Florida's Plan: Sell Land So It Can ... Buy Land
Some 5K acres may be up for grabs to raise $50M for other properties
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2013 11:26 AM CDT
In this Nov. 18, 2011 photo, a section in the wetland area of Kissimmee, Fla., which straddles the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, is seen.   (AP Photo/Julie Fletcher)

(Newser) – Florida may be about to put a whole lot of land up for sale. The goal: sell off the less significant stuff—some 5,000 acres of beaches, forests, and wetlands originally bought to keep out of development—to raise $50 million to buy land deemed more important to save, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Department of Environmental Protection has drummed up a list of 160 properties on the chopping block, including a good chunk of the Green Swamp, and some are raising eyebrows in the state known for its history of land and water conservation.

"It's an outrage," said one woman, who raised money to buy 1,100 acres for a park named after her late son—five acres of which may soon have a price tag. "To me, the entire concept of selling off conservation land to buy conservation land is not a good idea." A DEP rep, however, said the property list is preliminary, and nothing will be sold until public hearings are held this fall. And even after clearing Gov. Rick Scott and the state's Cabinet, local governments and universities will get the first shot at the land. A petition that would force the state to spend a third of the proceeds on land conservation has so far gained 200,000 signatures, WCTV reports.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
iq145
Sep 7, 2013 12:39 PM CDT
"Sell off the less significant stuff—some 5,000 acres of beaches, forests, and wetlands originally bought to keep out of development—to raise $50 million to buy land deemed more important to save". i think they don't know what is IMPORTANT.
HMD-SMD-ITY
Sep 5, 2013 7:36 PM CDT
1000 to 1500 years, its all underwater anyway. Is there anything that can prevent the poles from melting? The trend is headed that way with no sign of reversal until the next global cooling phase starts in roughly 5000 years.
Wileybill
Sep 5, 2013 12:34 PM CDT
Just another move to put valuable lands like beach front into the hands of Political "Friends". Florida has a history of snatching prime land for resale to the wealthy pushing the labor force farther in land. The usual tactic is to neglect older neighborhoods dropping property values, then passing legislation to make it undesirable for those who could afford to live there to move in. Once the neighborhood is sparse enough the land is bought up. The second is to TAX long term residents out of their homes. The first tactic was what prompted the changes in the former Ft. Lauderdale "strip". No cops, no street repairs, renovations or upkeep on the infrastructure. Now all the old business' are gone- total remodel, new condos for part time residents and cops all over chasing away full time residents from the beaches they grew up on. I lived there and couldn't even park on the beach after 9pm without a permit- my taxes are my permit! The second tactic was used all along any waterfront properties evicting the elderly who bought long ago- paid off their mortgages and then got taxed out of their homes. It wasn't that long ago many of these people bought waterfront property for less than 30K and planned their long lives and retirement only to find the tax for a year now exceeds the original cost of the home. Florida needs to stop raising property taxes on home owners- lock the tax rate with "cost of living inflation" on a property until it is resold- then make the new residents pay the new tax. The American dream was founded on home ownership, now the game is rigged -we have a nation of indentured servants. Reward those who stay and build a community and let those just passing though pay like the part time tourists they are. Beach front property should all be accessible to residents- no exceptions. The last issue I don't understand is raping of wetlands and how so much of this property is insurable. All the insurable land has long since been developed in south Florida, the rest is swamp. The reason I-95 is located where it is - is because there is only about a five mile wide strip of lane that is not a former swamp. This is the strip I-95 is built on. Look at the old maps of the "everglades". Virtually everything south of Okeechobee was saw grass swamps (except for the "Highlands") with that narrow strip where 95 runs. I moved when it was obvious the real estate market was segregating entire communities to devalue high and dry real estate and move the workforce elsewhere to resell the only real insurable land to the wealthy. All the land west of 441 should be "uninsurable" and most the rest elsewhere. And the all the beach fronts- when that gets hit, all the tax payers will be paying for their decadence so they can rebuild their castles while we pay "disaster" taxes and outrageous insurance to supplement the rich idiots who built there. If we all pay- we all get access, make it public property!