State Politics

Crist reviewing bill on growth management

MANATEE — Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday continued to review the final language of a growth management bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, which some are urging the governor to veto.

When Crist was asked about the bill Wednesday during an event, he said that it may have the potential to strengthen the housing market and will be good for jobs and economic development, according to Sterling Ivey, one of the governor’s aides.

The governor “will probably sign the bill, but he continues to review the final language as it has been presented to him for signature,” said Ivey in an e-mail message.

Ivey noted that the bill, Senate Bill 360, was recently passed by the Florida Legislature and sent to the governor May 18. Crist has until June 2 to act on the legislation, he added.

The Miami Herald on its political blog quoted Crist as saying about the bill: “I think it’s going to be OK” after “some bad things came out of it toward the end of the session.”

Bennett was out of town and unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Environmentalists across the state are urging the governor to veto the bill, saying it would promote urban sprawl, cause traffic congestion and contribute to climate change.

They also complained the bill would exempt many outlying areas as well as urban areas from a requirement to have adequate roads and other transportation necessities in place before development could occur.

The legislation is supported by builders and developers, who say it will help their recession-wracked industry to recover and would create good jobs.

Those who voted for the measure also defended it as a streamlining of the review process, and a way to prevent the state from losing badly needed construction projects to other states.