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SB 360 looks like deja vu all over again

SB 360.

Sounds like our latest stealth bomber.

It’s an ominous abbreviation for Senate Bill 360.

The handiwork of our own state senator and selfless public servant Mike Bennett, it just nuked Florida’s growth management policy for the past 25 years.

Another legislative landmark for Florida before the roadgrader paves it over.

There’s Bennett at the wheel.

And who’s riding shotgun but state Reps. Bill Galvano and Ron Reagan, both SB 360 signees.

Crazy.

I can understand the need to reduce the redundancy and red tape that made homebuilding a glacial business endeavor and the urgency to prime the pump for the state’s economy.

But to blow up a major portion of the oversight process, practically giving developers carte blanche?

Any quaint ideas folks had about the Legislature looking out for their constituents’ best interests just went south.

Unless that constituent is a developer.

Or an electrical contractor.

We taxpayers love the part of SB 360 that says we — not developers anymore — will be on the hook for road improvements if their projects add to traffic congestion.

So long concurrency.

Greed, over-building and the collapse of the housing market are how we got into this mess.

Just check these stark statistics:

n More than 300,000 homes lie empty statewide.

n Florida had more than 64,500 foreclosures in May alone.

n Manatee County’s already had 2,694 foreclosures in 2009, and that’s 23percent ahead of 2008.

Yet SB 360 will make it easier for developers to build even more.

Something is drastically wrong with that picture.

Exactly who is going to buy all these new homes?

Florida’s population growth is at a crawl.

According to the U.S. Census, it was a puny 0.7percent last year.

After averaging 230,000 annually the previous three years, Florida’s “in migration” — people coming from other states — plummeted to 35,000 in 2008.

Hey, SB 360 is the cure.

Probably the best thing to help the state in a long time, one developer said.

Be careful what you wish for.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or email him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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