Big Possibilities, Big Dangers

A new growth management law in Florida is both good news and bad news, says Jane Healy of the Orlando Sentinel.
June 9, 2009, 8am PDT | Liyuan Huang
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"Florida's controversial new law to manage growth offers both the good and the bad - plus a chance for local elected officials to come to the rescue by taking things into their own hands.

The good: The new law, signed last week by Gov. Charlie Crist, actually has the right intentions. For the first time ever, developers will have economic and bureaucratic incentives to build in the urban areas and stay away from the rural ones. It has been far more expensive to build in urban areas because land costs more and, as a result, so do the roads that developers must provide.

The bad: If you thought the Florida Legislature couldn't leave well enough alone when it comes to managing growth, you're right once again. The law allows way too much land to be considered "urban." An area has to have a population of only 1,000 people per square mile to qualify for the benefits of the law. And those benefits are huge. They allow building to proceed even if the roads aren't in place to accommodate it. But an area that is truly urban has far more than 1,000 people per square mile; it has at least 7,000 people per square mile."

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Published on Sunday, June 7, 2009 in Orlando Sentinel
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