House members critical of DCA Secretary

04/29/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Despite criticism from the state’s top planning official, the Florida House this morning went ahead to pass a controversial growth management law today.

Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham said yesterday that House amendments to a Senate-passed bill (SB 360) he once supported would undermine growth management laws.

That led Key West Democrat Ron Saunders to tell the bill’s sponsor in the house, Daytona Beach Shores Republican Dorothy Hukill, that the body should respect the secretary’s words.

Pelham said the amended bill would open major rural areas to unchecked development, eliminate requirements for adequate roads and other transportation facilities and exempt large projects from planning reviews in many parts of the state.

Democrat Darren Soto from Kissimmee agreed, saying the bill simply goes too far.

But several Republicans said they had no use for DCA Secretary Pelham’s opinion, which was issued in the form of a press release on Tuesday.

Lake Mary GOP Representive Chris Dorworth was unimpressed by Pelham’s opinion. And Dorworth echoed the viewpoint of many Republicans in the Legislature and the business community, in saying that Florida’s growth management laws stifle development, and need to be corrected.

The House voted 76-41, along party lines, for its version of SB 360, the amended growth management bill and sent it back to the Senate.

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