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Growth Management Feud

June 1st, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Local government officials and environmentalists, who seldom see eye to eye, are teaming up against changes to the states growth management laws. On the other side are builders and developers who say they would like to see some growth to manage. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the fight puts Governor Charlie Crist in the middle of the feud. He has until Tuesday to sign or veto the change.

The legislation says developers will no longer need to consider the impact of their projects on local roads. Environmentalists and local governments opposed the change, arguing travel times will just get longer and longer.

Overtime, your quality of life simply starts to degrade, Eric Poole with the Florida Association of Counties said. It takes you longer to get to work, it takes you longer to get to school.

Initially, cities and counties liked the legislation. Until it exempted more and more cities Environmentalists say the change is unthinkable.

Youre talking about exempting 245 cities in 8 of the biggest counties in the state from growth management controls that we dont think are appropriate, Charles Pattison with 1000 Friends of Florida said.

Gone too are the rights of a city or county to object to a development over there that will have impact over here.

The bill does call for two studies on public transportation and sets the stage for local governments to impose mass transit fees on developers. Florida Homebuilders see the legislation as a way out of the recession.

The current system has really led to sprawl, David Hart with the Florida Homebuilders Association said. Because you couldnt meet concurrency requirements in the urban areas, it forced development to the urban fringe.

But with the change…

Youll be able to get approved to build back in those urban centers where the infrastructure exists, Hart said.

Even the states growth management agency says the change is the most significant growth management bill to be passed since requirements for growth were enacted in 1985.

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