Miami Dade County Community Forum

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

UEL was against SB360 from the start.

This was delivered to the legislature:

A Resolution of the Urban Environment League of Miami-Dade County
April 2, 2009

Whereas, Florida became a leader among states during the 1970s and 1980s in terms of the quality of its growth management legislation; notably with the Growth Management Act of 1985 under the leadership of Governor Bob Graham;

Whereas growth management has become an important tool in combating urban sprawl, inadequately planned growth, impact fees, and environmental oversight by state agencies;

Whereas, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), although inadequately staffed, has provided invaluable oversight of local developments, DRI’s and other growth management mechanisms;

Whereas the Florida Senate has passed SB 360 which can be found online at that will have the effect of decimating numerous existing agencies such as the DCA, and greatly facilitating the permitting process for builders at the local level. Among other problems with the legislation, it recommends that “the Legislature recognizes and finds that reduced state oversight of local comprehensive planning is justified for some local governments in urban areas and for certain types of development ” and that “this state's urban areas require a reduced level of state oversight because of their high degree of urbanization and the planning capabilities and resources of many of their local governments.”

Whereas, building sustainable neighborhoods has become a national priority, including adequate funding for infrastructure, water supply, and preservation of open spaces, urban development boundary lines; and

Whereas Florida, of all places on the planet, must find a way to support innovative development that can turn the tide against climate change;

Whereas, the economy of Florida has historically been devastated by poorly planned expansion of housing tracts and inadequate oversight of concurrency or planning of infrastructure;

Whereas the existing economic downturn has been caused, in significant degree, by the complicity of builders, bankers and others who have sought short term profits at the expense of long term planning;

Whereas there have been legitimate concerns expressed by developers about the length and clarity of the permitting process;

Whereas, the construction and development industry has, for far to long, had a disproportionate impact on the political process through its campaign funding and extensive lobbying and press/advertising networks;

Whereas the public has inadequate understanding of the proposed changes in SB 360 and other similar legislation;

Be it Therefore Resolved that the Urban Environment League

1. Condemns the proposed legislation known as SB 360 and calls for its immediate defeat. We urge the public to write to members of the House urging that the provisions of SB 360 that damage DCA not be incorporated into the House companion Bill, HB 1019, or any other growth management bill;

2. Recommends that a special Florida Reform Commission on Growth Management for Sustainable Development be created by Governor Crist with wide representation from construction, business, environmental, community/neighborhood, and affordable housing groups as well as state and local officials. Said commission will be charged to take a year to hold hearings around the state, take wide public input, do an historical assessment of growth management legislation and make a set of recommendations to the Governor and Legislature about reforms of the system;

3. Recommends that urban areas send representatives of non-profit organizations to a separate statewide conference on Reforming Growth Management to be held in the fall of 2009

4. That public school students -- and the public -- be made aware of the growth management legislation through linked websites.

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