State Politics

Gov. Crist signs Ranch green tech bill

A bill that would allow Schroeder-Manatee Ranch to finance green technology and infrastructure in the massive Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District passed into law Tuesday with the signature of Gov. Charlie Crist.

House Bill 1235 sailed through the Senate and House during the recently completed legislative session. The district covers about 23,000 acres in Manatee and Sarasota counties, most of SMR’s undeveloped property.

The district was established by an act of the Florida Legislature a few years ago. The new law will allow SMR to finance green technology the same way it financed roads and parks, possibly helping to save energy and find new methods for low-impact development.

Lakewood Ranch has embraced sustainability and green building, and has been recognized as a green community, one of the largest in the United States.

Todd Pokrywa, vice president of planning at SMR, previously said, “The ability to fund sustainable and green technologies in the continuing development of the master planned community of Lakewood Ranch highlights the unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship over the last century of the property’s ownership as its uses have evolved.”

Rex Jensen, president and CEO of SMR, previously told the Herald that the bill could possibly allow the company to follow through on existing ideas, like an electric car community with recharging stations along the way. “This doesn’t limit itself to energy,” Jensen said earlier. “It’s the whole panoply, from site design to stormwater, whatever comes under low impact development.”