The Department of Community Affairs – known as the DCA - is holding a series of regional workshops to brief planners and others about changes to the Department made this year by the State Legislature. The first meeting is Tuesday in Sarasota.
The DCA has overseen growth management in Florida since 1985. This year state lawmakers, seeking to streamline government, removed the department from the process. Changes to comprehensive growth plans will be decided at the local level. Director of Governmental Relations for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Nicole Johnson, said it’s a whole new paradigm.
“We don’t know how everything is going to be operating and functioning and because the law was essentially effective the day it was enacted we’re now under these new rules so we really have to get a good grasp on how we move forward and how we’re effective in the future” she said.
Johnson said there’s concern among environmental advocates that removing DCA from the planning process will limit public input into requests for changes to long term growth plans. The workshop in Sarasota is the first of six DCA is holding around the state