Saturday, May 12, 2018

America Dream Mall: A Totally Predictable Nightmare ... by gimleteye

Next week the Miami-Dade County Commission will vote on the America Dream Mall; one of the largest, if not the largest, malls in the United States, to be built in the northwest corner of Miami-Dade County. From the point of view of traffic and infrastructure burdens on taxpayers, it is a predictable nightmare.

Before Gov. Rick Scott, citizens had a place -- state administrative court -- and a roadmap, through the Florida Department of Community Affairs, to challenge development schemes that were manifestly against the public interest. A good example, from the 1990's, Wayne's World: the dream child of the late Wayne Huizinga. Blockbuster Park, its formal name, was planned just across the county line in Broward -- not far from the America Dream Mall site. It speaks worlds that an ill-conceived regional development could be halted in the mid 1990s but not in 2017. Some call that progress.

Gov. Scott delivered the coup de grace to the DCA, consigning the agency and its mission to a Tallahassee broom closet. At the same time, developers gained the upper hand by imposing massive costs on citizens with the temerity to challenge local zoning decisions. And, the USSC Citizens United decision opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions by corporations and provided further energy to the dark money pools that are making a mockery of democracy.

In other words, a lot of stuff had to be broken for a plan like the America Dream Mall to make it through. Behind it, in the pipeline, more predictable nightmares: the extension of SR 836 into the last remaining farmland and open space in Miami Dade, the construction of another Walmart in the county's last remaining pine rocklands, and further attempts to move the Urban Development Boundary.

The Florida Department of Community of Affairs, through its development of regional impact programming, was never completely aligned with the public interest in sound development and growth. It was born, however, out of a bipartisan consensus in the state legislature in the 1980's; a time when an older generation of electeds agreed that a system of checks and balances was needed to stop the profit motive from wrecking what Floridians held of value and in trust for future generations.

The development supply chain, industry trade associations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries, and Big Agriculture fought DCA from the start. Gov. Jeb Bush, through establishment figures like Al Hoffman and the Council of 100, used DCA for target practice. For citizens, and the few civic organizations that plunged into the turbid waters of the state's overdevelopment, challenging developments of regional impacts offered a ray of hope.

Gov. Rick Scott squashed that hope; a fact voters might want to remember this November as if the land clearing, bulldozers, and site development of America Dream Mall will not be enough.


Anonymous said...

completely idiotic in the new world of Amazon and with multiple dead malls & department stores already littering Miami

Milly from Hialeah said...

It is never going to be enough for these greedy developers. The problem is that we should be creating real jobs. Immigrations that came before started from zero, filling up the factories, working the land and living the American Dream (not the mall type, the real type).

If we focused more on smaller projects compatible to what is there already and consider the traffic in and out, we can continuously plan projects to remodel, reshape, renovate without major impact to select areas where the politicians normally do not live.

If we built the infrastructure first and they tell us it is going to be like a "Mini Disney Land" or a university campus, and it will not compete with existing malls or shopping centers (because there is already too many of them), maybe they can sell the idea to the citizens and voters, and to all those who live near that northwest area of the county.

Look what happened to 163rd street mall when they built Aventura. Look what happened to Omni when they build Bayside. Imagine what will happen to Westland Mall in Hialeah or the Shops at Main Street when they build this Mega Mall?

Remember that Amendment 2 that was proposed back in 2010? Had that passed, I believe the people could have had the right to vote on this item today, but it failed because we are too blind and stupid to try and understand anything, the politicians buy some with a birthday card or visit to elder centers (and there is probably still too much voter fraud going on in there).

P.S. - BYOB - If they build it and you go, I would recommend not drinking that reverse osmosis water!

Anonymous said...

Just got an email from this group that's against the mall. (I guess someone sold them the Miami-Dade Dems email list...)

Anonymous said...

This awful thing will never be built, thankfully. All just smoke and mirrors by developer who has bullshitted his way for years in New Jersey.