TROPICAL AUDUBON OPPOSES ULTRA ON VIRGINIA KEY

The Tropical Audubon Society is formally opposing the move of the Ultra Music Festival to Virginia Key, saying the concert threatens wildlife and is not in accordance with the approved master plan for the sensitive area.

TropAudubonlogo.jpeg

The resolution notes that Virginia Key is home to a wildlife area and that “research studies have clearly demonstrated the negative impacts to bird breeding success due to excessive noise in the vicinity of nesting areas, including abandonment of these nesting areas.” The society pointed out that a federal report found 60 bird species breed in Virginia Key Beach Park, Bill Sadowski Critical Wildlife Area and other areas on or around Virginia Key. Three have a ”State Threatened” designation (Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron and White-crowned Pigeon) and one has a “State Species of Special Concern” designation (Osprey).

In urging city officials to reject the proposal to move Ultra to Virginia Key, the society notes that the city did not consult with the Virginia Key Advisory Board, the body formally tasked with upholding the Virginia Key Master Plan.

FULL TEXT OF RESOLUTION:

Re: City of Miami Commission Public Hearing Resolution 4

License Agreement with Event Entertainment Group, Inc. for an Annual Ultra Music Festival at the Marine Stadium and Virginia Key Beach Site.

WHEREAS, Tropical Audubon Society has long believed that public hearings and citizen participation are key to building long-term, sustainable communities; and

WHEREAS, the City is proposing to enter into an agreement with Event Entertainment Group, Inc. for an Annual Ultra Music Festival at the Marine Stadium and Virginia Key Beach Site; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Event Entertainment Group, Inc. agreement is in conflict with the 2010 Virginia Key Master Plan overarching themes of preservation  and enhancement of natural areas ; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to City Ordinance 13583, the Virginia Key Advisory Board (VKAB) is tasked with advising and making recommendations to the City commission with respect to “the mission, vision, business plan, governance and operation of Virginia Key, its abutting property and basin, and the implementation of the 2010 Virginia Key Master Plan as it relates to the entirety of Virginia Key”; and

WHEREAS, Section 2-1192 of the City Code details the purpose, powers, and duties of the Virginia Key Advisory Board which include, but are not limited to, the review of all information pertaining to the governance of Virginia Key, items relating to short and long term vision of the island business models and future plans for the island, as well as serve in an advisory capacity to the City Commission as it pertains to City laws, rules, regulation, practices and policies that effect Virginia Key; and

WHEREAS, on March 20, 2017, the City Manager distributed a Memorandum to all Department Directors that all agenda items pertaining to Virginia Key are presented to the Virginia Key Advisory Board before being placed on a City Commission agenda. The Department or Sponsor of the agenda item will be responsible for scheduling and presenting the item to the Virginia Key Advisory Board; and

WHEREAS, a presentation to the Virginia Key Advisory Board has not been scheduled, and therefore the Board has not had an opportunity to evaluate the proposed agreement with the Event Entertainment Group, Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission voted to terminate the agreement with the Large Scale Loud Multi-Day Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park for the following reasons: NOISE, loud enough to shake dishes in neighboring homes and keep residents up at night,  EXTENSIVE SETUP, preparation and teardown closes the park space for 115 days; and

WHEREAS, The 700 acres of Bill Sadowski Critical Wildlife Area, directly north of Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, has been identified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as an important year-round foraging area for shorebirds and wading birds; and

WHEREAS, According to the U.S. Geological Survey Breeding Bird Atlas, sixty bird species breed in Virginia Key Beach Park, Bill Sadowski Critical Wildlife Area and other areas on or around Virginia Key, including three with State Threatened designation (Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron and White-crowned Pigeon) and one with State Species of Special Concern designation (Osprey); and

WHEREAS, Data collected and compiled by Cornell University’s School of Ornithology, 208 bird species have been recorded in and around Virginia Key Beach Park, including one species with Federal Threatened designation (Piping Plover - present in area August-April), nine  with State Threatened designation (Black Skimmer, Wood Stork, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill and White-crowned Pigeon – all present in area year-round, Red Knot - present in area in April and from August-October, and Least Tern - present in area from May-July) and one with State Species of Special Concern designation (Osprey - present in area year-round); and
WHEREAS, research studies have clearly demonstrated the negative impacts to bird breeding success due to excessive noise in the vicinity of nesting areas, including abandonment of these nesting areas; and

NOW, be it therefore resolved that Tropical Audubon Society opposes the proposed City of Miami agreement for an Annual Ultra Music Festival at the Marine Stadium and Virginia Key Beach Site with Event Entertainment Group, Inc.

This resolution violates City Ordinance 13583, the March 20, 2017 City Manager Memorandum to Department Directors, and the Virginia Key 2010 Master Plan.

In addition, the documented excessive loud music associated with the proposed event will negatively impact the birds and wildlife within the adjacent Critical Wildlife Area and throughout the Virginia Key natural areas 

 ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF TROPICAL AUDUBON SOCIETY