aid and time
ByPAULSUKOVSKY Bauer Drive near Krome Avenue. It
HerdStafWrte was one of 16 parcels the state
I6 South Dade, what one scientist wanted to purchase to preserve
calls the crown jewel of pinelands is in h Dae.
becoming a residential subdivision. It 10 peceof plants fac-
t : On the Indian River, themost- ing extinction plant found only in
portant nesting beach in the West- Dade County. Now it contains five
ern Hemisphere for three species of dozen lots for single-family houses.
endangered sea turtles is threat- The of turning Bauer into
ended by home construction. a suivisio called Country Ridge
On the Gulf Coast, a beach of Estates did not happen overnight.
breathtaking biological abundance For six years, the land was tied up
will soon be covered with condos. in the courts as the developer and
Beautiful beaches, pristine pine- Metro-Dade County argued over
lands and tropical hammocks are be. zoning. If the state had acted while
ing bulldozed all around Florida de- the developer was in court spending
spite a multimillion-dollar state money on lawyers, it might have
S program to save them. That pro- been able to buy Bauer.
Sgram. the Conservation and Recre-
ed ation Lands program, has saved A waiting lst
x 159,374 acres at a cost of more than But it can take up to two years for
2 $250 millionsince 1980. a site to get on the CARL list, said
C Greg Brock, CARL staff director.
Development damage Metro-Dade applied to put the pi*
S Despite its successes, though, neland on the list in the summer of
> many unique places ranked high on 1985. By the time the pineland actu
Sthe CARL priority list for purchase ally was placed on the list in August
Shave been damaged by develop- 1987, it was too late. The courts had
C ment That's because state govern- ordered Dade County to give the de-
ment has not been able to move fast veloper the zoning he wanted. That
S enough to buy them. made the land worth a lot more
< The reasons: lack of staff, the money than before $2 million, ac-
6 ghost of a decade-old scandal and a cording to developer Lawrence
lack of money. Deddy.
r Lack of money is a relative term. The Bauer scenario is not unusu-
< Every year, CARL has almost $50 al. Speed is imperative when it
2 million to buy land on its list. But the comes to buying land in Florida. The
Slist contains 60 sites and there is not price keeps going up along with the
nearly enough cash to buy them all. pressure to develop it.
The real estate on the list is esti- With just 10 land acquisition
mated to be worth between $750 agents assigned to 200 state pro-
million and $1 billion. The top 30 jects, it's impossible for the CARL
sites are designated as "in the mon- program to move quickly.
ey" only because state land acquisi- For example, one agent is respon-
tion agents are authorized to negoti- sible for acquiring about 29,000
ate their purchase, not because separate parcels in just one CARL
there is enough money to buy them project in the wetlands north of Ev-
all. erglades National Park. And there
are almost as many land owners as
"L.s Loat Saus tmct there ar parcels.
Lost forever in South Dade's Red- The agent "could spend several
land is the Bauer tract, a precious lifetimes and never finish the pro-
pineland now being turned into a ject," said Bruce St ew acting
typical subdivision of suburban chief of the Department of Natural
houses. Its demise was caused by Resources Bureau of Land Acquisib
both a lack of money and a govern- tion.
ment bureaucracy too slow to act in
time. Bigger udbgr
"It's a heartbreaking tragedy," Natural Resources chief Tom
said Dennis Hardin, an ecologist Gardner wants to triple CARL's
who determines the biological value budget next year to $150 million,
of each site proposed for the CARL aides ay. Staskiews hopes to add as
list. many as six land acquisition agents.
The Bauer pineland is 38 acres on Estus Whitfield, environmental
.^- 1- -3
__ ..., ... .LIUL *-T~iMir-iri~r:-iiu<]mjt^'in~iffi~rrM~y~to j')uiiMil>>iiiiri)l'fiiiiiii'i i'r"r~ n **'* -r~~f.
Atthouoh hr'bn the tate's pdokx tityisyurd se~devet is imm .nert orthas
abdy takcpnlua othesenenvironmen ay important prwpo.. -..a1
lahasee eSinlnol, Wood Semonoo
Lake County Seminnole r
TopWMNU. IN Swamp s
Waon County n
M oam "RockrldgePlalon doh o am Project area
Mim Nao^rth Key Largo State owned
Big Pine Ky/Coupon Bight H,.mmock. oo0 2 Ot CARL
MonreCourty Odando Bc
S ocawathtdi~e Crytail River ; Wabao Beach
al CituCounty "a ndian River County
Du clounty MW P0reje Project B ea
-- ;- area M W Northt KeyL o mm State owned
a|Big P ContCoupon No y Projects
wona County C2n. Crystal MiM/e
Marsh Aqu LOcea
rnrip lb Preserve.'V
Sand' 4 ay
aIk ............... ....
i MLES Wabasso
0 Project Gu Project area I C a Project area Beach
I I area Mexo -State owned State or county
Miami Rokrldge Big Pine K /Coupon. North Key a Ocan
Pinelands Bight Hammocks Reef
Dade County Monroe ion Monroe County dsot
S:: e y Project
STum MILES area I
Saut te Nao e S tate Key Largo
SOrinal Pro ject Federal
soP Re:Os i~swus nw sIdersnt oa Nmlt nesg TIFFANY ReANTh mayns soon alrr
policy advisetoGov. Bob Martina, to the beach to lay their eggs. When Housing threatens
agrees the land acquisition agents those eggs hatch, if the baby turtles Houses are being constructed on
are stretched too thin. Whitfield see light say from a condo balco- the north and south ends of the six-
said he plans to tell that to the gov- ny they will crawl toward it rath- mile stretch of beachfront. And de-
ernor during the process of creating er than the ocean. And then they velopment is inexorably marching
next year's budget. will probably die. toward the middle.
But nex year may be too late for "We are talking about the second The owners of the Windsor Polo
Wabasso Beach in Indian River most important nesting beach in the and Beach Club may soon deliver
County, No. 21 on the CARL list. world for loggerhead sea turtles," the coup de grace to the fragile bar-
Every year, three species of sea said Earl Possardt, a U.S. Fish and
turtles facing extinction lumber on- Wildlife Service biologist. PLEASESEE LAND, 7B
S;^ tlj '1* ^ >
Land program faces crunch of time
N, OMM ---.. '. species facing extinction, environmentally sensitive land. The But Whitfield says buying land
LAND, OM Even though it is No. 17 on the scandal resulted in strict rules for now would be a bargain for the state
rier island beach. Thl want to build CARL ist -- easily "in the money." land purchases that mandate time- because prices are skyrocketing and
uan u ale development and t Top Sail's destruction has already consuming procedures for title landis being rapidly developed.
houses on the dune be A road almost amile longha searches, apping and negotiating At least two Cabinet officers -
Geoffrey Kenone of the rt been cut through the topdf Top Sai the purchase price. Agriculture Commissioner Doyle
ners ownn theS prrojet, has Hill. A 13-acre tract in the middle of Says Martinez-aide Whitfield "A Connor and Comptroller Gerald
nesownint a hpoo roj uns threat the beach may soon become a con- lot of people around Tallahasseestill Lewis say they're willing to con-
SHis pl, Prince Charlesvisited in struction site, said Stephen Gate. remember Harmon Shields. There siderit.
S Februaryandplayed a round of polo wood of The Nature Conservancy, a will be some reluctance to liberalize "We need to make these purchas-
to benefit Kents charity -Friends national organization dedicated to the process too much." es earlier rather than later while
of Conservation TheAficn d- preserving ecologically sensitive But speeding up the process be there is still land available and it is
life organization sdedicad land. comes almost irrelevanwithoutd- chapter said Lewis.
serving the environment of Kenya. ue moey to uy Last month, Whitfield testified
"If the state doesn't get in there Push fr speed is developed. The aw creating before the House Natural Resourc-
and acquire it quick, the whole Wa- Local governmentsacross Florida toCARLgivestheprogram es Committee. "If we want to save
ito issue bonds with the approval of
basso project could go down the want the state to speed up its pur the cabinet and the Legislature. e sid."And bontint ts o do t,
tubes," said CARL chief Brock. chases of places like Top Sail Hill, Whitfild the ha t e said d bonding method.
In the Panhandle County of Wal- Wabasso Beach and Dade's Bauer use that powerhe beautiful land we want won't be
ton is a 3-mile stretch of beach Tract. power. there in 10 years. If that's the case,
with the highest dunes on the north- But memories of a decade-old Bond use considered should we use our resources to
ern Gulf coast: 30 to 40 feet high. scandal makes speeding up the pro- Using bonds means buying land buy land now with bonds?
Top Sail Hill is stunning. The cess difficult. In 1980, Natural Re- now and paying for it over time. "Rather than the pineands turn-
beach and adjacent dunes contain 18 sources Director Harmon Shields And, just like Joe Taxpayer, the ing into another housing project or
biological communities ranging was removed from office and con- state would have to pay interest on the turtle beaches turning into more
from scrub to wet prairie. It is also victed of seeking kickbacks in a dif- the money it borrows through bond- condos we need to look at
home to six plant and two animal ferent state program for purchasing ing. honds."