Policy Consensus E-News — April 2005

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In this issue:

  • Florida Legislator Convenes Collaborative Planning Process on Treasure Coast
  • Case Study: Collaborative Community Planning in Orange County, NY
  • PCI Hosts Panel on University-Based Consensus Programs

Florida Senator Ken Pruitt Leads Three-County Collaborative

Florida Senator Ken Pruitt
Florida Senator Ken Pruitt

If population growth, soaring transportation pressures, booming development, and a complex array of environmental and natural resource concerns weren’t enough for a lawmaker’s agenda, Florida’s Treasure Coast district was hard-hit during last year’s hurricane spree. The area is now undergoing massive clean up and restoration efforts, including housing, building, and contracting dilemmas.

In response to the mounting challenges, and to several reports calling for improved regional collaboration among the region’s jurisdictions and interests, Florida Senator Ken Pruitt decided to initiate a new kind of collaborative planning effort – convened by the Governor – that includes key public, private, and not-for-profit stakeholders.

According to Pruitt, the Treasure Coast’s interrelated challenges increasingly require collaboration among the region’s governmental, private and not-for-profit leaders.

To launch the process, Pruitt obtained an Executive Order from Governor Jeb Bush that created Florida’s Committee for a Sustainable Treasure Coast. The mission of the committee is to build consensus on guidelines, recommendations, tools, and actions that seek to improve the region’s quality of life, built and natural environment, and economy.

“This committee will set the template for what will happen along the Treasure Coast in the 21st century,” Pruitt said. “I cannot understate the importance of the committee's collaborative work.”

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Case Study
New York Growth-Control Collaboration
Involves State, County and Local Governments

Warwick Winery

Adapted from a report by Sean Nolon, Director of Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center.

In the mid-1990s a population boom turned Orange County, New York into the fastest growing county in the state. Until then, the quiet agricultural region 40 miles from Manhattan had avoided the sprawling development facing many of its neighboring counties.

Along with new residents came concerns by some local leaders about the loss of Orange County’s agricultural resources. A $9.5 million agricultural preservation bond was proposed for the Town of Warwick – which encompasses the small villages of Greenwood Lake, Florida, and Warwick. The initiative called for a levy on all residents that would be used for purchase of development rights (PDRs) on many of the town’s important farms.

Residents of the three villages opposed the levy that was needed to fund the bond. With little to no eligible agricultural land, village residents argued that they would not receive the intended benefit from a tax to preserve farmland. And while many villagers were in favor of preserving the area’s rich agricultural tradition, they threatened to oppose the entire range of agricultural initiatives – which required their participation – if the tax increase remained in the measure.

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PCI Hosts Panel on University-based Consensus Building ProgramsPCI Hosts Panel on University-based
Consensus Building Programs

The growing role of universities in helping states build capacity for collaborative governance approaches was the focus of a PCI panel at the annual meeting of the Southern Consortium of University Public Service Organizations in (SCUPSO) March.

SCUPSO is comprised of 40 university-based public service institutes that assist state and local governments with a range of issues, from healthcare to welfare reform to urban sprawl. It focuses on improving policymaking and management practices, and developing leadership skills among city, county, state, and regional government, and nonprofit leaders. Each year, SCUPSO’s member institutions provide training and counsel to more than 35,000 southern leaders from each of those sectors.

At the PCI-sponsored panel, leaders from SCUPSO member universities in Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas described their programs and activities.

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