Tom Pelham, the last secretary of the now-abolished Florida Department of Community Affairs, dies at age 79
The man who twice served as the State of Florida's top growth manager has died. Tom Pelham headed up the Department of Community Affairs twice before the Legislature abolished it in 2011.
Pelham became the Department's Secretary just 2 years after the Legislature created the agency in 1985 to oversee regional and risky location developments. And right after his appointment by Governor Bob Martinez, he recalled a visit from a group of statewide developers. In an interview with WFSU last year, he said they wanted the green light to build big retail centers around every Turnipike and interstate highway interchange in the state.
"We simply said the planning for that needs to take place first. We need to know how we're going to pay for all those development rights. They didn't like that response. They wanted to go gung-ho and sure enough, here they come during my first term with proposed legislation."
Legislation that would ultimately do away with the Department - and Pelham's job - in 2011 during his second term. Tom Pelham then stayed in Tallahassee and privately practiced environmental mediation in regards development project. He passed away Wednesday, 2/22 at the age of 79.