Title: Memo Re; Strengthening the Regional Capacity for Growth Management
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004150/00001
 Material Information
Title: Memo Re; Strengthening the Regional Capacity for Growth Management
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Memo Re; Strengthening the Regional Capacity for Growth Management (JDV Box 43)
General Note: Box 18, Folder 1 ( Water Task Force - 1983 ), Item 26
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004150
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


TO: Representative Ray Liberti, Chair
Select Committee on Growth Management

FROM: John M. DeGrove, Director
Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems

SUBJECT: Strengthening the Regional Capacity for Growth Management


The Environmental Land and Water Management Act (Chapter 380) and

The Water Resources Act (Chapter 373) both involve a very important role

for the regional level in carrying out their purposes. In the case of the

Water Resources Act the Water Management Districts authorized by

Chapter 373 seem to be working very well, although some funding issues

remain to be resolved. The same cannot be said for the regional agencies

that have the lead responsibility for the regional assessments required by

Chapter 380. In his presentation at the first meeting of the ELMS II

Committee, Allan Milledge, Chairman of the first ELMS Committee, said that

his greatest surprise at how Chapter 380 has been implemented was the

" (get the exact quote of what he said about RPCs)." The view that

Regional Planning Councils as presently constituted cannot and will not

serve adequately to protect and assure efficient use of the state's

regional resources is widely shared by observers and practioners alike.

In a decade of close observation and some systematic research into this

issue, I have come to the conclusion that substantial changes need to be

made in order to assure a creditable regional level in Florida's growth

management system. The Governor's Task Force on Resource Management started

this process in 1979-1980, but not all of its recommendations were approved

(e.g. mandatory membership for counties). Furthermore, I have concluded


that while the Task Force recommendations and subsequent action by the legislature

were in the right direction, they did not go nearly far enough in strength-

ening the regional level in Florida's growth management system. To correct

this weak link in the system, I propose the following further changes, all

of which would require legislative action:

1. Mandatory Membership

Membership in Regional Planning Councils should be mandatory

for counties. Cities would be required to participate in the

RPC in which their county was required to be a part.


RPC's need to make important regional resource decisions

that inevitably will seem not in the interest of one county

or another at one time or another. Voluntary membership is

not conducive to rational and comprehensive regional resource

management. The Resource Management Task Force recommendation

for mandatory membership for counties should be adopted by the


2. Composition of Regional Planning Councils

RPC members should all be appointed by the Governor, with

one-third of the members elected officials, and two-thirds

citizen members. The Governor should appoint the Chairman.

Elected members would be appointed from lists presented to the

Governor by the League of Cities and the State Association of

Counties. No Council could have less than 9 or more than 21

members. There should be a mandated degree of overlap between

Regional Planning Council and Water Management District Board



The present system in which at least two-thirds of RPC

membership is made up of elected local officials is subversive

of regional planning and management. Local elected official

input is desirable, but should not be the dominant force on

the Councils. Appointment of the Chair by the Governor would

be a recognition that RPC's have an important role to play in

planning and implementing the regional component of the state's

growth management system,including the protection and efficient

utilization of key regional and state resources. The very large

(up to ) Councils in some areas of the state are unwieldy,

and do not allow an efficient decision making process. There

is no need, indeed it is not desirable, to have direct repre-

sentation by all local governments by elected local officials

on RPCs. The overlapping membership with Water Management

District Boards is a recognition of the close relationship

between land and water management. The recommendation is

related to the boundary changes proposed below.

3. Funding of Regional Planning Councils

The funding system should be mandated by the legislature,

and should include a mandatory local government assessment; state

funding; and authorization for appropriate fees and other charges.

Funding should be sufficient to assure a competent professional

staff able to carry out the wide range of responsibilities that

will be assigned to the new RPCs in a timely and efficient manner.

However, it should be made clear that RPCs should not staff up

in areas that involve a direct duplication with other regional

agencies, e.g. Water Management Districts.


Stable and adequate funding is essential to the effective

functioning of the regional level in the state's growth manage-

ment system. The exact level of funding needed will depend on

the range of functions assigned to the new RPCs, and is related

to the sub-state district recommendation that follows. The

funding and the allocation of responsibility for

that funding to the local, regional or state lbvel requires

further assessment, but it is clear that the present level of

funding is not adequate.

4. Added Functions Assigned to The New RPCs

A number of other functions which involve the regional level

should be "folded in" to the RPCs immediately, and the long'

range goal should be to devise a system in which almost all

regional agencies are either merged into RPCs or are linked closely

to them, e.g. Water Management Districts. MPOs, regional Health

Planning agencies, and regional Criminal Justice agencies are

examples of regional agencies that should be merged with RPCs.

No doubt there are many others who are ripe for a similar merger.

The aim would be to move toward common sub-state district

boundaries for most state functions.


The present bewildering pattern of regional agency boundaries

cannot be justified on any rational grounds. It is wasteful in

a dollar sense, and it does not support the kind of integrated

regional decision making process needed to serve the nation's

fastest growing large State. It is far past the time when the

legislature should grasp this nettle and make the tough decisions

that will assure an effective regional level for Florida's

growth management system.

5. Water Management District/Regional Planning Council Boundaries

Water Management District Boundaries should be conformed to

county boundaries, and all RPCs boundaries should fit within a

Water Management District.


The present practice of drawing WMD boundaries strictly

according to ground or surface water patterns is confusing,

makes close RPC/WMD coordination and communication harder, and

is not necessary to the effective planning and management of

the state's water resources. Conforming the WMD boundaries to

county lines is an important and needed step in linking land

and water planning and management much more closely.

6. Regional Comprehensive Policy Plans

These plans were mandated by the 1980 legislature, but

their preparation has not been funded, and no RPC has a plan

in place that has been reviewed for conformance with state

standards. Approval of the Governor's budget request for funds

to assure that the plans are completed should be supported, but

it is equally important that state standards be developed as the

measure for the adequacy of the regional plans. The need for

such plans, and the state standards against which to review and

approve them, will increase greatly as the responsibilities of

the new RPCs are broadened.

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