Vote for Barns

A plan to acquire public rural land gets plowed

Voters approved Miami-Dade's largest bond referendum ever ($2.9 billion) in November 2004. Intended to improve major public works, it included $30 million for a program paying owners of agricultural land for their right to rezone, meaning the land will stay rural in perpetuity. The program's purpose is to keep the county's shrinking agricultural community — based mainly in South Miami-Dade — intact. The following represents the evolution of that program's budget.

Planning firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company submits its Agriculture and Rural Area Study to the county commission. The study includes a recommendation that the county begin a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, and a suggestion that such a program would need at least a $125 million budget to be effective. During public meetings about the upcoming bond referendum, activists, having adjusted the amount to account for increased land values, ask the commission to include a $150 million PDR program.

The Miami-Dade County Commission approves the general obligation bond proposal, which includes a PDR program with a budget of $30 million.

The PDR program has been allocated an initial budget of $1 million. Roger Hernstadt, the county's capital improvements director, sums up the progress thus far: "We've penciled them in for a million dollars out of the first bond sale, but if they come up with a great deal, we could probably find them some more money. But as I sit here a year and a half later, I still haven't seen anything on paper yet explaining how this program could work in a fair and equitable way."

 
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