Crist urged to veto new growth management law

05/06/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Today Hillsborough County Commissioners voted to send a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist, asking that he veto a new Growth Management Bill that critics say would no longer require developers to add road capacity in nearly half the state’s municipalities, as well as several entire counties. They will instead pay a fee, which the state has yet to decide how to calculate.

Current law requires developers to add roads to accommodate the extra traffic that their developments will generate.

Commissioner Mark Sharpe called for a letter to be sent to the governor.

The legislation was pushed in the Florida Senate by Bradenton Republican Mike Bennett.

Several members of the public spoke out against the Bennett sponsored bill before the Commission engaged in a discussion late in the afternoon. George Nieman called it an abombination.

Pam Clouston echoed several critics of the Commission by asking why weren’t the county’s Tallahassee lobbyists working to defeat the Bennett bill?

Denise Layne is with the Coalition for Responsible Growth. She said the original intentions of the concurrency legislation had true merit, but then she said the legislation went awry.

Not all members of the public were against the bill. Developer Don Phillips said the idea of concurrency doesn’t help out the environment at all.

The Florida Association of Counties has come out against the bill, as did Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham last week.

But Commissioner Jim Norman told Commissioner Sharpe that if the Board were to send a letter, specifics should be listed.

Norman said he wanted a lawyer to be able to vet the legislation before a letter was sent to the governor, but County Attorney Renee Lee said she wasn’t prepared just now to discuss it.

Edith Stewart is the Board’s Public Affairs Officer. She became the target of Commissioners unhappy about how SB 360 was passed without their knowledge.

The Board then voted unanimously to have County Administrator Pat Bean write a letter to the governor urging him to veto SB 360.

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SB 360 does nothing to guarentee that developers will not sprawl, it only makes it cheaper for them to destroy our inner cities by not providing transportation infrastructure. In filling is good, if they have the infrastructure to handle the population and, if land outside the city is set aside to NOT be developed. Otherwise, we are just granting more and more density without benefit.