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1000 Friends of Florida

Study: Florida could have 33 million residents by 2070

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Florida could grow to more than 33 million residents by 2070, and the percentage of the state that is developed could jump from less than 20 percent to 33 percent, according to a new study presented Wednesday. Florida’s population would expand by 15 million people from 2010 to 2070 if growth trends continue, according to the study conducted by the University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center for the smart-growth advocacy group, 1000 Friends of Florida, and the Florida Department of Agriculture…

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Springs bill in Senate disappoints some environmentalists

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Last year a comprehensive water bill that passed the Senate included a major focus on Florida’s springs and reducing threats from groundwater pollution and over-pumping. Florida’s springs during the past 30 years have turned green with algae because of nitrogen in groundwater from various sources including septic tanks, fertilizer and sewage treatment plants. Fixing the problems cost lots of money, and preventing further pollution requires regulations that are unpopular with rural landowners. The 2014 Senate bill, SB 1576, established springs…

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Growth bill headed to House floor with opposition from cities, counties

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A controversial House growth management bill passed its final committee stop on the way to the House floor on Tuesday. HB 933, which originally combined seven separate House growth management bills, includes provisions eliminating the “development of regional impact” review process for larger developments and requiring a property rights element in local government comprehensive land-use plans. The bill was amended Tuesday to remove a section that would extend a loan program from clean energy and wind resistance to ground subsidence…

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With Senate budget amendments teed up, calls flood senators

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Amendment 1 supporters on Tuesday were flooding senators with calls urging them to support funding for land-buying in advance of Senate floor action on the state budget on Wednesday. In November, 75 percent of voters statewide supported the water and land conservation funding initiative that provides an estimated $741 million in the 2015-16 state budget. The proposed Senate budget provides $2 million for the Florida Forever land-buying program and another $20 million for land acquisition for Kissimmee River restoration. On…

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Add growth management to a busy legislative session

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A 2015 legislative session that already was busy with water bills and Amendment 1 funding just got a huge growth management bill in the House. A House subcommittee on Wednesday passed a sweeping committee substitute for HB 933 despite objections from cities, counties and environmental groups. “We’ve got a lot to consider,” state Rep. Mike La Rosa, a Republican from St. Cloud who is sponsor of the bill, said after public testimony and debate. “I give you my promise we…

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DEO files first challenge to a local government land-use change

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The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has filed what is the first challenge to a local comprehensive plan amendment since sweeping growth management law changes passed in 2011. Legal watchers on both sides of the growth management issue — development and environmental — say the DEO move against the City of Mascotte in Lake County is significant. Business groups and local governments in 2011 supported the growth law changes that sharply reduced state oversight of local development decisions. Environmental groups said…

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