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
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."