Yesterday Governor Rick Scott signed HB 7207, effectively repealing most provisions of Florida’s Growth Management act created by the 1985 Legislature. Except in rare instances, decisions on land use will now have no check and balance at the state level. Further, the ability of citizens to effectively challenge local government decisions allowing more development will be made much more difficult.
Charles Lee, Audubon’s Director of Advocacy and a 39 year veteran of legislative sessions in Tallahassee commented on Governor Scott’s actions, both during the legislative session, and in his decision to sign the bill.
“Governor Scott ignored the pleas of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Florida citizens and former Governor Bob Graham when he decided to support and approve this bill”, Lee stated.
“But worse, Scott’s actions and decisions leading to the repeal of growth management laws are dishonest, and constitute the utilization of a political tactic known as ‘the big lie’. “
“Governor Scott argued that repeal of Florida’s growth management act was needed because the law was causing the loss of jobs, and repeal was a necessary step toward economic recovery. That is simply not true. That’s the ‘big lie’.
Lee pointed out that between 2007 and 2011 over 2500 comprehensive plan amendments were approved under Florida’s growth management laws that would allow over 1,000,000 new residential dwellings and over 2.7 billion square feet of commercial, office, and industrial space.
“That is enough new houses to allow another 2.4 million people to move to Florida and enough new retail, office and industrial space to create over 6 million new jobs”, Lee stated.
“Governor Scott has pledged to create 700,000 new jobs in Florida”, Lee added, “There is enough new development already approved under Florida’s growth Management act to provide for more than eight times the number of new jobs Governor Scott wants to create.” Lee said. “The growth management act was never standing in the way of new jobs”, Lee pointed out.
“What will be lost due the repeal of growth management laws is the environmental quality, scenic beauty, and attractiveness of our state that appeals to the corporate leaders of ‘Fortune 500’ companies that might want to locate facilities here.”
“In the end”, Lee concluded, “The actions of Governor Scott and misguided legislative leaders will result in fewer good jobs in our state. America’s top corporate leaders don’t want to subject their employees to poor planning, urban sprawl, and a deteriorating quality of life”.
For further information on the results of HB 7207 and related legislation on growth management, go to: http://1000fof.org/reform/7207BillSummaries.asp.