Planning Ourselves into a Corner

by 17 Sep 2012

Don’t let government entities decide your community growth

(TheNicheReport) -- Back in the 1970’s, Florida was experiencing an explosion of growth, and the Legislature developed the Comprehensive Plan Act for communities to devise a plan for that growth.  Without much bite to the Act, many communities throughout Florida allowed uncontrolled platted areas for future development, which grew wildly by developers and profit seekers without any future plans for services other than selling lots for a growing Florida.  Many of those platted developments sit idle today, with once-paved streets now overgrown with scrub, crumbled pavement, and the lost dreams of many, planning on a retirement to the sunshine state, holding deeds to worthless pieces of property.

In 2005, Legislation brought significant changes for local governments in Florida to adopt a Comprehensive Plan which would include an Urban Service Boundary, school and transportation concurrency, and allow local government to adopt a “Proportionate Fair Share Mitigation Ordinance.”  Tie that in with local Unified Land Development Codes, International Building Code and Codes Enforcement, and there is now a question; have local governments out-planned and over-regulated themselves?  Have local governments developed such stringent plans and restrictions that they now, in effect, curtail future growth and the joy of owning or developing property within your community? 

It is stated in Florida Legislature that the public is to be involved in the development of their local Comprehensive Plan. However, it only takes a few moments to notice the language of our local Comprehensive Plan was not developed by the citizens of our community, but by a Government Entity. 

Many will agree we need to plan for the future of our environment – water safety, safe modes of travel, control of sprawl and allowance for open spaces.  But when ordinances become so restrictive they impede the cost to develop and remove the joy of owning property, we have gone too far.  

Have you ever been involved with the planning of your community?  Where would you go or how would you get involved with the planning of your community?  I recommend you take the time to read your community’s Comprehensive Plan and go to your County web site, find out when the Planning Board meets, get to know the people on the different Boards, and start getting involved.  If you are in the Construction or Real Estate industries, you owe it to your customers and the future of your community to become involved.  Don’t sit idly by and allow a government entity to create rules for our industry that will restrict our future generation’s opportunity for affordable home ownership.

Terry Martin-Back is a Broker Associate and Co-owner with his wife Debra of Exit Realty Producers of Gainesville Florida. He is a Certified General Contractor, 20-year military veteran and combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He was appointed to the Alachua County Codes Enforcement Board and the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board by the Alachua County Commission. Terry was a Congressional Candidate for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District during the 2010 election.


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