DCA secretary critical of some of Century Commission proposals

01/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Florida’s Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs Thomas Pelham today questioned some recommendations recently made by the Century Commission for Sustainable Florida today.

The Century Commission is tasked with envisioning the state’s future 25 and 50 years from now, by making recommendations to the governor and the Legislature on how they should address the impact of population growth.

Speaking for the first time to the Commission, Secretary Pelham reviewed some of the report’s recommendations and said the state is working on many of the items regarding building codes and renewable energy standards that the Commission is calling for.

Specifically, Pelham referenced the recommendation that the state should amend Growth Management Laws to ensure sustainable Florida within the next generation.

He said sustainability is an often-used term, but said that there’s lots of opinions about what the concept really means.

Pelham took exception to the proposal that local comprehensive plans should be amended to go beyond 20 year horizons. He said there were several reasons why that’s not a good idea. Pelham said it wouldn’t be beneficial to impose to local governments another set of planning mandates before the state really knows where it wants to go in the future.

When Commission Chair Rick Baker asked if anybody took exception to any of the comments made by Secretary Pelham, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, a member of the Commision said he actually did, but was reluctant to discuss those differences in public.

Commission member Jim Paulmann is a senior vice president with WilsonMiller. He disagreed with Pelham’s criticism of extending comprehensive plans longer than 20 years in the future.

Among the other recommendations in the Commission’s third annual report is extending legislative term limits from 8 to 12 years. To see the report recommendations, visit CenturyCommission.org.

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