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Legislator: Cut Red Tape For Developers

Florida Senate

The state could grow an even faster under a bill filed by a Southwest Florida lawmaker. Legislation by a Senate Republican would allow developers to cut through government red tape.

A bill by Senator Wilton Simpson of Brooksville would allow more builders to expedite their projects by avoiding a government approval process called developments of regional impact, or DRIs. It would boost economic development, but environmentalists like 1,000 Friends of Florida’s Charles Pattison have big concerns.

“We have taken the position that the DRI process ought to stay in place as it currently is envisioned, that if there were to be any changes, there ought to be kind of a comprehensive list of issues that you would want to take into consideration if the DRI process was no longer there.”

Developers would still have to get building permits, but Pattison is worried that there would be less oversight by local government or fewer opportunities for neighbors to object.

Developers argue that the DRI process pushes development away from cities and increases urban sprawl.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.