Checks Are Sought, But Florida Continues Growth

<p>Efforts to improve oversight to keep the state's growth in check in Florida are being lauded, but development continues across the state and shows little sign of a slowdown.</p>
December 2, 2007, 7am PST | Nate Berg
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"Balancing the forces for and against growth in Florida is an enormously complex task. While residents list rapid growth among their greatest concerns, and drought reveals the delicate nature of water supplies, the development pressure that transformed Florida from 20th-most-populous state in 1950 to fourth-largest today remains."

"Developers are shrugging off the real-estate slowdown and proposing new cities and towns across 1 million acres. There's a plan to turn 41,000 acres near Yeehaw Junction into the new town of Destiny, with 30,000 to 40,000 homes. The scions of the Ben Hill Griffin citrus and cattle fortune are using their political power - two family members are in the Legislature - to gain private rights to build an unnecessary toll road that would drive development of 200,000 rural acres."

"Where Gov. Bush looked for ways to relieve the state of its watchdog role, Mr. Pelham understands the need for state oversight to keep local politicians from giving developers anything they want. Fed-up residents are circulating the Florida Hometown Democracy petition to require public votes on every change to city and county comprehensive plans. Last year, there were 12,000 changes, which Mr. Pelham agrees is far too many. But planning by popular vote, he argued, is not the solution."

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Published on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 in Palm Beach Post
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