Summary Outline of TRC Comments: Meeting One


The following outline summarizes the comments made by the Technical Review Committee for the South Miami-Dade Watershed Study during the course of their first meeting on July 31-August 1, 2003. The meeting was held at the Miami-Dade County Florida Cooperative Extension Service, John D. Campbell Agricultural Center. A list of TRC members who participated in the meeting is at the end of this summary outline (Appendix A).

TRC Meeting Overview

The first TRC meeting was held over a two-day period to provide enough time to:

·         Orient the TRC to the purpose, goals, and scope of work of the Watershed Study, the study area, and the role of the TRC

·         Review and comment on the products of the project consultants for the meeting

The meeting consisted of the following components:

·         A welcome, introductions, and review of the meeting agenda by Jim Murley, Director, FAU Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions and TRC Moderator, and Carolyn Dekle, Executive Director, South Florida Regional Planning Council

·         An Overview of the Watershed Study Process by:

–        Roger Carlton, Chair, South Miami-Dade Watershed Study Citizen’s Advisory Committee, who reviewed the work of the Watershed Advisory Committee

–        Cindy Dwyer, Principal Planner, Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, who reviewed the history of the Watershed Study and the context of Miami-Dade County’s Comprehensive Plan

–        Jerry Bell, Project Manager, Agriculture and Rural Area Study, Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, who reviewed the scope and status of the Agricultural and Rural Lands Study

–        John Hulsey, Senior Planner, South Florida Regional Planning Council, who reviewed the management process for the Watershed Study

·         A tour of the study area

·         A presentation by Keith and Schnars of the overall study process, the scope of work, and the initial Task I products

·         TRC comments on the Task I products

·         Time for public comment

The first TRC meeting focused on Tasks 1.1-1.7 of the Watershed Study, Existing Conditions, and Issue Identification:

1.1                Analysis and Documentation of Relevant Studies

1.2                Population Growth

1.3                Development Features

1.4                Natural Resources/Wildlife Resources

1.5                Water Resources

1.6                Description of Regulatory and Planning Agency Jurisdictions

1.7                Land Inventory and Ownership Characteristics

TRC Comments

TRC Moderator Jim Murley began the TRC discussion and comment session with a review of the composition and role of the TRC. He noted that the TRC:

·         Is composed of a team of 18 experts selected for their knowledge of the issues to be addressed by the Watershed Study and Plan

·         Analyzes the work products of the consultant and comments on the soundness of the approach, assumptions, and data to help ensure the technical validity of the consultant's work

·         Uses its meetings to develop:

–        A collective list of summary comments and recommendations on the work products that are the focus of the meeting

–        A list, if needed, of individual member recommendations that reflect their specific areas of expertise

He also noted that an outline summarizing the TRC's overall comments and the recommendations of individual members is prepared following each TRC meeting and submitted to the Watershed Study Project Manager. This outline notes any differing viewpoints among members and the reasons for such differences.

Murley then reviewed how the TRC should organize its review comments:

I.        Important points for the SFRPC, Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, and Keith and Schnars on the overall work program

II.     Key points about each of the subtasks reviewed at this first meeting and how they relate to goals of the study

III.   Other points to consider related to the Watershed Study and Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Plan goals for the Study


I. Comments on the Overall Work Program

TRC members made two main comments about the overall work program. The study needs:

·         A more holistic, integrated approach to both the study area and the study process

·         To make the Bay more of the focal point of the study, with everything beginning with and ending with the Bay

To accomplish these goals, TRC members made the following comments about the steps that should be taken by the project consultants.

·         Prepare what would amount to the foreword of the Watershed Plan now to set the context for the study. The foreword should:

–        Have as the focal point the condition of Biscayne Bay

–        Depict the overall character and interrelationships of the built and natural environment of the Watershed Study area

–        Describe the history of how the Study area got to where it is today and the dynamics of the area

·         Correct the current disconnect between the Bay and the landside impact by clearly showing the connection between the Bay and what happens on the landside. This should include making sure that the water quality of the Bay is the focus point of:

–        All of the analysis, including changes in land use and the different development scenarios, as well as alternative forms and patterns of development.

–        The selection of the variables for the study

–        A public education program as part of the study process that would  address, for example, the impacts of changes in development practices, such as urban landscaping, have on the water quality of the Bay and its long-term protection

·         Move the study process beyond the process of science and maps to the process of planning for the future of the area and the creation of a vision for the area:

–        Begin the study process with a holistic viewpoint

–        Understand what data to collect

·         Make sure the vision and plan are based in community values and concerns – i.e., what the public sees as important to their quality of life and the character of their communities. The values should:

–        Address all three legs of sustainability – social, environmental, and economic

–        Be used when defining the study parameters and developing the alternative development scenarios and evaluation criteria

·         Test a preliminary set of evaluation criteria with the community early in the process as a way to build consensus around a preferred development scenario

·         Use multiple outreach tools tailored to the area to determine what is important to the residents. This could include:

–        Using radio spots, TV advertisements on local shows, workshops, and surveys

–        Recognizing that different groups will have different definitions of values; for example, to a citizen, water quality of the Bay would be evaluated by whether it is clear and free of trash, whereas to a scientist at Biscayne Bay, water quality would depend on very specific water quality measurements

·         Show how the tasks and subtasks fit together and how the information will be assimilated, including:

–        Integrating and synthesizing the data into a coherent picture

–        Taking a more holistic approach to the project

II. Comments on Task 1, Existing Conditions and Issues Identification

1.1    Analysis and Documentation of Relevant Studies

·         Add examples of how similar studies have been done elsewhere

·         Contact the following organizations with plans and studies relevant to the watershed study area:

–        Biscayne National Park

–        University of Florida Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead

–        Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department

–        United States Department of Agriculture Research Service

1.2    Population Growth

·         Use, in addition to population growth, the projected number of households and jobs, which are a key variable in determining land use, property patterns, and the future pattern and form of development

·         Look at the composition and size of future household demands, taking into account:

–        The household composition and size of different cultures

–        The impact on household demand of internal movements within the county, as immigrant families move from entry-level apartments to single-family homes

·         Use household and employment projections, as well as population projections, when projecting water demand and infrastructure needs, including transportation

·         Consider the following factors when developing population scenarios:

–        The natural resource and environmental limitations on growth in certain areas of the watershed

–        The effects of tourists coming to the area

–        The effects of personnel of military and agencies utilizing Homestead Air Reserve Base who may choose to remain in the area

–        The impacts of wet and dry years and hurricanes on population and settlement patterns

–        The amount of population that could be accommodated using not only alternative land uses, but also alternative forms of development (e.g., rural, suburban, and urban densities with more intense infill and redevelopment and use of transit)

·         Use the county’s population figures as they are some of the best in the state

·         Consider moving the interim planning year in the scope of work from 2015 to 2025, which is the planning year of the county

·         Recognize that the 50-year projection is likely to generate a large rate of errors because it is so far out in time

·         Consider Developing a map to illustrate Table 1 of Task 1.1, Miami-Dade County - Components of Population Change

1.3    Development Features

·         Make sure that the tables in this subtask clearly distinguish between development that exists today and development that is projected for the future.

·         Utilize, to the extent possible, the same year base line data across jurisdictions

·         Develop a map that depicts significant places in the study area, including strategic areas that could become significant, as well as the unique attributes of roads, greenways, and other defining features

1.4    Natural Resources/Wildlife Resources

·         Make sure that the maps of natural resources clearly show what environmental resources are included, and not included, in the maps

·         Develop a comprehensive map showing all the natural resources and use this map as a framework for evaluating the alternative scenarios, including how much land near the Bay should be protected under different development densities

·         Develop a map that shows, if the funding were available, the agricultural areas, greenways, including small connecting parcels in urban areas, and open space that could be protected to create an connected system of greenways and blueways

·         Develop more detailed information on the environmentally significant areas in the study areas and the connection between the human and natural environment and use this information when evaluating the impact of the alternative development scenarios on the environment and natural resources

·         Make sure the impact of the scenarios on the environment and natural resources is evaluated with the same level of detail as the impacts on the human side

1.5    Water Resources

·         Use the same water modeling and water demand projections as Miami-Dade County and the South Florida Water Management District

·         Show the connection between the effects of surface flow on the landside of the watershed on the water quality of the Bay, which has not been done. (It was noted that the SFWMD is doing research that will make this link; however, the results will not be completed prior to the end of this study.)

·         Reexamine the use of the Storm Water Management Model (XP-SWMM), which may be more than what is needed for this study and is designed to model surface water runoff for an urban area and not for agricultural and other rural areas. (It was noted that in agricultural areas, better flooding data are needed. One resource for this type of data is the Extension Service, which has information on the effects of flooding on different crop types.)

1.6    Description of Regulatory and Planning Agency Jurisdictions

·         Evaluate the plans, codes, ordinances, and funding mechanisms that will likely be needed to implement the Watershed Plan

·         Include the rules and regulations of the Biscayne Aquatic Preserve and the Biscayne National Park in the regulations and plans to be evaluated

1.7    Land Inventory and Ownership Characteristics

·         Expand the definition of significant lands to include small parcels that can be used to help create systems of connected greenway and blueway system when analyzing ownership characteristics

1.8    Watershed Characteristics – Parameters and Thresholds

TRC members made a number of observations about the development of the parameters and thresholds to be used in the risk assessment of coastal development alternatives on the functioning and dynamics of the Biscayne Bay ecosystem:

·         Involve community stakeholders in the development of the ecological, economic, and socio-political parameters used in evaluating scenario consequences

·         Prepare a thorough and comprehensive description of how the indicator parameters were chosen, the parts of the system they represent, where parameter values were obtained, and some sense of the precision of those parameters

·         Note that the parameters should, by and large, be quantitative measures of system functioning that fulfill various ecological and economic risk assessment criteria

·         Employ a relative weighting scheme (e.g., multi-objective utility functions or analytical hierarchy process model) to allow a quantitative assessment of all weighted parameters to be evaluated simultaneously

·         Establish parameter thresholds that allow effective evaluation of the consequences of the proposed scenarios

·         Make sure that subsequent presentations concerning the selected parameters and thresholds:

–        Include a succinct description of the rationale behind the selection criteria for each model parameter and variable, a sense of its spatial context, and the accuracy and precision of the parameters

–        Describe how the parameters fit together in a comprehensive assessment of their individual and combined impacts on the water quality and sustainability of Biscayne Bay’s economically- and ecologically-important natural resources

In closing their discussion of the Task 1 subtasks, several TRC members stressed the importance of making sure that as the process goes along, county and agency staff are comfortable with the data and assumptions so that they are in support of the plan when it is completed and ready for approval by the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.

III. Comments on Other Points to Consider in Relation to Study and Plan Goals

TRC members’ comments in this part of the discussion focused on Task 2, Formulate Land Use Scenarios, and Task 3, Modeling and Impact Assessment.

Task 2: Formulate Land Use Scenarios

Members of TRC made a number of comments on the formulation of the land use scenarios:

·         Treat Scenarios II and III as two different versions of the same scenarios – one with Urban Development Boundary movement and one without

·         Show the consistent factors that are in all the scenarios – what they are and how they were developed

·         Develop a series of sub-scenarios to test different variables, including the variables for the:

–        Selected population, household, and employment projections

–        Alternative development forms and conservation programs designed to protect the Bay

·         Make sure that Scenarios II and III include development forms and conservation measures that will minimize negative impacts on the Bay

·         Consider in Scenarios II and III compressing development around existing nodes through infill and redevelopment and utilization of higher development densities, including more attached single-family units and multifamily units and transit-oriented and mixed-use development to avoid continuing to develop vacant land

·         Incorporate in the scenarios contingencies for inter-annual variations in rainfall, including some wet years, such as occurred in the late 1990s, and some dry years, such as occurred during the 1980s

TRC members also made comments on the consultant’s evaluation of the scenarios.

·         Focus on the impact on the water quality of the Bay and the natural environment, including measurements that for Scenarios II and III:

–        Compare the benefits to the Bay of alternative land uses under each scenario

–        Evaluate for different forms of development, densities, and conservation programs for each scenario – for example, the benefits to the Bay of percentage increases in the number of attached single-family and multi-family residential units, as well as cluster, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development

·         Utilize the amount of water used by a development form as one of the criteria when evaluating development patterns

·         Evaluate the internal movements of households and jobs in the study area and the relationship of those movements to land use and water quality

–        Consider that the results of the scenarios will be highly dependent upon the spatial and temporal conditions that are to be evaluated, which means that the results will have a strong time dimension to them as the resources are spread differentially across the Bay, and the imposed effects will play out over variable amounts of time depending upon the organisms, populations, and communities affected

·         Consider the impacts of the following factors:

–        Tourism

–        Property rights, the effects of climate (wet or dry) and the economy (boom or bust)

–        The impacts of international policy decisions on the agricultural properties

·         Allow enough time at the end of the process to work through the preferred scenario

Task 3: Modeling and Impact Assessment

·         Understand the limitations of using REMI (Regional Economic Models, Inc.) for this type of study since REMI cannot:

–        Do spatial modeling, which means that the data will not change with different land use scenarios

–        Disaggregate future development into different geographic areas of the study area, using for each area a different number of households and jobs configured in different forms of development that will improve the water quality of the Bay

·         Develop information on what needs to be included in the different development alternatives in order to have a positive impact on the Bay

·         Give consideration to utilizing the soon to be released Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) from the Census Bureau

·         Include a specific allowance for redevelopment in the supply variables for the transportation datasets to reflect the importance of redevelopment in the future development patterns of the county. (The Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning has done some work in this area, which could be reviewed with the project consultant.)

·         Consider whether there is enough time to do a cost-benefit analysis of each scenario within the study timeframe. The suggestion was made to consider conducting a cost-benefit analysis of Scenario I, which is based on the continuation of existing land use and zoning practices, and then qualitatively comparing the other two scenarios to this analysis near the end of the study process.

Next TRC Meeting

TRC members recommended that, in addition to the task products to be reviewed, the meeting also allocate time to review the following:

·         How Keith and Schnars addressed the TRC’s comments from Meeting One – what they did incorporate and how, and what they did not incorporate and why – including how Scenarios II and III will be defined

·         The recommendations of the Agriculture and Rural Area Study and the related report by the University of Florida, Economic Impact of Agriculture and Agribusiness in Miami-Dade County, and how they will be incorporated in the analysis and definition of the Scenarios II and II

·         The character of the parameters and thresholds for the alternative scenarios, including the spatial context and rationale for the precision, range, and variability, and how they will be connected to the baseline data

In addition to this information, TRC members asked for the following:

·         A map showing water resources

·         A map showing soil types (available from University of Florida in a GIS format)

·         Information on the level of the water table (to understand the salt water intrusion issues)

·         Information on related South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) studies

·         A glossary of acronyms

·         SFRPC legal opinion regarding applicability of open meeting laws

·         Information on the overall history of the area

·         A composite that brings together the various community charrettes and plans into one picture depicting what citizens have said they want for their communities

·         Greater synthesis of the data, preferably in the form a more integrated map that:

–        Combines all the resources, both built and natural, into a single snapshot of the area that can be used to guide the opportunities and constraints analysis and to build public understanding of the study area

–        Includes a description of the methodology that will be used to evaluate the resources in the alternative development scenarios

Public Comments

No public comments were made during the TRC meeting.


TRC Members Participating in Meeting One


Jim Murley

Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions

Florida Atlantic University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Economic Modeling

Mahadev Bhat

Associate Professor (Resource Economics) and Graduate Program Director

Environmental Studies and Economics Department

Florida International University

Miami, Florida


Gerrit Knapp

Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, and Director of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education

University of Maryland

College Park Maryland

Faculty Associate, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cost Benefit Analysis and Infrastructure Planning

Robert Burchell

Distinguished Professor and Center Co-Director, Center for Urban Policy Research (CUPR)

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, New Jersey

Chuck Blowers

Chief of Research

Miami-Dade Department of Planning and Zoning

Miami, Florida

Resource-Based Tourism

Dave Barth

Director of Parks and Open Space Planning and Director of the West Palm Beach Office of Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc.

West Palm Beach, Florida

Bill Anderson

Director of Planning and Research

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Miami, Florida


Tom Daniels

Professor of City and Regional Planning

Department of City and Regional Planning

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Donald Pybas

County Extension Director

Miami-Dade County Florida Cooperative Extension Service

Homestead, Florida

Water Modeling

David Chin

Professor of Environmental and Civil Engineering and Department Chair

Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

Steve Nix

Professor and Chair

Department of Civil Engineering

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Habitat and Marine Biology

Jerry Ault

Associate Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

University of Miami

Miami, Florida

Joel Trexler

Director, Graduate Program in Biological Sciences, and Associate Professor of Biology

Department of Biological Sciences

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

John Volin

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, and Interim Director of Environmental Sciences Graduate Research Program

Division of Biological Sciences

Florida Atlantic University

Davie, Florida

Community Character and Land Use

Joe Kohl

Dover Kohl and Partners

Coral Gables, Florida

Roy Rogers

Special Consultant

CCL Consultants, Inc.

Pompano Beach, Florida

Multi-Disciplinary Team Representatives

Liz Abbott

Senior Planner

South Florida Water Management District

Miami-Dade Regional Service Center

Miami, Florida

Susan Markley

Natural Resources Division, Chief

Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management

Miami, Florida


Jean Scott

Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida


TRC Members Not Participating in Meeting One Because of Schedule Conflicts

Property Rights

Edwin J. Stacker

Akerman Senterfitt
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

APPENDIX B: Miami-Dade Watershed Study Technical Review Committee

The Role of the TRC

The Technical Review Committee (TRC) component of the South Miami-Dade Watershed Study and Plan brings an objective, outside, professional perspective to the planning process and an additional level of review from experts in different fields who contribute ideas and lessons learned from other areas.

The TRC evaluates and makes recommendations on the products of the Watershed Study and Plan and helps ensure the technical validity of the consultant's work. It does this by analyzing the work products of the consultant and commenting on the soundness of the approach, assumptions, and data. TRC members may bring information to the process as a part of their critique.

An important feature of the TRC is that it operates independently of the consulting team. This helps ensure that the planning process is appropriate and correctly executed, that the products of the process are underpinned by the best possible data and sound modeling assumptions, and that the implementation strategies will be the most effective in accomplishing the goals of the planning process.

TRC Membership

The TRC is made up of a team of experts selected for their knowledge of the issues to be addressed by the Watershed Study and Plan. Its 18 members represent the disciplines of economic modeling, cost benefit analysis, infrastructure planning, resource-based tourism, agriculture, property rights law, water modeling, habitat, marine biology, community character, and land use. The TRC is coordinated by Florida Atlantic University’s Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions. The Director of the Catanese Center, Jim Murley, serves as the moderator of the Panel.

How the TRC Develops Its Comments and Recommendations

The TRC holds a planning session as a part of each of its meetings. Members use this session to develop a summary of their collective comments and recommendations. They also use the session to develop a list of individual member recommendations that reflect their specific areas of expertise. An outline summarizing the TRC's overall comments and the recommendations of individual members is prepared following each TRC meeting and submitted to the Watershed Study Project Manager. This outline notes any differing viewpoints among members and the reasons for such differences.

Use of the TRC’s Recommendations

The TRC’s recommendations are offered with the knowledge that the specific activities may not be planned in the current scope of work and would only proceed if the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, and project consultants conclude that it would be beneficial to the project.