely “undeveloped” – it is a distinct district with a whole range of valuable natural functions. This area has the capacity to supply water, food, a diversified agricultural economy, wildlife habitat and room to grow one hundred years from now.

While it is indeed cheap and profitable to develop a “sprawlburbia” to supply current demand for more affordable housing, this is not the kind of built environment that we should be leaving future generations to cope with. We have scarcely begun to refine the urban form of our metropolis so that it is the kind of compact, urbane living environment that will be sustainable in our limited land area. There are multiple creative solutions to providing affordable housing in the urban core. It would be short-sighted to nibble away at a land supply that may well be needed by future generations before all other options have been duly explored. The most appropriate areas for future development to occur have not been identified based on a balanced evaluation of the current and future value of our very limited land supply.

Land is an asset that needs to be managed with long-term returns in mind. To do this effectively, it is essential that on-going studies related to our future water supply and productive agricultural land be completed and the findings weighed in the decision about how to accommodate the need for workforce housing in the county. Build Green. Everyone profits.

Sincerely, Board of Directors, U.S. Green Building Council South Florida Chapter

Carolyn Mitchell, Chair
German Brun, Vice-Chair
Cynthia Stehman, Vice-Chair
David Vernon, Treasurer
Sebastian Eilert, Secretary
Aida Bao-Garciga
Jon Paul Bacariza
Robert Fornataro