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Miami-Dade County Infill Strategy Task Force
Final Report - Executive Summary

On December 19, 1996, the Metro-Dade County Board of County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 1477-96 directing the County Manager to establish and appoint an Infill Strategy Task Force. The Task Force was directed by the Board of County Commissioners to examine and make recommendations on opportunities and strategies to promote infill and redevelopment in underdeveloped areas within the County's planned Urban Development Boundary (LTDB). The Task Force was instructed to consider both traditional and non-traditional strategies with a view towards creating a positive impact on all the citizens of Dade County. Membership of the Task Force included representatives from the private sector, all of the municipalities in Dade County, the Dade County Public Schools, and other governmental agencies.

While the Task Force did not find a single existing definition of urban infill development that could be applied to all situations, the Task Force assigned the following meaning to "urban infill development":

The development of vacant, abandoned, or significantly underutilized parcels in the urbanized core area of the County that is served with all or most public services and facilitiesÿ The urban infill development area should be recognized to be the focus of public and private urban development resources and initiatives in the County.

Infill development is becoming increasingly recognized as an effective way to proactively address a variety of interrelated problems associated with post-WWII development trends. It is a means of protecting, stabilizing and revitalizing older neighborhoods. It is also a way of promoting economic development through better employment and increased commercial activity serving residential neighborhoods. Infill development offers great potential to improve infrastructure efficiency, increase the affordability of central cities and older, first-generation suburbs, improve accessibility of transportation, and make cities more livable.

The full Task Force met eleven times beginning with its initial organizational meeting on April 18, 1997. Three subcommittees were organized to review specific issues, they held over twenty sessions. At many of the meetings of the subcommittees, Task Force members heard presentations from individuals representing local and regional agencies, Metro-Dade County departments, and private sector agencies. These individuals provided essential background information to the subcommittees in their study of infill issues.

'The Task Force discussed and examined numerous recommendations and initiatives. The Task Force forwards twelve recommendations in its Executive Summary as the "cornerstones" of a fair, efficient, and effective urban infill program in Dade County. These recommendations are considered by the Task Force to be those with the greatest potential for implementation and effectiveness; however, they are not presented in order of priority. Other recommendations which the Task Force believes warrant further consideration are listed in Appendix A of the Final Report.
Cornerstone recommendations

Geographic Issues

Recommendation 1: Metro-Dade County should delineate an Urban Infill Development Area in its Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). Policies should be included in the CDMP specifying that this area shall receive priority for future public and private investments in infrastructure, services, development and compatible redevelopment.

Recommendation 2: Strong emphasis should be given to strategies that promote infill development which generate employment opportunities and service-oriented activities, over the creation of additional housing per se, within those portions of the designated Urban Infill Development Area that have high rates of unemployment, poverty, and households on public assistance. These "Economic Development Priority Areas" should also be adopted into the Comprehensive Development Master Plan, along with supporting objectives and policies.

Recommendation 3: Hold the line on the Urban Development Boundary (UDB). The Board of County Commissioners should adopt as a policy statement that the UDB will not be extended for the next ten years.

Housing

Recommendation 4: Within the Urban Infill Development Area, encourage a balanced mix of well-designed housing types (owner/renter occupied units), sizes and prices for all income levels (market and non-market rate units).

Recommendation 5: Create a consortium of lending institutions for residential and business loans at below market rates.

Infrastructure/funding

Recommendation 6: Upgrade mass transit service in the Urban Infill Development Area through an expanded rail system, increased and reliable bus service and intermodal connections, and improved marketing of the system.

Recommendation 7: Improve educational opportunities in the Urban Infill Development Area (UIDA) by giving priority to 1) increasing funding, 2) redirecting resources, and 3) forging creative solutions through public school/private enterprise partnerships to identify incentives for providing education opportunities within the UIDA.

Recommendation 8: Dade County should participate with federal, state, and other initiatives in a coordinated effort with other local governments to pursue financial assistance for infill infrastructure projects within the Urban Infill Development Area.

Design/Regulation

Recommendation 9: County and municipal permitting agencies in the Urban Infill Development Area should increase flexibility and streamline the permitting and development review process to encourage infill development and redevelopment.

Recommendation 10: Promote good design to gain acceptance of higher density, and promote mixed use neighborhoods and projects, including small area planning with a clear objective of empowering the residents, business owners, and all other stakeholders in determining the character and intensity of development in and around their neighborhood.

Public Education

Recommendation 11: The County and cities should coordinate the creation of a parcel inventory of vacant, abandoned, or significantly underutilized sites within the Urban Infill Development Area and disseminate such information to the development industry, including lenders, realtors, developers, and the public.

Implementation

Recommendation 12: An Infill Strategy Committee should be established for a period of 18 months to assist the County in implementing and further defining the recommendations outlined in this report.



The Task Force recognizes that these recommendations are an initial step in the process of fostering and stimulating additional infill development and redevelopment and that a coordinated and ongoing effort is crucial by Dade County and all of the urban municipalities.