By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
The county's planning department takes issue with the proposed Redland boundaries, arguing that the new city should end at SW 288th Street, which would shave off 7700 acres, some of which is coveted by Florida City. The county's rationale: Extending the city limits to SW 360th Street would create an awkward pocket of unincorporated land that would complicate the delivery of county services. Incorporation activists note that the proposed city has agreed to continue to use the same county police, solid waste, and fire rescue services that the enclaves do. Supporters also say they need a large land base to create a sustainable agricultural community; losing 7700 acres could undermine that effort.
Emotions have been running high between those who support incorporation and those who oppose it. Many involved have battled one another over zoning issues for more than twenty years. In particular members of an advisory committee spearheading incorporation have been feuding publicly and contentiously with Bill Losner, a Homestead banker and CARI consultant. Losner once sat on the committee but resigned after constant battles with his fellow members.
At a planning advisory board meeting in late July, one Redland resident summed up the strongly held beliefs of those who support incorporation. "We have an opportunity to preserve the only tropical agricultural area commercially farmed in the United States," said David Goldman. "In order to do that, you will have to rise to the challenge of not accepting proposals from interests who do not wish to see that preservation. That will be difficult."
He then went on to detail the forces working in opposition, including the county planning department and leaders from Goulds and other surrounding areas. "With many people you will not be popular," Goldman told advisory board members. "But you will have done something both historic and very difficult -- to put the preservation of agricultural land in the hands of the people who live within that area."