Thousands Sign Petitions Against Walmart Development on Endangered Pine Rockland

Categories: Unreal Estate

ram.png
Photo via ramrealestate.com
Coral Reef Commons
Leslye Jacobs is a longtime environmental advocate and a once-proud University of Miami Hurricane. But two weeks ago, when she learned that the university had sold a swath of endangered pine rockland forest to a Palm Beach Gardens-based developer that planned to build a Walmart, Jacobs, the director of an education nonprofit, was disgusted. So she started a petition against the development on MoveOn.org.

"I saw the news and right away I was just so angry," Jacobs tells Riptide. "I was feeling physically sick about it."

See also: Walmart Officially Closes on Midtown Property

The university sold the 88-acre parcel, at Coral Reef Drive and SW 124th Avenue, adjacent to Zoo Miami, to Ram Realty Services for $22 million earlier this month. The university had owned the land -- home to some of the state's last pine rockland habitat and the several unique animal species it supports, like the Bartram's hairstreak butterfly -- since the 1940s, using it mostly for research. Besides the Walmart, the proposed development, called Coral Reef Commons, is slated to include an LA Fitness, Chik-fil-A, Chili's, and 900 apartments, with 40 acres set aside for a preserve.

"The environment will be a valuable asset for the community we plan to create at Coral Reef Commons," Ram said in a statement on its website July 18, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent the company a letter expressing concern about the project. "And scientists from Zoo Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanica Garden, and the Institute for Regional Conservation are already in the process of relocating vulnerable plant species."

The company met with Fish and Wildlife officials July 22, although no decisions about the project were made.

But the meeting and the company's lip service have done little to quell a rising outcry against the project. One online petition, started by activist Chris Wolverton on thepetitionsite.com, has attracted nearly 35,000 signatures, and Jacobs' now has more than 8,000.

When Jacobs reaches 10,000, the activist tells Riptide, she and her team plan to present the names to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Gov. Rick Scott, whom she hopes will be sympathetic to what she sees as an all-too-rare South Florida environmentalist movement.

"No one really realizes what's at stake," Jacobs says. "There is so much more conservationist activity in other parts of the world and the U.S. than there is here, and we really need to change that."

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23 comments
Charles M. LaBow
Charles M. LaBow

You're hoping to convince governor Scott? When has he ever cared about average people?

Shannan Alvarez
Shannan Alvarez

Glad I moved from that area, 152 is already a nightmare, adding 900+ more residents to that street is going to be horrible!

Monica Talavera
Monica Talavera

signed and shared hopefully with enough signatures this issue will get addressed.

gladesman
gladesman

Another article in another paper explained Everglades Park has thousands of acres of this sorry habitat that even a billy goat would have major problems traversing. What a bunch of sheep some folks are following any bleeding heart that is out there. Our economic systems only survives with expansion. Sorry folks - wake up and smell the unhealthy bacon frying.

Chris Gouveia Hugh
Chris Gouveia Hugh

It's not about a Walmart. We don't need another strip mall and 900 apartments in this area. The infrastructure already can't handle what we have. It is total gridlock as it is without adding this. Don't forget that a theme park for the old Coast Guard Base has already been approved and is in the works. Can you imagine what all of his will do to the area. The different departments are not communicating with each other on what is in the works before approving additional projects.

Santiago E. Perez
Santiago E. Perez

I just got back from Europe and it's so obvious we don't have culture like they do because we keep tearing it down.

Riselda Ruiz
Riselda Ruiz

Chris Gouveia Hugh, hopefully we can get more signatures through stories like this.

Damian Dery
Damian Dery

Michelle Prats is this the petition that you were supporting

Alina Perez Blanco
Alina Perez Blanco

What about all the traffic and congestion when there is already enough congestion out there. It takes me almost 30 mins to get from the turnpike exit to crossing 137 ave, and they want to add all that? Plus 900 condos?? Signing the petition now!

Ellen Slavin
Ellen Slavin

UM should be ashamed of itself. The powers that be there don't give a crap about the community.

Firip Onitsuka
Firip Onitsuka

I guarantee that if a Walmart wasn't slated for that space... this wouldn't make a headline.

Chanelle Artiles
Chanelle Artiles

Regardless whether people hate Walmart or not... There are several within a 15 mile radius. So much so that they are cannibalizing each other. That area already faces a large amount a traffic daily during rush hour and the fact that it's endangered pine land just drives the point home. We don't need another Walmart and we don't need more apartments that people can't afford. I bet Walmart workers surely won't be able to rent in those apartments.

Andres Cofiño
Andres Cofiño

Save endangered pine land and stop Walmart, priceless. Signed.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

We don't need endangered pine lands. What we really need is another massive store full of Chinese products and obesity on scooters.

ravburlesvif
ravburlesvif

my roomate's step-sister makes $79 /hour on the internet . She has been laid off for 10 months but last month her pay was $17689 just working on the internet for a few hours. look these up..............>>>>>>http://www.jobs23.com

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