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Forced Development Rights on Krome Ave Estates

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Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 12:00 am

I recently sat down for lunch at the Capri Restaurant with several local experts who keep their thumbs on the pulse of happenings in South Dade. I was following a disturbing lead for information on a 30-acre parcel

designated for a housing development to be known as Krome Grove Estates. It is located at 17845 SW 296 Street.

The conversation began with Bill Losner, “You know, the Krome

family has been farming in Homestead for over 100 years. They are one of the most generous farming families in this community having donated 40 acres with Charles Schaff for the Tropical Research and Educational Center (TREC). In addition, the Krome family donated the corner of that prime property you’re asking about, to be preserved as a hammock. They also helped start the Redland Christian Migrant Association and donated land for various right of ways.”

James Humble picked up the conversation, “Now that the family has found a buyer that wants to purchase that land, some people in the community have accused the Krome family of being greedy…can you imagine that?” Both reminded me that the property in question had been slated in the Master Plan for development since 1973 so the Krome family is doing what most of us would, sell for the highest and best price. 

Well, here’s what happened, counting the preservation of the historical house on the property, another 50 homes will be built for a total of 51.

The kicker is, though the property was zoned for development it is being

converted from agricultural use, thus there is a net loss of ag land. With that in mind the developer was forced to purchase development rights outside the Urban Development Line that prevent development on another parcel. According to Losner, “The builder purchased 10 acres outside the UDB. This new property must remain as farmland and cannot be developed. Being forced to pay extra for an existing legal right on property inside UDB is extortion.”

Humble rejoined the conversation, “Miami-Dade is the only County in Florida with developmental boundaries.” We all acknowledge, that the present County Strategic Plan is for no net loss of agricultural land and that citizens in crowded areas want to preserve “green space” even to the detriment of the land owners. Humble continued, “Though the Strategic Plan states there should be no net loss of farmland, let’s be realistic, you can not preserve farming. If a farmer can make a living, then he will continue to farm. If he cannot turn a profit farming, then he/she should be allowed to sell the land for the highest and best use. If the County, neighbors or citizens in another part of town have a problem with that, let them buy the land they want to

preserve at fair market value. As for forced purchase of development rights to enable one to sell farm land for development, that is just another form of discrimination that should be challenged in a court of law. Humble posed a final question, “Why should farmers be treated differently then any other type of land owner?”

As we finished our lunch, we waited for the unexpected thunderstorm to pass wondering what other regulatory storms agricultural land owners will be forced to face.

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