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Smart Growth helps Florida's environment

1000 Friends of Florida
Posted at 8:11 PM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 20:11:47-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A new study shows Florida could grow to more than 33 million residents in the next 50 years. And if development trends continue, more than one-third of the state will be paved over for new buildings.

1000 Friends of Florida, a smart-growth advocacy group, reports an estimated 15 million people will move to the Sunshine State by 2070.

The organization's President, Paul Owens, thinks this will affect the quality of life and environment as millions of acres are used to build neighborhoods, offices and schools.

Owens says compact development is much more tax payer friendly.

"Because it takes advantage of public services that are already available, roads, water, sewer, schools," said Owens. "If you can utilize them then that means you don't have to spread them out to cover areas of sprawling development."

The study recommends managing growth by filling in empty spaces in urban areas rather than expanding into conservation lands, which could save millions of acres from development while still accommodating a growing population.

Owen says sprawling development is also directly linked to causing harmful algae blooms like the historic-ones Florida saw this year.