The Fruits of Growth Management in the Sunshine State: An Examination of Urban Form in Orange County, Florida

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The state of Florida is nationally recognized as a leader in urban growth management. In 1972, Florida’s legislature passed a host of statutes aimed at addressing the increasingly apparent strains on the natural environment caused by then uncontrolled development. The Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act of 1972 was based on the American Law Institute Model Land Development Code, and created a new regulatory process for “developments of regional impact” (DRIs) in those jurisdictions with local land use controls (FLA. STAT. §§ 380.06, 380.012 et seq.). It also provided for designation of environmentally sensitive “areas of critical state concern,” which entailed stringent state oversight of development (FLA. STAT. § 380.05). Other legislation passed that year include the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, which created regional water management districts, and the Land Conservation Act of 1972, which authorized the Governor and Cabinet to buy environmentally endangered lands and land for outdoor recreational use (FLA. STAT. §§ 373.013 et seq., 259.01 et seq.). Specifically related to land use planning, the Florida State Comprehensive Planning Act of 1972 required the Governor to prepare a State Comprehensive Plan, which would articulate goals and policies to guide Florida’s future growth following enactment by the legislature (FLA. STAT. § 186.001 et seq.)