Sunday, April 19, 2020

Double down on requests for Governor DeSantis to VETO SB 410!

Late last week, Sierra Club Florida lobbyist, Dave Cullen, received a call from a staff member of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget to discuss SB 410 Growth Management. The staff member noted that the Governor has not yet received the bill and it is unknown when he will, however the Governor wants to hear from both sides.

To date, Sierra Club Florida has requested the Governor veto this bill by delivering our letter, sponsoring and delivering a multiple organization sign on letter, and issuing an advocacy alert to members and supporters. We thank all of you who have heeded this call to action. But now is not the time to let up- we need to make sure he hears from us! 

Please call Governor DeSantis at 850-488-7146 and urge him to veto SB 410. If you can’t get through, please send him an email and, if you can safely, a hard copy by regular mail. He could be sent the bill at any time and could sign it when he gets it.

Email the Governor at governorron.desantis@eog.myflorida.com and be sure to include in the subject line: “Please veto SB 410”

To mail your letter:
Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Our original alert can be found here

For those wishing a more detailed analysis, please see below.  Thank you for all you do for Florida's environment!

Deborah

 Why SB 410 should be vetoed:
  • In section 1 of the bill, SB 410 expands the number of city comprehensive plans that must defer to preexisting development orders by changing the threshold from adoption of the plan January 1, 2019 to plans effective by that date. Since effective dates necessarily come after adoption to allow the state land planning agency to issue notice or for a challenge to the plan to be resolved, this language now includes plans that were adopted in 2018 instead of only those adopted in 2019 or later. The bill retrospectively deprives all these municipalities and their residents of the ability to self-govern in favor of speculative development. Developers are already protected by the Bert Harris Act and can sue if a comprehensive plan “inordinately burdens” their property rights. 
  • Section 1 of the bill also will gut county-wide land use protections inside city limits in sixty of the state's sixty-seven counties unless and until the municipalities adopt their own matching regulations. Land use affects all residents and choices by cities having downstream effects on unincorporated areas must not be imposed on residents outside of city boundaries. For example, Alachua County's Low Impact Development regulations would no longer apply in the county's cities and towns unless each adopted their own regulations.
  • In Section 7 of the bill, SB 410 provides that if a local government fails to meet a 14-day deadline on utility permit applications, the permit is automatically granted. This penalty is excessive and unjust. If an activity requires a permit, it should never be granted just because of a paperwork delay. Fourteen days may not be a realistic timeframe to determine whether a complex permit application for a major project is complete: one or more site visits may be required and assertions must be double-checked. Also, there are other ways to incentivize timely processing of applications without imposing a bad project on an entire community because it takes more than ten working days to process an application. Solutions might include reducing the permit fee by a certain amount for each week past a (reasonable) deadline or granting the applicant more time for subsequent relevant filings. 
  • There is an opportunity cost to allowing the development of land. Ecosystem services Floridians depend on for clean air and water and for the mainstays of our tourism heavy economy are lost to the state when land is poorly used. Growth management is needed to balance the desire of business to maximize profit with the value of natural resources to the community as a whole and with the rights of other residents. The past ten years have seen most growth management law overturned.  Vetoing this bill will help preserve the little that is left.