Commentary: Crist's bad call on growth limits

A new growth-management law signed by Gov. Charlie Crist this week broadly redefines "dense urban land areas" as land with less than one home per acre. That's like calling bucolic Parkland the equivalent of packed Hialeah.

The change could allow condominiums and zero lot line townhomes in 245 Florida cities and in the entirety of eight of the state's largest counties – including Broward and Miami-Dade. Worse, the law says that developers don't have to provide adequate infrastructure (think roads) to accommodate this growth.

The governor's reason for signing this invitation to more sprawl is the state's economic downturn. "Hopefully," Mr. Crist told reporters before signing it, "we'll be able to stimulate our economy and not do harm to our beautiful state. That's my desire."

No one would quibble with those wishes, but this bill practically promises that harm will come to Florida's remaining open spaces. It poses such a threat that even some pro-growth commissioners on the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a resolution asking the governor to veto it. One of the bill's biggest flaws is removal of state oversight of a Development of Regional Impact. Until now the Department of Community Affairs has had authority over DRIs, which are just what they imply: developments of such large scope that they impact an entire region.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.