The large development site the University of Miami sold to Ram Realty Services is Miami-Dade County’s last remaining stretch of pine rockland.
For last week’s sale of 80 acres next to Zoo Miami to close, Ram had to agree to keep 40 acres of the endangered forest as a preserve. The Palm Beach Gardens company plans to build a phased mixed-use development anchored by Wal-Mart on the rest of the site. Ram also intends to construct 35 adjacent acres the university still owns.
The pine rockland site includes a variety of unique plants, animals and insects, according to the Miami Herald. The university vowed in a written statement to protect the forest and assist in Ram’s plans to preserve the 40 acres being set aside. It once considered building offices and apartments on the land.
Attorney Dennis Olle, a Tropical Audubon and North American Butterfly Association board member, told the newspaper selling the rockland to a developer is an example of “bad policy and bad enforcement.” Olle wrote a letter on Friday asking Florida’s main federal wildlife agent to investigate the sale and planned development. [Miami Herald] — Eric Kalis