Florida Supreme Court supports Calusa residents in development – NBC 6 South Florida

The Florida Supreme Court has rejected a Miami-Dade developer's appeal, effectively halting plans to build 550 homes on 168 acres of land in the Calusa neighborhood, a former golf course that has fallen into disrepair.

Some surrounding homeowners and advocates who have fought to protect the property's wildlife, including endangered species, say it's a significant victory.

Conservationists highlight the area's high wildlife activity, including nesting sites for the tricolored heron, an endangered species, and the great blue heron. The critically endangered Florida crested bat also lives in the area, adding to its ecological importance.

Local advocates, including Amanda Prieto of the nonprofit Save Calusa, highlighted the grassroots efforts to monitor and protect wildlife on the property.

“This is my fifth year of personal advocacy,” Prieto said. “This, I think, is a reflection of the power of community and the power to stand up and make your voice heard. I think it also reflects the value of public input and public input into local decisions.”

An attorney representing the neighbors said the ruling forces the developer to restart the approval process, including submitting a new proposal to Miami-Dade County.

Property developer GL Homes commented on the decision as follows.

“GL Homes respects the decision of the Florida Supreme Court, but we are naturally disappointed that a technical error is delaying the delivery of much-needed housing in Miami-Dade County,” the company said. “We look forward to returning to the County Commission with a revised site plan. The County Commission approved our vision by a vote of 10-2 and we are confident that our plan to transform this vacant site into a low-density single-family home development within the city's development boundary will once again be well received by the commissioners.”

Anna Harden

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