Property Rights, Entrepreneurship and Transaction Costs
Edited by David Emanuel Andersson and Stefano Moroni
Chapter 11: The rise and fall of growth management in Florida
In 1985 the Florida legislature passed major statewide growth management legislation, the Growth Management Act of 1985, which required all local governments to have comprehensive plans that met state guidelines, and that were subject to approval at the state level. Essentially, land-use planning was centralized at the state level. While the actual land-use plans were drawn up at the local level, they had to conform to state guidelines, and were reviewed and approved – or in many cases, disapproved – by Florida’s Department of Community Affairs. The Department of Community Affairs did a substantial amount of interpretation on the guidelines in the 1985 act, and made it clear to local governments that if certain criteria were not met, their plans would not be approved. This was central planning of land-use policy, in much the same way that the former Soviet Union engaged in central economic planning. That parallel will be discussed in greater detail below. As is the case with many instances of centralized planning, the results of the planning process did not always go as the designers of the plans had hoped, and there were unintended consequences that became apparent to both the act’s supporters and its detractors. As the decades passed, changes were made to the planning process, but centralized state control remained. Then, in 2011, newly elected Florida Governor Rick Scott, with a sympathetic legislature, eliminated statewide land-use planning and abolished the Department of Community Affairs that oversaw it.
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