Volume 1 Number 11
March 15, 2004









 





THE FLORIDA KEYS AREA OF CRITICAL STATE CONCERN - AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH  

The Governor and Cabinet, acting as the Administration Commission, signaled a new direction in approaching responsible growth management at the March 9th Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee. 

While maintaining the critical state concern designation established in 1986, CFO Tom Gallagher, Agricultural Commissioner Charlie Bronson, Attorney General Charlie Crist, and Governor Bush unanimously agreed to consider a partnership approach in resolving the outstanding land acquisition, affordable housing, and wastewater concerns that dominate the Florida Keys. 

This partnership will encompass a focused approach to land acquisition, similar to the success achieved in acquiring land for Everglades restoration.  The Governor and Cabinet authorized offering up to 125 percent of the 1986 appraised value to acquire environmentally-sensitive land to relieve development pressures in the Keys.  They also approved the use of rate of growth ordinance (ROGO) credits unused in previous years to accelerate affordable housing developments. 

In addition, the commitments established for addressing wastewater concerns in Florida Keys are unprecedented.  In total, contributions from the State of Florida matched with the contributions of Monroe County, the Village of Islamorada, and the City of Marathon will approach approximately $300 million. 

The March 9th decision initiates the rulemaking process, which will elicit public input prior to the development of a draft proposed rule.  The development of the draft rule will be followed by additional public hearings prior to the adoption of the final rule outlining specific steps to accomplish compliance with the Area of Critical Concern designation.