1000 Friends of Florida

2011 Legislative Session

During the 2011 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law sweeping legislation that makes significant changes to Florida’s growth management laws. Here is some of the media coverage during the 2011 session.

Charles Pattison op eds on passage of 2011 Community Planning Act:

Exclusive to St. Petersburg Times — To save quality of life, Floridians must act, June 12, 2011

We’re all growth managers now — major papers across the state pick up Charles Pattison’s op ed on the increased importance of citizens in their local planning process — Gainesville Sun, Lakeland Ledger, Miami Herald, Naples Daily News, Pensacola News-Journal, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Tallahassee Democrat

Hear it for yourself:

WMFE News — The women of Florida’s environmental movement, June 15, 2011. Hear 1000 Friends’ Vicki Tschinkel and others talk about the 2011 session

WCTV TV — Growth management agency prepares to close, June 14, 2011

Keynoter — Listen to what Gov. Scott has to say about DCA, the Everglades and more, June 8, 2011

1000 Friends to present Better Community Award to Gadsden County for Citizen Planning Bill of Rights:

Tallahassee Democrat — Congratulations, Gadsden: It’s gotten creative with community planning, June 8, 2011

Gov. Scott Signs Damaging HB 7207

Without fanfare, on Thursday, June 2 Gov. Scott signed into law the damaging HB 7207. Among other things, this sweeping growth management legislation virtually eliminates any meaningful state checks and balances over local government decisions, decimates citizens’ ability to effectively challenge decisions, and opens Florida’s rural lands for sprawling development. We thank the dedicated citizens who made numerous calls to their Legislators and the Governor to try to halt this attack on Florida’s quality of life.

Newspaper coverage:

St. Petersburg Times — An obituary for Florida Growth Management, June 5, 2011

Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Gov. Rick Scott reverses 25 years of growth management policy, June 3, 2011.

Palm Beach Post — Growth management loses muscle, June 3, 2011.

Florida Current — DCA positions being filled even as department appears headed towards elimination, June 3, 2011.

Future Role of Florida’s Regional Planning Councils?

We now understand that when he signed the budget last week, Gov. Scott line-item vetoed $2.5 million of general revenue in state funding for Florida’s Regional Planning Councils.  In return for a portion of this funding, every year the state’s 11 RPCs each enter into contracts with the Department of Community Affairs to provide specified regional planning services.

Effective July 1, the RPCs will no longer receive this funding and will need to determine what services they will provide for their state-mandated functions.  It is important to note that this funding is typically a small portion of each RPC’s annual budget.

While HB 7207 made sweeping changes to many aspects of Florida’s growth management system, it left the statutory functions of the RPCs largely intact.  How or if RPCs will interact with local governments on the review of comprehensive plans, amendments and Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) as required by state law is unknown at this time.

On a related issue, the growth management bill HB 7207 was transmitted to the Governor’s Office last week and he has 15 days to sign it into law.

1000 Friends will continue to provide regular updates on the many changes to Florida’s growth management process brought about by the 2011 Legislature and Governor Scott.  Pleasefollow us on Facebook or Twitter (@floridafriends) for timely updates.

***

Senator Bob Graham and Nathaniel Pryor Reed call on Gov. Scott to VETO HB 7207 and establish bipartisan commission to undertake growth management reform. See their letter to the Governor and joint statement. Call Gov. Scott and tell him to VETO HB 7207 (850-488-4441 or www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/). See the veto
letter
sent by 1000 Friends of Florida and the Florida Wildlife
Federation.

See and hear what Sen. Graham and Nathaniel Reed have to say:

St. Petersburg Times — Look to history, and save Florida’s Everglades, by Bob Graham and Nathaniel Pryor Reed, May 22, 2011.

Miami Herald — Land, water management gains go up in smoke, by Bob Graham (May 21, 2011)

WFSU (includes audio) — Environmentalists push gov to veto controversial land mangement bill (May 19, 2011)

Miami Herald — State dismantles growth management laws (May 22, 2011)

St. Petersburg Times –Powerful interests checkmated Florida’s growth management agency (May 21, 2011)

Treasure Coast — “Watch your back,” Gov. Scott tells Texas; we Floridans need to watch our backyards (May 21, 2011)

Treasure Coast Editorial — Florida lawmakers trash growth control policies to the detriment of natural environment (May 20, 2011)

Palm Beach Post — Environmental groups protect ‘power grab’ by lawmakers to control water mangement districts (May 18, 2011)

Florida Tribune — Critics say growth management bill will harm economy and increase corruption (May 18, 2011)

St. Petersburg Times — Big names add their voices against growth bill (May 18, 2011)

Other media coverage:

Sarasota Herald Tribune — Realtors give session high marks (May 23, 2011)

Orlando Sentinel — Blame the Big Lie for growth management’s death (May 22, 2011)

Florida Environments — Florida growth agency “boogeyman” disappearing without debate (May 22, 2011)

Post On Politics — Scott puts TX guv Perry on notice (May 19, 2011)

Florida Tribune — Some DCA employees receive their pink slips as part of department breakup (May 18, 2011)

Here is another veto
letter to the Governor
regarding bills SB 2142, limiting the
ad valorem tax collection by our five water management districts;
CS/CS/HB 421 which is a retroactive allowance for damaging wetlands
and surface water flows in the name of agriculture; and CS/CS/CS/HB
993 which changed the burden of proof on citizen challenges to environmental
permits, making the individual citizen, and not the corporate applicant,
responsible for documenting pollution impacts. (May 13, 2011)

Here is 1000 Friends’ technical summary of the major provisions of the Community Planning Act, adopted through HB 7207.

***

We
thank everyone who called, emailed and wrote key legislators, submitted
op eds and letters of support to local papers, and otherwise showed
their strong support for growth management throughout the 2011 session.
Despite this overwhelming public support, late Friday night the Legislature
passed sweeping growth management legislation that was ultimately
incorporated in the budget. Among other things, under the
final adopted bill, HB 7207,
most communities will use the expedited
Alternative State Review process and have no limits on the number
of amendments that can be submitted over the course of the year. The
bill also eliminates Rule 9J-5, needs and financial feasibility requirements,
supermajority votes, and removes the ability of communities to hold
referenda on comprehensive planning issues. The legislature also passed
SB 2156 which
among other things replaces the Department of Community Affairs with
the Division of Community Development within the Department of Economic
Opportunity. The budget lists 61 positions within the Division, but
not all will be dealing with growth management. We have attached a
preliminary
outline of the bill
and a slightly more
detailed summary of adopted HB7207
. Again, thank you
for all of your support.

Here
are some of the most damaging provisions of HB 7207:

  • HB
    7207 significantly speeds up the review process for local comprehensive
    plans.  While growth management advocates supported the concept
    as described in SB 1122, that bill included a trade-off that gave
    citizens a reasonable chance to succeed in legal challenges.
    This standard did not survive in HB 7207, which also removes the
    ability of the new Division of Community Development (“DCD”)
    to intervene in these challenges, even when key state resources
    are at stake. 
  • By
    eliminating Rule 9J-5, HB 7207 removes a quarter century of legal
    decisions supporting the rights of communities to address sprawl,
    urban service boundaries, and other key planning issues.  The
    elimination of Rule 9J-5 also eradicates numerous rulings upholding
    the rights of citizens to participate meaningfully in their local
    planning process. 
  • The
    new legislation also makes it more difficult for citizens to keep
    up with changes to their local plans.  Under previous law,
    plan amendments were limited to twice a year.  Now the local
    plans can be amended at any time, the new DCD is not required
    to comment on the amendments, and the amendments go into effect
    31 days later unless challenged.
  • HB
    7207 significantly reduces the home rule ability of local governments.
    It removes their right to require referenda on key planning issues.
  • In
    a state where one in five homes is vacant, HB 7207 removes requirements
    that developers show the need for new development or that the
    new development is financially feasible.  In an era of rising
    gas prices, it removes requirements that new development be energy
    efficient.
  • HB
    7207 also makes it easier for large-scale development to be approved
    without careful scrutiny.  The new process allows for but
    does not require DCD review or comments for Sector Plans, Rural
    Land Stewardship Areas, Areas of Critical State Concern, EAR-based
    amendments, or plans for new communities.  If DCD does choose
    to review these plans, it has only 45 days to comment, no matter
    the size of the development or community in question. 
  • The
    legislation also makes substantive changes to a number of these
    programs.  For example, it gives a four-year extension for
    DRIs, and exempts mining, industrial, hotel/motel and movie theater
    categories.  It also no longer requires DCD approval to establish
    a Rural Land Stewardship Area.

***

2011
Media Coverage on Growth Management

May–Legislature
passes draconian changes to growth management:

Time.com
— Florida Loses Its Mind. Again, May 9,
2011

St.
Augustine Record
— Growth bill set to become
law, May 8, 2011

South
Florida Sun-Sentinel
— New growth rules
could have big impact in South Florida, May 8, 2011.

Florida
Tribune
— Florida’s growth management laws
overhauled, May 6, 2011

Miami
Herald
— Passage of growth management bill
angers environmentalists, May 6, 2011Sarasota
Herald-Tribune
— Growth rules rollback goes
to Scott, May 6, 2011

April/May–Friends
of growth management speak out:

South
Florida Sun-Sentinel
— Florida Legislature might gut decades of growth rules:  If
you think sprawl is bad now, wait

Lake
Wales News
— Dismantling DCA a step backward,
May 4, 2011

Miami
Herald
— Keys look for effect of gutted
growth laws, May 4, 2011

St.
Petersburg Times
— Devious ploy to gut Florida’s
growth laws, May 3, 2011

Key
West Citizen
— Urge state senators to reject
bill gutting Florida’s growth regulations, George Halloran, April
27, 2011 |

St.
Petersburg Times
— Don’t let Florida revert
to abuse of past, Nathaniel Pryor Reed, April 29, 2011


St. Petersburg Times
— Legislature poised to repeal much of Florida’s
growth law, by Howard Troxler, April 28, 2011

Ocala
Star Banner
— Adding to the glut, by Susan
Woods, April 24, 2011

Orlando
Sentinel
— Nature didn’t burst bubble, by
Bill Belleville, April 24, 2011

Palm
Beach Post
— Reject move to let development
run roughshod over Florida, by Gregory Barnhart, April 24, 2011.

Miami
Herald
— Proposed land use law would be
huge mistake, by Richard Grosso, April 27, 2011

Lakeland
Ledger
— Too much growth could ruin state,
by Rick Dantzler, April 26, 2011

Naples
Daily News
— SB 1122 and HB 7129 are damaging
to Florida’s pocketbook, environment and quality of life, by Andrew
McElwaine, April 26, 2011

Tallahasse
Democrat
(must have subscription to access
Editorial), April 24, 2011

April
21–The House passes the very damaging HB 7129:

Naples
Daily News
Florida House votes to drastically cut back
state oversight of local land use plans

Palm
Beach Post
House agrees to lift most growth management
laws

Orlando Sentinel House gives OK to expansive growth management
changes

April
6–Florida’s growth management is on life support:

Find
out what Florida’s planning and conservation leaders are saying.

Miami
Herald
Despite foreclosures, lawmakers push for more
development

St.
Petersburg Times
Conservation groups say Florida lawmakers
going too far “streamlining” growth management laws

Florida
Tribune
–  Environmental groups say Bennett is
wrong about their support for his bills.

Sarasota
Herald-Tribune
Environmental groups form united front
against “draconian” reforms

February–Op
eds on the need for growth management run in major papers:


Miami Herald
, Palm
Beach Post
, Gainesville
Sun
, Ocala
Star-Banner
, Lakeland
Ledger
, Naples
News
— Why Florida needs growth management:

Tampa
Tribune
— Citizens will pay if growth management goes away:

Orlando
Sentinel
— Florida needs leaders to manage its growth:

January
— Leading planning and conservation groups issue
recommendations for growth management reform.

Find
reports here.

Sarasota
Herald-Tribune
Caution urged on Scott’s plan to combine
agencies

Daytona Beach News JournalConservation groups release
growth suggestions

Miami
Herald
Environmental groups talk DOT, DEP, DCA merger

Palm Beach Post Economy tied to environment, conservationists
tell governor in land-use recommendations

St. Petersburg TimesEnvironmental, growth-management groups
weigh in on possible DCA, DEP, DOT merger

Florida
Environments
Groups back off merger criticism in growth
recommendations

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