Secretary Billy Buzzett of Florida’s
major growth management agency, The Department of Community Affairs, joined a
panel discussion put on by the Urban Land Institute yesterday in Orlando. In his remarks Buzzett
generally praised the new law called the Community Planning Act, but did say “The
new law is going to allow a lot more flexibility to local government than it
did before so there’s going to be less state mandates which does allow more
tailor made competitions between local governments, so I would expect to see
some of that and I think that’s good not bad.”
The new law eliminates a top level review that the
Department of Community Affairs (DCA) used to conduct to ensure that local
changes to growth plans were aligned with regional and state goals. The coordinating role that DCA played will
now be undertaken solely by individual state agencies under narrow criteria in
conjunction with DCA’s replacement, The Department of Economic
Opportunity. Under the new structure,
for example, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will look at
the impacts of air and water pollution or how wetlands are impacted by a
proposed land use change; the Department of State would look at how state
historic and archeological resources are affected ... but there will be no
over-arching review that considers the big picture of how the proposal would
affect growth patterns in the state.
Secretary Buzzett also noted that there will be changes in Florida concurrency
regulations. These rules required
developers to supply appropriate infrastructure relating to roads, utilities,
and schools when building a project that was expected to stretch current
resources. The new law repeals
concurrency requirements for transportation, schools and parks, but maintains
potable water, solid waste, and sewer regulations.
The question on many planners' minds is how these new regulations will impact
communities of varying sizes and staffs.
for example, isn’t going to feel much change.
The city has been operating under a pilot program that allowed
amendments to comprehensive growth plans to be made without state approval. Orlando City Planner Kevin Tyjeski says the
new law won’t make too much of a difference until 2014 when Orlando will join the recently passed growth
process after its pilot program sunsets. The impact could be bigger though for
communities without as much planning experience.
Secretary Buzzett had inserted language into the draft law that would have allowed
communities to opt for a DCA style review, but that option was removed by
The regulations go into effect on July 1st.