Workshop on growth management bill
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08/25/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

This morning at the Quorum Hotel in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council organized a workshop to discuss the Senate Bill 360, which deals with changes in the state’s growth management laws.

The bill has been the subject of many lawsuits and speculations since its passing. Panelists spoke about their positions and thoughts on the bill. Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs Tom Pelham says that it’s important to look at what is said in the bill, rather than get caught up in the controversy surrounding it.

The bill deals with new state standards on growth and development. However, speakers emphasized that this bill does not mean that local governments can’t propose their own set of standards on transportation concurrency. Secretary Pelham pointed out the power that local governments have.

Janet Bowman is the legislative policy director for the Nature Conservancy. She spoke to the Conservancy’s interests in the bill. She worried that the guidelines placed for Dense Urban Land Areas, or DULA’s were too broad.

Louis Rotundo of Rotundo and Associates noted that the new legislation is not original, but in fact is built upon a previous bill from 2005.

Although the bill does not specifically require mobility fees, it does say that mobility fee studies must be conducted and reported by December 1. Many panelists mentioned these fees and Janet Bowman saw the possible problems and shortcomings with these mobility fees.

Land Use attorney Ron Weaver of Stearns Weaver expressed his worries about the wording in many parts of the bill and that action may be taken in some cases. He also said that there are many ways to determine these mobility fees.

The idea for a glitch bill was addressed, in order to clarify or clear up any issues with the Senate Bill 360. Despite the difficulties, Secretary Pelham has optimism for helping the bill succeed.

To read the Department of Community Affairs’ statement about the bill, visit their website at www.dca.state.fl.us.

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