Onus on locals to untangle growth management traffic mess, DCA chief advisesby Dara Kam | June 12th, 2009
Local governments don’t have to scrap their laws requiring developers to pay for roads despite a new law loosening the states growth management oversight, Florida’s top planner said today.
But the state was given that power because cities and counties were too susceptible to pressure from builders, critics of the law contend.
Department of Community Affairs Secretary Tom Pelham held an Internet-based seminar today to answer a slew of questions asked by planners and others since Gov. Charlie Crist signed SB 360 into law.
Pelham, who criticized the bill during the legislative session that ended last month, repeatedly instructed local planners that they do not have to weaken their laws requiring developers to include roads in urban areas just because the state will no longer force them to.
“Nothing here limits a home rule power to adopt ordinances or fees,” Pelham emphasized over and over.
But cities and counties that fit the law’s broad definition of “urban” will have two years to come up with an as-yet-undefined alternative strategy for dealing with transportation congestion.
“It’s going to be up to the local governments to craft a solution that works,” said Bob Diffenderfer, an environmental and land use attorney in West Palm Beach who listened in on the conference.
It remains unclear how’s Pelham’s agency will evaluate the alternative strategies that cities and counties propose. But doing nothing “doesn’t seem like it’s a long-term option,” said Cliff Hertz, who also practices environmental and land use law in West Palm Beach. “But it’s certainly an option for at least the next two years.”