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Groups Demand Crist Veto Growth Management Bill

Calls are growing for the governor to veto a controversial growth management measure that is designed to channel growth back into urban areas that would be exempt from local road requirements for new developments.

The bill was volleyed back and forth between the two legislative chambers in the session's final days, and was rammed through at the end. But ultimately, not everyone could be pleased.

Builders and developers have largely been in favor of the bill, saying it would spur development in a sluggish economy. But environmentalists and the counties have come out against the bill, saying it would cause infrastructure problems and do nothing to reduce sprawl.

The Florida Association of Counties wrote a letter Friday to Gov. Charlie Crist saying that “transportation concurrency” – the idea that new development have ample roadways to support the development – was a cornerstone for the state's current growth management policies.

FAC President Rodney Long wrote in the letter that altering the present-day transportation concurrency requirements “will lead to Florida's residents and businesses actually suffering in the long run.”

“Communities that have transportation deficiencies, poor access, and excessive commute times are ones that business rarely look to when starting new or expanding existing business,” Long wrote.

The advocacy group 1000 Friends of Florida has also joined the veto call, sending a letter to the governor saying that although the measure has been promoted as an economic stimulus, it fell short and would contribute to more sprawl.

“We believe sprawl is one of the biggest challenges to overcome if we are to successfully address the climate change issues you have brought forward,” wrote group president Charles Pattison. “More sprawl means more congestion on our highways, If we are to successfully address climate change issues that you have brought forward, we cannot afford to exacerbate traffic congestion, which already contributes almost 40 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. “

The governor has been mum on how he feels about the bill, simply saying he looks forward to reviewing the measure when it reaches his desk.

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