jean-monestime_web.jpgAs a candidate for the office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner in 2010, I campaigned on the promise of bringing investment to our community. Private investment, coupled with public infrastructure improvements, will create jobs for the residents of my district and the county as a whole.

Recently, upon my recommendation, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a new Land Use Plan for the former Westview Golf Course which is located in the heart of District 2, which I represent. This is a significant step towards delivering on that promise.

This 198-acre tract of land has the potential to create more than 3,000 jobs in our community. The landowner has proposed building a modern retail and business center with shops and restaurants, as well as a movie studio as part of this development. The proposed business and industrial development will bring more than $300
million in new investment to a community that has been long overlooked.

The plan was the result of hours of debate and numerous meetings involving the community, the property owner and my office. These negotiations were extensive and complicated. Neither side received 100 percent of their requests. The community went to great lengths to accommodate this project and I commend them for their diligence and honor their input.

I pushed the developer to meet the community’s demands to limit the amount of warehousing distribution space to 700,000 square feet, instead of the initially requested two million. The developer also agreed to shield neighboring homes so they cannot easily see or hear the activities in the new commercial and industrial development. The landowner must build a miles-long biking and jogging trail and a fully developed five-acre park for the community. The developer is also responsible for amenities such as road beautification and traffic-calming devices.

My position has always been that the developer be sensitive to the needs of the area residents and respect their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their community. When it comes to the jobs this project will generate, the plan must ensure local residents are considered first and minority small businesses are given an opportunity to participate.

Now that this part of the legislative process has concluded, I encourage all the parties — the developer, the community and county staff  — to remain committed to the process as we all move toward an economically more vibrant Miami-Dade County. I also urge the community to remain engaged as this development moves into the zoning phase.

Jean Monestime is currently serving his first term as a Miami-Dade County commissioner, representing District 2.