Human overpopulation in the Florida Keys is creating an environmental and social catastrophe. Instead of more growth, Monroe County needs to focus on sustaining and improving the quality of life for its residents and visitors.
The fragile aquatic ecosystem in which we live is being strewn with noxious levels of liter, debris and toxic contaminants. Our island communities are buckling under the weight of traffic congestion and government sanctioned building projects.
Assenting to the relentless demands of developers, county and planning commissioners appear to have succumbed to the urban sprawl demands proffered by their overlords. Destructive tipping points, if not checked and reversed, will eventually result in our island homes and habitat being turned into a wasteland.
The response given by many elected officials to these harmful realities has been to press forward with more unrestricted low-end housing projects.
Developers have sought to advance an incestuous relationship with some of our Monroe County Commissioners. At times it appears they’ve gotten everything they’ve wanted, when it comes to squeezing as many people and buildings as they possibly can, into the smallest parcel of land.
Courageously standing against further destruction to our neighborhoods, while promoting quality of life policies, Monroe County Planning Commissioner Fred Miller and Planning Director Mayte Santamaria recently stopped, what appeared to be, efforts by a developer to pack human beings like sardines into a crammed housing project. These buildings were squeezed tightly together, leaving little green space and breathing room for people to live.
Trojan Horse construction projects (affordable & work-force housing) continue to be proposed and built with a deceptive and fundamental underlying flaw; they’ve not delivered on their promise.
Carrying Capacity and Sustainability Studies completed in 2001 at a cost of $8 million, indicated way back then that we were heading for trouble. It was determined that the Florida Keys could not withstand “further development pressures” without “ecosystem collapse.”
Suffocating upon filth, corruption and profiteering resultant from negligent leadership and greedy developers will continue to erode and extinguish our lives; without bold action to countermand this malfeasant arrangement.
School Board and Superintendent resources would be better spent creating a world-class school district, rather than engaging in social engineering and over-development schemes via entry into the housing market. Antiquated thinking and ideas, along with feel-good myths and delusions will not secure the solutions we need on the firing line of life where the rubber meets the road.
There are ample humane, practical and analytically sound methods to address growth, housing and homelessness; without discarding the scientific principles necessary for healthy communities and family life to prosper on our tiny string of islands.
John Donnelly, Key Largo