RIP Florida Growth Management


About the OSOBs

OSOB Inc. Purpose


Original Save Our Beach, Inc.
A Not-For-Profit Corporation
1442 SE 6th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

"Never believe that a small group of people can't change the world…
         indeed, they are the only ones who do." -
Margaret Meade

Because the Original Save Our Beach group want to preserve the remaining beauty and tranquility of our beach - it is our inheritance from the past and something to pass on to future generations - some of the members formed a non-profit corporation called Original Save Our Beach, Incorporated. This group is running this site. This group , as the OSOB Inc. will not campaign or support ballot issues, the PAC group will still be active for those purposes.










Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

                        Cree Indian saying

...listen closely....I think I hear a bugle playing "Taps"

June 3, 2011

An obituary for Florida Growth Management By Times Wire

Growth management, an imperfect but noble effort to protect Florida from selfishness and greed, died Thursday (June 2, 2011). The cause of death was legislation passed by a Legislature lacking perspective and signed into law by Rick Scott, a new governor ignorant of the state's history and indifferent about its future. . Growth Management was 26 years old. The agency that oversaw it, the now-vanquished Department of Community Affairs, is survived by a handful of relatives not up to carrying on the mission: water management districts decimated by spending cuts; regional planning councils and similar agencies with little authority; and county commissions with neither the will nor the vision to stand up to developers.

Born in 1985, Growth Management was supported in its youth by governors and legislators from both political parties who looked beyond the next election and were determined to keep Florida from strangling itself. The state had been growing wildly for decades, with local governments unwilling to say no to sprawling subdivisions, strip shopping centers and other commercial developments of all shapes and sizes. Huge chunks of undeveloped land disappeared almost overnight, traffic jams became routine, and overcrowded schools became suburban fixtures. Floridians feared their slice of paradise was being lost.

Growth Management was an ambitious attempt to bring some sanity to the mad rush to pave over Florida. It required cities and counties to plan for growth, determine where and how much development would be permitted, and forecast how roads, utilities and other services would be paid for to accommodate it all. Most important, the 1985 law gave the state the authority to approve or reject those plans.

And under a concept called concurrency, developers eventually were forced to help pay for new roads, schools and parks to accommodate the growth their projects generated. In the late '80s and early '90s, Growth Management was a given. The question was how to pay for it. Florida never resolved that question, and now the state has given up on the very idea of managing growth.

A proud legacy

Before its demise, Growth Management claimed many successes. Taxpayers did not get stuck with the entire bill for public expenses created by private development. Communities planned better. Many developments moved forward after being redesigned, such as the West­shore area in Tampa. The state appropriately overruled counties that embraced such shortsighted schemes as allowing development closer to the Everglades in Miami-Dade County, dredging a state aquatic preserve to accommodate a marina and hotel in Taylor County, and building hundreds of condos on a mobile home park site on a barrier island in Palm Beach County.

Yet the empty shopping centers, backlog of housing and clogged roads are clear evidence that Growth Management did not choke off development. In fact, over the last four years the Department of Community Affairs approved changes to county plans to allow for more than 1 million new residential units and 2.7 billion square feet of commercial development.

With the economic recession and the collapse of the housing market, much of that capacity has yet to be built. Growth Management had powerful enemies: developers who did not want to pay their fair share; legislators who railed against government regulation; local officials who were too cozy with builders and land-use lawyers.

Tom Pelham, who served as secretary of the Department of Community Affairs under two Republican governors and deserves a medal for his commitment to saving Florida, was all but hung in effigy. In the final years, Pelham was the first to acknowledge regulations could be overhauled to more fairly assess road costs and better steer development to urban areas.

Rather than fix Growth Management, opponents seized on the economic recession as an opportunity to kill it.

The painful end

Growth Management had been on life support for months as legislators, developers and business groups shamefully repackaged a visionary effort to save Florida into a demon to be slain. Gov. Charlie Crist signaled the beginning of the end in 2009 when he signed the precursor to this year's death sentence.

Scott demonized Growth Management as he campaigned for governor last year, and he joined state lawmakers this year in claiming less regulation will create more jobs. They said virtually nothing about creating a quality of life - clean water, clear roads, good schools, nice parks - needed to attract and keep businesses and workers.

A last-ditch plea for a reprieve by former Democratic Gov. Bob Graham, who signed the 1985 legislation into law, and Republican environmentalist Nat Reed failed to sway Scott.

Now the state has given up virtually all of its oversight of development and its authority to require developers to help pay for roads, schools and parks. Local governments can pretty much do as they please. Florida has turned the clock back three decades. Growth Management died quietly. There were no bill-signing ceremonies or front-page headlines to mark its passing. But for Floridians who care about the future of their state, the loss is devastating.


What We Are!

The majority of people in Deerfield know that the OSOBers are not against development; in fact we are for development that stays within the land use codes and zoning regulations.    We fought hard for the prior building codes to be reinstated after a former commission eliminated them.
The codes are what keep Deerfield Beach the city the residents want to have.  75% of the voters agreed with reinstating the codes and putting the height limits into the City Charter. 
If a person has a hardship, and cannot utilize his/her property because of that hardship, a variance can often be granted.  However an owner of a property cannot claim a variance because they want to build taller and fatter than allowed by code.  They are entitled to reasonable use of their property but, they are not entitled to crowd their neighbors by building out to the sidewalk. 
 (A variance is a waiver from the requirements of the Land Development Codes, where specific enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship. The variance requested should be the minimum variance that would make possible the reasonable use of the land, building or structure.  Seeking a variance is asking for something special.  A hardship generally occurs when the physical characteristics of a property are such that it cannot be used for any purpose permitted by codes.  A hardship may be created by the surroundings, shape or topographical conditions particular to that specific property.  However, the hardship cannot be self-imposed, or the result of the property owner’s own action.)
Except for unashamedly greedy projects, the OSOB committee favors developments which meet code; we encourage business growth and redevelopment.  However, development which ignores the will of the residents and the codes is wrong.  Above all, to us, the quality of life of the residents is paramount.

Our tactics are simple, find out what the residents want and work toward making that happen.  We depend on volunteers to get the message out.  We attend commission meetings and workshops to keep up with what is happening in the city.  We pay attention.

The OSOB committee fought for the residents of Deerfield Beach and opposed:

The 7 story, 240 room hotel - condominium complex planned for the main beach parking lot; voters agreed, wanted the parking lot kept, and voted it down.

The Ocean Park mixed use development project also planned for the main beach parking lot, again voters voted it down.

The Ocean Plaza beach-front project which needed several variances to be built – So this property could be built the commission eliminated setbacks and other codes.  This building and another on the SW corner of Hillsboro and A1A were built during the time the codes were eliminated and the OSOB referendum reinstated them.

J.Bs and Ocean’s 234 being allowed to get away with no onsite parking.

The giant restaurant planned by Pete Boinis
for our city owned pier. 

The designation of our entire 28 acre beach area as an Regional Activity Center (RAC)
 which would allow much higher density and commercial development on the entire beach. The Broward County Commission agreed that this is a bad idea and banned RACs on any barrier island.

The changing of the Crystal Lake Golf Course
land-use category from recreation to residential to allow a large housing project.  As a result of residents’ outrage county wide, the Broward County Commission added a provision to its land use code which “strongly discourages” golf course conversions.

The proposed Deerfield Station plan for the Transit Oriented Development zone by the Tri-rail station, the plan, which has a mix of commercial and residential buildings has the right idea for the site, however it is much too dense.  A scaled way down version of the plan would be an asset to the city.
We have the right, given what has happened to those now empty big developments and the traffic on the S curve, to shout: “We told you so!!!”  However we savor our small victories for the people. I guess we should remind people more often of what Deerfield would look like if residents didn’t band together to make themselves heard. 
One resident sent a letter to the County Planning Council during the discussion of the RAC for the beach; he started it off saying what almost every resident of Deerfield Beach says about why he moved here:

“As a resident of Deerfield Beach I am very concerned about preserving the character of our local beach area. The City Council is seeking to have a portion of the beach area designated as a Regional Activity Center. I am not a member of any organization to preserve the beach or a lawyer, politician or developer. My interest in this purely personal because the reason my wife and I decided to locate and live in Deerfield was the fact the beach area was not a solid mass of high priced condominiums or bars and restaurants.”  

The OSOB is made up of people who moved to Deerfield Beach because of its unique character.  The OSOB has become, out of necessity, the voice of the majority of residents.  We are a diverse group, who with every challenge, attract new members.  The group is brought together by one mission; keep atypical Deerfield Beach from becoming the standard over-developed Florida city, thereby protecting the quality of life of our residents. 
The bottom line is that we are ordinary people who love our community and care passionately about protecting it for the residents, future generations and their quality of life.
Members talk about our victories being charted by Judy Wilson one time editor of thel Observer Newspaper.  After our first campaign, she called us “disgruntled housewives”.  After other successes, we were described as a “polished political group” and then by this same frustrated editorr, as “home grown terrorists”.  That last description puzzled us as we could not understand how representing the majority of residents, attending meetings, collecting signatures for ballot amendments and passing out flyers could be termed "terrorism".  



"We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Ghandi

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." - Chinese Proverb

The purposes of the Original Save Our Beach, Inc. include but are not limited to the following:

1. To engage in and promote, for the benefit of the general public, research, study and protection/preservation of the quality of life for residents of the city of Deerfield Beach.

2. To contribute to the orderly environmental management, conservation and preservation of the natural resources and natural areas of the shoreline region through charitable, educational and scientific endeavors, programs and assistance.

3. To educate the public on issues of the use, allocation and management of resources, and on land use planning, the effects of development, economics and social concerns affected by growth management decisions.

4. To assist the public, developers, government agencies, businesses, neighborhood groups, land owners, environmental groups and other parties in reaching consensus on issues of growth management, development and environmental protection.


Deerfield Beach USA Website

City of Deerfield Beach Website

Broward County Commission Website

Broward County Voting Information Website

Environment News Service

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