Thank you to everyone who wrote letters or attended the January 11th EQCB meeting protesting the filling of coastal wetlands in our community. Protecting our environment and controlling development within out communities is crucial to our quality of life. Preserving our wetlands from senseless destruction is not just a local matter but one of national interest. The October 2006 National Geographic highlighted Cutler Cay as evidence of the negative impact development is having on Biscayne National Park. With your continued help we can keep this from happening again.
Your participation has made a difference.
• You have shown the county that the community believes that the preservation of our coastal wetlands is essential
• You have demonstrated to county agencies that meetings should be held in the communities that are affected.
• You have shown the developers who wish to work within our communities, that we expect them to respect our environment and work with us to preserve our quality of life.
We have completed just the first step in a very long process. The owner still has applications in with the Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District. This process may take months or years and the developers are counting on the public losing interest. We are dedicated to taking action on this property and three additional properties located on Cutler Bay coastal wetlands.
We ask you to continue the fight with us and hope that we can rely on you to take action when needed.
HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
Please take the time to write a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). In the past we created form letters and asked you to simply copy and paste them onto an email to the recipient. Unfortunately the ACE will not seriously consider form letters. Original letters are preferred in this situation. However, to make this as easy on you as possible we have come up with some points loosely grouped by subject. Please look at the list, pick one or two that you feel is most relevant and either rephrase it in your own words or copy and paste it into your email.
Letters can be addressed and headed as below:
ATTN: Leah.A.Oberlin@sajo2.usace.army.mil, Regulatory Project Manager USACE
c.c. firstname.lastname@example.org, Representative District 117, Florida House of Representatives
In reference to Permit Application No. SAJ-2005-4653 Cutler Properties LC:
Cutler Properties LC is proposing a high density multistory development at this location and plans to unnecessarily fill 33 acres of coastal wetlands that will certainly have negative impacts to both the adjacent 90 acres of wetlands and Biscayne National Park. The proposed development is not water dependant and under Section 33 part 320 #32.4 of the Code of Federal Regulations the developer must justify why the proposed project cannot be pursued elsewhere. The community is strongly opposed to the unnecessary destruction of our much needed wetlands and asks the corps to consider the CFR when reviewing the Cutler Properties application.
Cutler Properties bought this 138 acre property just over three years ago (October 2003), knowing that only 9 acres of it were available for development without a variance. The property owners have the right to build on the 9 acres of uplands, but destroying an additional 30 acres of wetlands that could be restored is not in the best interest of our environment, nor our community.
The project planned by Cutler Properties LC is not the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative (LEDPA) for the projects proposed mixed use and residential housing purposes. The property purchased by Cutler Properties has only 9 acres of uplands yet they propose 42 acres of development that would require the filling of 33 acres of coastal wetlands. This proposed project is not the LEDPA and the applicant should not be granted a 404 permit.
Cutler Properties LC is proposing to fill 33 acres of Class I Coastal Wetlands. In return they are only offering 3 acres of on-site mitigation in just a 30ft buffer. The 90+ acres of high quality wetlands adjacent to Biscayne National Park that they're offering to give to the county cannot be developed under current laws and is therefore irrelevant. Our community is losing 33 acres of wetlands How is this in the public interest?
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) has been deemed a National Issue of Overriding Importance in the interest of preserving our water quality. This property is in the footprint of CERP. The developer plans to destroy 33 acres of coastal wetlands in an area that is critical to the aquifer and the bay. CERP needs to be implemented and our threatened wetlands need to be restored. The national goal of preserving our water supply is more important than the need for housing in an already saturated market or the desire for profit by a few individuals. The community relies on the corps to promote the full implementation of CERP on what little is left of our coastal wetlands.
As the population increases throughout South Florida it becomes increasingly important to protect our natural resources. Our coast line must not be sacrificed unnecessarily. It is in our collective best interests to conserve this land and allow it to work for us as a filter for water runoff, and as a sanctuary for birds, crabs and others who call this piece of land home.
Conflict with the Watershed Study
Cutler Properties LC is proposing a plan that is in conflict with the goals of the South Miami-Dade Watershed Study and Plan. The plan establishes an open space/conservation zone (Zone C) "that ensures that lands needed for the protection of Biscayne Bay are available for storm water treatment, wetlands restoration (including the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands CERP Project) and open space (including agriculture) as required." The importance of state and local decisions in the regulatory process is recognized in Section 101(b) of the Clean Water Act and in Section 202(b) of the Environmental Quality Improvement Act. The Army Corps of Engineers is requested to respect local initiatives to preserve land and water resources and consider the long term goals of the community while reviewing Cutler Properties application to fill our coastal wetlands.
There is little green space in Cutler Bay along Old Cutler Road. This is not in keeping with Old Cutler's Historic and Scenic designation. Past development and commercial ventures have already hurt the scenic value of this road.
Lying just outside of Cutler Bay’s town limits is Blackpoint Marina. This marina serves as the launching point for recreational fishermen and boating enthusiasts. As more and more of our shoreline is sacrificed to development, we compromise the health of our bay and the joy of communing with nature.