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Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

More Urban Sprawl May Result From Bill On Governor's Desk

Urban sprawl
Urban sprawl

A bill now awaiting the governor's signature could spur new development that doesn't fit into existing growth plans. Opponents fear it may lead to more urban sprawl.

The bill would increase by five times the acreage of homes proposed in urban areas that would not be subject to state or regional growth regulations. That number would increase by ten times in rural areas.

It would also mean reduced oversight of how proposed development projects fit in with other nearby developments.

Paul Owens is president of the advocacy group 1,000 Friends of Florida.

"That probably is going to pave the way for a lot more sprawling development that would have those impacts and might otherwise be challenged by a regional or state agency," he said.

Owens says the bill continues efforts by state lawmakers to remove restrictions on development... regulations that protect the environment and our quality of life.

"Nobody wants to live in a state with a water quality crisis or perpetually congested highways or crowded schools, or any of the other kind of consequences that occur when you don't have responsible and systematic planning for growth," Owens said. "And they seem to be doing whatever they can to undermine the requirements in state law that allow for that kind of responsible and systematic planning."

The Community Planning Act increases the maximum acreage of a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment from 10 acres to 50 acres. It also increases the maximum acreage for a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment within a rural area of opportunity from 20 acres to 100 acres.

It was proposed by Republican Sen. Keith Perry of North Florida.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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