Miami-Dade County Lake Belt


In 1992, the Florida Legislature passed legislation creating Chapter 373.4149, Florida Statutes, and establishing the Northwest Dade Freshwater Lake Plan Implementation Committee (generally known as the Lake Belt Committee).  Council staff has been serving on the Committee as an ex-officio member.


The Lake Belt area consists of an approximately 89 square-mile area located in northwest Miami-Dade County, south of the Miami-Dade/Broward County line, west of the Homestead Extension of the Florida Turnpike (HEFT), east of Krome Avenue, and north of Kendall Drive. Although the Lake Belt is located within one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the state, it also provides half of the limestone mining resources used in the state every year.


The Legislature directed the Lake Belt Committee to develop a plan which:
  • enhances the water supply for Miami-Dade County and the Everglades;
  • maximizes efficient recovery of limestone while promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and protecting the environment, and
  • educates various groups and the general public of the benefits of the plan.


In February 1997, the Lake Belt Committee submitted its Phase 1 Report - Northwest Dade County Freshwater Lake Belt Plan: Making a Whole, Not Just Holes. The Phase 1 Report established the overall framework of the Plan. One of the report’s major recommendations, among others, was that a detailed master plan for the Lake Belt area be developed and adopted by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners. The Florida Legislature, in April 1997, accepted the Phase 1 Report and directed the Lake Belt Committee to prepare a detailed master plan by December 31, 2000 (Sections 373.4149(5)-(6), Florida Statutes, as excerpted below).

Chapter 373.4149, F.S., Dade County Lake Belt Plan

(5) The Committee shall develop Phase II of the Lake Belt Plan, which shall:

(a) Include a detailed master plan to further implementation;
(b) Further address compatible land uses, opportunities, and potential conflicts;
(c) Provide for additional wellfield protection;
(d) Provide measures to prevent the reclassification of the Northwest Dade County wells as groundwater under the direct influence of surface water;
(e) Secure additional funding sources; and
(f) Consider the need to establish a land authority.

(6) ...The committee shall submit a Phase II report and plan to the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District and the Legislature by December 31, 2000, to supplement the Phase 1 Report submitted on February 28, 1997…

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is committing $200,000 toward the development of the Lake Belt Phase II Detailed Master Plan. At the December 18, 1998 Lake Belt Committee meeting, the Committee voted unanimously to support the recommendation that the South Florida Regional Planning Council enter into an agreement with the SFWMD to manage the process for development of the Lake Belt Phase II Detailed Master Plan.


A master plan is needed to ensure that future land uses, infrastructure, and recreational opportunities are consistent with the purposes established in the Lake Belt legislation. More specifically, the Lake Belt Committee determined that a master plan was needed to concentrate mining and ancillary facilities in appropriate areas; coordinate the Lake Belt Plan with the Restudy of the Central & Southern Florida Project; protect private property rights; protect and enhance urban water resources; enable compatible recreational use of appropriate areas; identify other compatible uses; eliminate the potential for future land use and zoning changes that would conflict with the goals of the master plan; and provide access management for these areas.

The Lake Belt Committee further determined that, while consistent with the purposes established in the Lake Belt legislation, efforts should also be made to address and strive for consensus among the various interests regarding the Lake Belt area including, for example, the non-mining property owners, utilities, recreational as well as other interests.


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