Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunset for "Critical Concern"?

Smathers Beach circa 2020?
They say that the State of Florida designated Monroe County an "area of critical concern" back when then Governor Bob Graham (a land developer himself) saw a drag line from the air, dredging up baybottom to make building lots, and causing a plume of silt which went all the way out to the reef.
Add a few local governmental irregularities, and it became obvious that the Keys, a state and national treasure, was likely to go the way of Miami Beach. It was decided that the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) would have to review every new construction building permit in the county, as well as every change in the Land Development Regulations.
That oversight has lessened over the years, and it's been noted that some of the bureaucrats in that department have been overzealous at some times, and not zealous enough at other times. Of course, that's human nature, and the nature of bureaucracy itself. It's not perfect, but it has worked for a long time.
It's no secret that some, in fact a considerable number, of our local political types have been sending up trial balloons to the effect that we're all mature adults here, and it's time for Tallahassee to stop treating us like delinquent stepchildren. If you just moved here, you might even think that it was a good idea to get rid of another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy.
But if you look at the recent history of our County and the cities within it, you might just feel that a few extra safeguards might be a good idea. It just might be beneficial if an ostensibly neutral party vetted both land development regulations and major developments, just to see that they were compatible with the county's Comprehensive Plan. And compatible with the notion of concurrency: whether we'll have enough middle class housing, enough water, enough police and fire and emergency protection, to name a few items. And also to make sure we'll have tolerable traffic patterns, the possibility of safe and speedy hurricane evacuation, and the protection of our local water quality, to name a few more.
Right now it looks like dumping Critical Concern may take a while. But it's coming. It may be too soon to flood the governor with letters, and e-mails, but if you are a "regular person" who has no stake in seeing the Keys trashed, it might be a good idea to get your thoughts ready. It's coming.


Anonymous said...

South Beach is one of the biggest attractions in Florida, what's wrong with that?

jeff w said...

Now we see DCA is closing only office they had in Keys. Some are rejoicing, two fewer bureaucrats. Newspapers says they say it won't make any difference. Maybe they know something we don't. Hoo boy, here we go....