Dennis Carlton

Citation
Dennis Carlton

Material Information

Title:
Dennis Carlton
Series Title:
West Central Florida land use oral history project
Creator:
Carlton, Dennis, 1952-
Mansfield, Bill
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file ( 90 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Land use -- Florida -- Hillsborough County ( lcsh )
Water-supply, Rural -- Florida ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Dennis Carlton, who is in the citrus, cattle, and real estate business, talks about his ideas regarding land use in Hillsborough County. He discusses zoning in Hillsborough County, issues of public opinion, water usage for rural land, the growth of the population in Florida, land taxation, and urban sprawl. He also discusses his past presidency of the Florida Farm Bureau and the activities of that organization.
Venue:
Interview conducted June 27, 2006.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by William Mansfield.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028592284 ( ALEPH )
182555452 ( OCLC )
W34-00003 ( USFLDC DOI )
w34.3 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


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Dennis Carlton, who is in the citrus, cattle, and real estate business, talks about his ideas regarding land use in Hillsborough County. He discusses zoning in Hillsborough County, issues of public opinion, water usage for rural land, the growth of the population in Florida, land taxation, and urban sprawl. He also discusses his past presidency of the Florida Farm Bureau and the activities of that organization.
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xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
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text William Mansfield: Well yup its recording, so thats good.
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00:00:2.8
Dennis Carlton: All right youre in business.
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WM: I am, I can take this foolish thing off my head, we can getand we always get people to start off by having them state their name and telling us when they were born and where they were born, so let her go.
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DC: All right, Dennis Carlton. I was born in 1952, Tampa General Hospital.
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WM: What month?
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DC: May.
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WM: May?
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DC: May the 14th.
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WM: So youre a native Floridian?
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DC: A native Floridian.
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WM: Good. I like talking to local folks. Whats your current occupation?
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DC: Im in the citrus and cattle business and in the real estate business.
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WM: A lot of the citrus people Ive talked to said they were in the real estate business because with canker and everything else it was
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DC: Right canker and greenie.
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WM: worth there while to sell off some of their acreage.
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DC: Right.
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WM: Okay, wellChip Hinton said I should talk to you because you were on the Farm Bureau.1
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DC: Yeah, Im a member of the Farm Bureau, past president of Hillsborough County Farm Bureau and with Chip; Im on the Soil and Water Conservation Board and also the Agricultural Economic Development Council and on the Federal Land Bank Board, which is a leading agricultural leader and also on the Valrico State Bank Board.
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WM: I guess we can start out talking about the Farm Bureau. My first question on that is, who makes upwho are the members of the Farm Bureau in this area?
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DC: You want the names? (laughs)
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WM: Not the namesand I should say that some of these questions might sound kind of foolish and simple, but I figure a historian fifty years from now might not
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DC: (laughs) Okay. The Farm Bureau is all encompassing, in the fact that it has all commodities. Its a member organization. Its the largest agricultural what would be the proper word? I dont want to say lobbyist group.
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WM: Advocacy group?
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DC: Advocacy group, there we go. Because it is all commodities, all agricultural commodities. And part of that under that umbrella comes policy, which is made by the members. A lot of what the Farm Bureau does, obviously is its an advocate group for the farmers. Theyre very active politically. They have a full time lobbyist, both in Tallahassee and Washington and look after the agricultural interest of the people in Florida. Its policy driven, by the members. So theyre not offthe staff is not off running around doing what they think they need to do, they are instructed by the membership as to what is of interest to the organization. Thats the way that thing works.
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WM: Thats kind of the way most things ought to work.
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DC: Thats the way theyre supposed to work. (laughs)
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WM: So tell me what the Farm Bureau does, and Im speaking locally, than statewide and nationally, but tell me what you all do here in Hillsborough County, to effect land use policy.
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DC: Typically you will find people on most boards, and this is true of the Farm Bureau, are people that are interested. And they are interested in land use, water use, environmental issues, things that revolve around the land because, obviously, the common denominator amongst all of them is the land.
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Farm Bureau, on a local level is very active politically. I think part of that is just, obviously, is because of the make up of the board. Over the years has worked diligently to know the different county commissioners; know the legislators, and to interact with them on issues that are important to us. That can be anything from taxation to land use. So I guess the big common denominator is that they are all landowners or people who have interest. You wouldnt have to be a landowner to be a member, but it has assimilated typically into that. I guess they are stakeholders, is what youd call it. They have a true stake in the community. Farm Bureau also has an insurance side, where they sell insurance. A lot of the farming community buys insurance as a member service if you would.
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WM: But you said, because of the membershipwell I guess you answered that question, because they are farmers. But is there any kind of average farmer thats a member of the Farm Bureau?
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DC: You dont have to be a farmer to be a member. You can be aanyone can be a member of it. But most of the active membership are farmers. Okay.
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WM: I can imagine, like an equipment dealer would be a member.
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DC: Absolutely. Hed be a member of Farm Bureau. He may not own an acre of land, but he could be. But what Im trying to say is those that are most active in it typically are the true agriculturists. Insurance is a big part of what Farm Bureau does and you have to be a member in order to buy the insurance. Okay, so they may sell a homeowners policy in Brandon, and that person has to become a member of Farm Bureau in order to buy that insurance. So in that sense you will have a lot of people that are members, but they are not truly the active members. Thats the best way to say it.
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WM: Okay. How would you describe the average active member? Would you say they are cattle people, citrus people, big farmers, small farmers
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DC: Woo! No.
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WM: tropical fish farmers
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DC: All of the above, all of the above. There is no such thing as average.
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WM: Okay.
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DC: You know youve got people that have gotI think about nurserymen. I know one of the past presidents was probably one of the largest nurserymen in Hillsborough County. Yet we have people on the board now that are very small nurserymen. So youve got both ends of the spectrum, large and small. From a board perspective, youre trying to find people that want to be engaged and want to make a difference. That are willing to spend some time at it.
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WM: You said that you worked to get to know the county commissioners?
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DC: Yeah, the thing isand this is where youre going to end up at some point todayis that the land is owned, at least out in this part of the world, primarily by the agricultural community. Theyve got a big stake in what happens as far as real estate is concern. Ive often told people, and Ill tell you this, local county commission has more influence on my life, speaking financially, than does my state senator. The reason being is all land uses are local. So everything that happens locally goes through downtown Tampa. Goes through the planning commission. Goes through the county commission. So, obviously youve got an interest. You need to know your commissioners, so that they know who you are and can respect you, so you can have some influence with them. I dont mean that influence in a bad way; I mean that in a good way.
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WM: Right. Lobbyists have a bad reputation, but what they do is often educate people about whats going on.
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DC: Right! Absolutely.
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WM: So would you say the Farm Bureau helps educate the county commissioners?
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DC: Absolutely. They do a tremendous job of that. One of the things that has nothing to do with it and its kind of a side note, when you came in you heard me talking on the phone. I was talking about Stephen Gran.2 Stephen Gran works for the Hillsborough County Agricultural Economic Development Council, is the offshoot of a task force we started in ninety-six [1996] that dealt with taxation. What that taxation didand I dont know how far you want to get into this. If I ever start somewhere that you dont want to go just tell me.
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WM: Ill do it.
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DC: But the taxation wasthe general premise of the public is that the farmers get a tax break on their real estate, because its green belted. Well, we did a study to find out about services. What services were required by the rural community and what the taxes were. And what we found out, in ninety-six [1996], the numbers have changed a little, but for every dollar worth of taxes sent in to Hillsborough County, we received sixteen cents in services. Well, the first thing that somebody would ask you or me is, How could that be? And my common answer is, Cows dont go to school. The only thing youre supplying is a little bit of sheriff, a little bit of police. Some education, very little.
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WM: You cant teach a cow very much. (both laugh)
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DC: No. So its a matter of requiring services. It was a positive influence financially. It was a very eye-opening experience to Hillsborough County. They began to see the importance of agriculture, not only from job creation but also from taxation. Okay? And from that we started the Agricultural Economic Development Council, which came two or three years later. And its still with us today. In that Council, Stephen Gran keeps the agricultural informed as to whats happening in Hillsborough County. Sometimes we will havewe will be asked occasionally, by the Commissioners, one thing might be, What can we do for agriculture? Because they understand that it supplies open space, water recharge, and wildlife habitat. All the things the people of the community want, the ag-community supplies at no cost. So those are things that our commission understands, while in most urban settings, the commissioners do not understand.
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WM: One of the things that Chip Hinton said was that most people think agricultural land is agricultural land because you cant think of anything better to do with it.
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DC: Yeah.
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WM: But that brings me to a question, Ive read that cities want to expand because when they take in territory that increases their tax revenue.
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DC: My take on that? The reality is and the cities are beginning to figure this out, thats not always the case. For example, Plant City was wanting to annex a pile of land. They had somebody go and do an economic feasibility study. It came back, basically, that wasnt going to work. The reason it wasnt going to work, if you start supplyif you start incorporating a bunch of land and youre going to have to supply sewer and water, police and fire, those services you cant make it pay with those services.
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The homeowner, Im going to say it butIll go out on a limb and the average price home in Hillsborough County take the tax bill, it will not cover the cost for the services it requires. People think they pay way too much in property taxes, but if own a home, youre getting a heck-of-a deal. Because the guy thats paying for it is the agricultural community, which on the big scale, not many dollars, but the commercial entity is the one thats really paying for itpaying for those services because thats where youve got all of the assessment.
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WM: The commercial entity?
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DC: Warehouses, restaurants, strip centers. You know? All of those things thats what fuels the economy, thats what fuels the tax revenue
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WM: How does the Farm Bureau shape the land use policies of the
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DC: The Farm Bureau wont shape the land use policy. The land use policy is shaped by the planning commission. The planning commissiondo you know, or care to know about land use or how it operates? How it works, zoning
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WM: Sure that would be great.
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DC: Okay. In Florida we have something called the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Ill simplify it and say its a map over view of each county. That Comp plan is made up by the people ofin this case the people of Hillsborough County have a plan; they send it to DCA, the Department ofI cant remember theI know its DCA but I cant remember what it stands for.
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WM: (laughs) Okay.
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DC: Goes to Tallahasseethe Department of Community Affairsgoes to Tallahassee and it is either approved, or not approved. And if its approved and then comes back, then you have an approved Comprehensive Land Use Plan. That Comp Plan then designates what can happen in certain areas, what is possible. Doesnt mean that its going to, but its possible. For instance: If youre in an AR [agricultural residential] zoned property Comp Plan.
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WM: And AR stands for what?
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DC: AR would be one unit for five acres.
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WM: Okay.
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DC: You cant even apply for zoning of one unit per acre. I mean you cant even apply for it. In order to apply for something the Comp plan has to allow for it. In the area I love for example, the Comp plan calls for one unit per acre. So if I had forty acres, the most density I could even ask for would be forty houses, so its kind of an over-lay.
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From there you go to a zoning. So you have your Comp plan, with an over-lay then you go before the County Commission to rezone something. And thats the way the land use process works. Now when we start talking about shaping policy, Farm Bureau would have some input in some respects, but not on the Comp plan typically. It would be more with the definitions within each category.
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I got involved in land use issue that dealt with nurseries in a residential area. In trying to come up with a guidelines, I had some input on that and you might want to talk with Stephen about thatwhat they did to come up with some language. Where the Ag-Economic Development Council and some of the members that are on that a lot of the members that are on that are old Farm Bureau members. It just happens to work that way. But we had an issue with the fruit stands, panhandlers, peddlers, if you will. The county would ask for our input. Weve got a problem. How do we solve it? What do we need to do? Where should they be allowed? Where should they be prohibited? So theyll ask for input from the Ag-Economic Development Council. So I would say to you, the Farm Bureau is important but the AEDC is where the County goes for information dealing with ag.
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WM: I guess I was thinking, say they were planning to re-zone some area for, speaking hypothetically, an industrial park. The agricultural people say, Thats going to impact our water supply and our land use. So how would you all go to try and effect change in zoning regulations?
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DC: Heres what youll find out, and it deals with property rights. Most agriculturists, most people that own land, feel like the other man should, pretty much be able to do what he feels like is right. If youre not affecting me, if youre not depreciating my asset, if youre not hurting my land, Im all right with it. Now youll run in to the flip side of that, when the ag-man goes in there to re-zone, everybody in the neighborhood is raising Cain about it. They have a different thought process when it deals with property rights. I dont fully understand why, but its just the way it is.
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WM: But there could be instances where the other mans property would negatively impact your property.
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DC: Then, if thatd be the case, what youre talking about, if youre going to change it, youre talking about a Comp Plan change. You would go before the Planning Commission and speak at the planning commission, in opposition to it. The Planning Commission would then make a recommendation that comes to Hillsborough County. At that point you could talk to your County Commissioners and they could either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the Planning Commissions recommendation.
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WM: You talked about how the County Commissioners affect you more than the
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DC: State Senators.
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WM: Representative in Tallahassee and in Washington.
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DC: Absolutely.
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WM: Tell me more about that.
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DC: All land issues are local. So any zoning, which gives you the ability to do something with your land, is done on a local basis. So the people you elected to the county commissioners are the ones that approve or deny zoning. Zoning creates value. The interesting thing is and this is something that comes out, youll have other people tell thisremember I talked about the Comp Plan? Within a Comp Plan youre able to ask for a certain amount of density. If you call the Planning Commission and ask them, How many units do we have that we can build within the urban service areas? They will give you a number. And I dont know what it would be. But whatever the number is, Id tell you; Its in the urban service zone. Its in a land use category. Weve got the comp plan. Now were going to go zone it.
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When we go to zone it, we go down to the county commission and everybody speaks and talks about it. And it may be hypothetically, it may be a red6 area, allows up to six units per acre. The Comp plan says This is where we want the growth and this is what we think is applicable. Not always but most of the time. When it gets down there the public sentiment will drive the Commission to, almost always give less density.
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So, I m rambling a little bit here, but what Im showing you is, while we have the Comp Plan, when it gets time to zone, if youre not careful theyll fold because of public outcry. No matter what you do, nobody wants increased density in their area. I dont care if it is one unit to five acres, or ten units to the acres. Nobody wants it to happen. They want to be the last person here. Thats just human nature. So you need commissioners with plenty of back bone, that are willing to do what I best for the area, follow the growth plan thats set out and utilize it.
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WM: But arent there other interests that would want to see more density. When I say that I think, home builders associations.
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DC: Yes and they will ask for it. Typically the planning staff will say, This is consistent with the Comp Plan, and we think its appropriate. But all of the neighbors will stand up and sayIll give you a real life story, which puts it all in perspective.
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WM: Great.
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DC: We had a piece of land in downtown Brandon. It was approximately 100 acres. It had development on four sides. It is what is considered an in-fill piece. It was a beautiful piece of land. When we wanted to sell it, and it was time to zone it, the county staff recommended so many units. We had a tremendous neighborhood outcry. People left it likewanted the Parks Department to make a park out of it. They wanted one unit to five acres. They didnt want any density. They didnt want any townhouses. There was absolutely no support within the community. The reason being more traffic, it absolutely did, but it was in an area that growth is supposed to take place. We got it zoned. I dont remember. I dont think we got as many units as was allowed. But we got pretty good density on it, and sold it.
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But my point is everybody that lived in those subdivisions lived on a piece of land, just like this was, but they didnt want any more in the neighborhood. This is typical of what you see. I understand that. I mean, I live where I live here and I dont want to see any more houses. But I realize people have property rights and thats what supposed to happen and what will happen. You try to plan and do the best you can for it.
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WM: Now in that example that you just gave, was that you as a realtor selling that land?
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DC: No. It was land we owned.
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WM: Okay. So the local people were against it, but it was in your interests to sell it with denser population on it?
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DC: Yeah. Density creates value, within a certain reason. In that case we were in an area surrounded by subdivisions. Well, the highest and best use, the most appropriate use for this land was a subdivision and thats what went there. The only point that I was making, the point that I was really trying to make was, while the urban service area calls for a certain density, that is not what always takes place, because of the outcry of the community, not wanting it. And thats what causes urban sprawl. Thats a whole different issue.
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WM: (laughs) I appreciate you bringing that up, because that puts faces on the characters. Tell me a little bit in more detail, about the hearings that took place.
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DC: We had tremendous opposition, so we had town hall meetings, to get with the neighbors to try come up with some resolution. And basically what it was, was trying to negotiate something that made everybody happy. Which we, obviously, did not do. But what we did was take some density and put it inside the subdivision and had the bigger lots on the outside of the subdivision. Just some planning techniques that are pretty common. We do all the time any way.
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WM: Kind of creating a buffer?
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DC: Yeah, and maybe having some buffer. Things that you do, but you always have the people that even though you do all of those thingsand I just did a rezoning up north of here, a classic case. You do the buffer and all; they still go to the mike and say We dont want any more zoning here. We dont want any more houses. We want it to stay rural. In that case in Brandon, the family had owned the land for seventy or eighty years. A lot of the neighbors that were complaining about it were on land, and this was my wifes property, her family had owned previously. But when it got down to the last piece, they didnt want it zoned. They wanted to leave it like it. Were all guilty of that.
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WM: Change is hard to take.
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DC: Yeah, change is a hard thing.
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WM: The people who came to oppose this, did they have any kind of organization?
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DC: Oh yes. Oh yes. They hired a lawyer in this case.
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WM: Was it like a homeowners association?
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DC: What it is, is a group of people will get together and kind of formand theyll come up with a name. Down-south County Save Our Bay, or and I dont remember what the namebut theyll have a group. Theyre learning. The people are learning about being able to, toand this is a good thing, provided the motive is right. Get together and come forth with a plan, or come forth on an issue.
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Now what happens with those things, and this is a whole different issue, is anybody can speak before the commission and say anything you want to say. I mean you can say the most outrageous thing in the world and it doesnt make any difference. So whenever youre dealing with those issues, Im very careful about what I say. I want it to be very factual. Youre not going to call me back and say this was a lie. That aint happening. So Im very careful. On those kinds of organizations people will get up and make very general, broad based statements that are not correct.
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WM: Theyre more emotional than factual?
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DC: Absolutely. Absolutely. And some of them will come forth as though they are facts, but theyre just not! I think a lot of that isit wont be their sources but maybethey will state their opinion as though it were fact.
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WM: Yeah I think when something is important to you like thatit can cloud.
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DC: Yeah, that happens sometimes.
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WM: You talked about youre doing some re-zoning here in the county, or working on it? Could you tell me about that?
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DC: Absolutely.
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WM: Okay.
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DC: Had a forty-five acre tract that was in a Comp plan of one unit per acre, which would allow you to ask for up to forty-five units. We worked with county staff. You hire engineers; I dont do this, not my expertise. The engineer that I hired came up with forty units, which is less than the max but very acceptable. Had the lay out. We had tremendous opposition from the neighborhood. What was interesting, I dont want you to think that ImI think everybodys got rights, but youve got to be careful about what you say. This was forty-five acres and we were doing a PD, which is a plan development. This allows bigger lots here, smaller lots there. The interior, oneslike we talked about, smaller, bigger lots on the outside. We drew this PD up, where the lots on the outside would be the width, or wider than all of the adjacent lots. Lots in the middle are smaller. The word got out on the street that there were going to be ninety lots!
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I had the land under contract and I had a man call me and say, What are you doing? Re-zoning it. He knew that. He asked, How many lots are you getting? I said Forty. He said, Everybody told me youre going for ninety lots! First of all under the Comp plan, you couldnt even have asked for ninety lots, so I said, No, we never have. This thing took on a life of its self. The [Tampa] Tribune even wrote an article. Wrote two or three articles. Never did get it correct! Never did get it correct! Talking about the number of lots in this subdivision and what was taking place.
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I dont usually get too excited. I dont get excited about these things. I dont let themlet happened, what happened. But it was interesting at the zoning. This lady came up to me and was just chewing me out. Im telling you this to kind of set the stage so youll understand. We had a big audience there, and when she got through I asked her, I said, I want to ask you one question. She said, Whats that sir? I want you to tell me how many lots are in this subdivision?
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Now we had already been through the whole process saying theres ninety lotsI mean that there was forty lots, okay? I knew that she might think there was ninety. At the end of the day, she didnt know how many lots there were. But she was mad. Everybody was upset. And you could not get the truth. You could not make them understand what the truth was. They were angry. They wanted no more density in their area and it didnt make any difference what you were doing. We never did make them happy.
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It ended up it did approved, it got approved for thirty-six lots. The reason for thirty-six lots? Because there were a lot of people there complaining. And the commission justZoning Hearing just it, by four lots. Never gave an explanation just felt like, Okay, Ive got this pressure. Im going to give up on the density just a little and make them happy. They could not have, not approved it because it met all of the requirements. You had sheriffs schools, fire. All the agencies were fine with it. The zoning staff recommended approval for forty lots. But at the end of the day, I still lost four lots. Still lost some density. And thats what Im talking about, when I refer to any project that you do, theyll always whittle at you on the density.
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WM: I can only imagine that you werent pleased with loosing those four lots.
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DC: I wasnt pleased and the reason I wasnt pleasedand Ill tell you this, economically it made no difference, because the man who owned it understood you needed a density and he cut the price. So, that came directly out of his pocket. I was a little upset with it was absolutely arbitrary. It should not have been done. There was no claim. Nobody ever gave any reason for why, thirty-six was the right number and forty wasnt.
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WM: It sounds like they were throwing a sop to the
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DC: Absolutely, absolutely. Because all of the lots on the outside were going to be the same width or wider than any lot that touched it. And I told the commission and I told the audience I said, I promise you, if you ride through that subdivision, you cant tell me whether therere thirty lots or forty in that subdivision. You cant do it. You can count them but you cant walk out there and look and say this looks like a thirty-lot subdivision or this looks like a forty-lot subdivision. You cant do that.
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WM: Somebody said thats what a compromise is, a solution that satisfies neither party.
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DC: Right. And I told the audience, Well, Im not happy and youre not happy. I guess this makes the commission happy.
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WM: Oh, but its interesting. Now you talked about the sheriffs department, the fire department
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DC: These are all people who make comments in reference to a project, whether they have the capacity for the different issues youve mentioned.
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WM: So they all weigh-in, to the decision?
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DC: Yes.
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WM: And then public sentiment comes into it too?
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DC: Right.
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WM: What about, I was talking to Mr. Hugh Gramling3
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DC: Hugh Gram, sure.
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WM: And he was talking about water usage as being check and balance on development and agriculture too, for that matter.
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DC: Yeah. The Southwest [Florida] Water Management District is in charge. Originally it was a flood control agency and now theyre in charge of water. All of our water is metered. There are certain areas of the county where you cannot get any water. There is an ongoing challenge to ag to have enough water. The Water Management District is deliberately, and Im not saying whether its good or bad, Im just telling you what the facts are, trying to cut the amount of water that agriculture has. I base that on the fact that any time you change a commodity, you automatically lose 10 percent period. Thats a 10 percent reduction because of the change.
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WM: When you say change of commodity?
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DC: Citrus to strawberries.
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WM: Okay.
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DC: It doesnt mean that youre asking for more water. Youre just changing and they whack you, period.
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WM: So if you turn your citrus grove into a strawberry field, youre going to loose 10 percent?
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DC: Yes, 10 percent. If you change commodities, theres a whole modeling process that goes with this. In certain areasnow you may lose 10 percent of your permit, but you might get a permit for more water, to drill another well, for some more water. Okay? Or you might not, depending on the location where you are. But in south [Hillsborough] county, some of those areas are in the most impacted areas; youre not going to get any water. What you have is all youre going to get.
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Now you can transfer water. I told you that when you change commodities you lose 10 percent. Its when you transfer water you lose 10 percent. In other words, if Ive got two properties and Im going to move this water from here over to here; even if its the same geographical location theyre going to cut this permit some. Theyre not going to let you just take it all over here. The biggest problem in Florida is not water. Weve got all of the water in the world. It rains fifty-some inches.
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But its distribution. Thats the biggest problem. We have a phobia about wastewater in the sense that nobody wants to drink the water that comes from any kind of wastewater. I will tell you that in the Mississippi River thats beenwhen you start at the top of the Mississippi and by the time it gets to the Gulf [of Mexico] its run through about forty people. (WM laughs) Cause every little towns got a pump on this side, where the water comes in, and another on the other side, where they treat it and put it back in. But here in Florida, at least in the Tampa Bay area, we cant seem to get that done.
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WM: But, Ive read about salt water moving into the aquifer, because the fresh water has been pumped out.
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DC: Salt water intrusion, yes.
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WM: And sinkholes developing because the water tables been droppingthat doesnt support the agricultureor doesnt support the ground.
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DC: Municipalities, agriculture and mining the big users of the water. I think the municipalities use more water than anybody does now. The problem we have had, and were getting away from it, cause they finally just couldnt do it any more, because of environmental issues. They pumped all the water that was used for municipalities came from ground water. Now with the new reservoir, with the desalinization plant, some of that is changing. But for years, every drop came from the aquifer. Thats where the problem came. We just sucked it dry. All of this new growth requires more water. So were going to have to continue to supply. No, how are you going to supply it? You cant pump it out of the ground. It will be another desalinization plant or another reservoir. Thats what it will end up being.
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WM: It seems like that the agricultural interest, you know, theres sort of an adversarial relationship between the agricultural interest in water and the expanding municipalities.
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DC: Well, because it finite. You cant put but so manyits like (inaudible) told me, he was chairman of SWIFTMUD at one point, You cant put but so many straws in the ground. So youre right. There is, sort ofI wouldnt call it adversarial, but it borders on that. What weve had happen in the past; is the municipalities, theyre not being able to do this now as much, but come out in a rural area and buy an acre of land, put a well that big in there and suck all of the water from out of the ground. Thats where the adversarial situation has really come in. But with the fact that they have to permit this water now, were not seeing that as much. Thats the reason I refer to the reservoir and the desalinization plant.
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WM: Chip Hinton said that was something that helped organize
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DC: What it did out in this area is it helped organize the farmers. Had to get together; cause they were going out of business. Agriculture with no water is worth nothing. (WM laughs) Its just that simple.
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WM: Its not going to happen.
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DC: It aint going to happen. An agriculture is a big part of our industry. People dont realize that. Its not the guy growing the crop; its all the labor, all the transportation. The packinghousesyou have all that labor in the packinghouses, the retail side of agriculture. Then youve got the brokerage houses, right on down in to Publix and Winn Dixie, etceteras. Its a big part of what we do. Then youve got the suppliers to agriculturethe irrigation people, the fertilizer sales people. All the jobbers that make it work.
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WM: Im very much aware of what agriculture contributes to the community, but it does always seems like if a place they can replace agriculture with industry, then thats what they want to do. Industry gets a lot more support than agriculture does and that always puzzled by that.
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DC: Yes. You made a statement earlier on, that people look at the land and think you grow something on it because thats all you can do with it. Well, thats not the case. I mean right where Im living I made a conscious decision that I dont want anything to happen. Im going to keep it in groves. And Ive got the strawberry field over there and that stuff. Well there are other things I could do with this land, but I dont want to. That gets to be a personal choice.
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WM: But I guess its like Chip Hinton said there is sort of a natural bias against agriculture and people.
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DC: Yes, I would say that is true.
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WM: Who would you say are the different groups working to affect land use? I mean the Farm Bureau is one. The homebuilders association would be another.
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DC: The Sierra Club would be one. Sierra Club, homebuilders, the Farm Bureau, obviously. Youve got individuals owners, big landowners. Robert Thomas would be one. Robert had worked on some land use deals. Im not that big of a landowner but Ive worked on these different issues, both Comp Plan issues and zoning issues. Then youve got different civic associations. The Keystone Civic Association, the Balm, Seffner, all have associations that have a lot to say about land use.
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The homebuilders association understands the issues and they understand how it works. A lot of the civic associations, boy, this will get me in trouble. Dont really understand it. Theyre mad. They dont want any more growth and theyll just stand up and make big broad generalities. But dont really understand the issue. The only issue they understand is that, We dont want anymore houses in our neighborhood. Weve got enough traffic. I dont want to see anybody else come in here.
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WM: That kind of a Not in my back yard!
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DC: Not in my back yard, absolutely.
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WM: Part of it is people move out to the country to get away from the city and
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DC: The city comes to them.
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WM: And the city comes to them. They object to that and they want to build until theyre finished and then nothing more after that.
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DC: Right!
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WM: I want to ask this, before I forget, but the homebuilders association, who would be a good person to talk to in the homebuilders association?
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DC: I cant pronounce his name. Ask Stephen Gran. Its Joe, and it begins with an N and its, s-k-y, ski, on the end of it. Stephen will give you the name.
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WM: Okay. One of the problems I have is trying to pronounce names.
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DC: Oh, this one is (inaudible) or something, I dont know.
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WM: What do you see happening in Hillsborough County? How do you see the growth and land planning playing out?
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DC: The urban service area is going to continue to get the majority of the density. Thats the way the system works. The rural area breaks down into two categories. The first one in the area that is zoned one unit per acre, which is all of that between Tampa and Plant City. Okay. I should have said Brandon and Plant City, but anyway. That land is going to continue to be busted-up and sold in one-acre tracts as fast as people can make them. As fast as the demand will allow. The land out in the rural areas is going to be developed in those long thin five-acre blocks that cause urban sprawl. You cant legislate where people live.
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And if a man wants to live out in the woods, out in the AR category, one to five units per acre, and have a few horses and cowsa lot of people, want to live out there, dont want the horses and cows themselves, they want to be around it. Theyll buy five acres, build a house and just let the rest of it grow up. But youre going to see this landyou will continue to see smaller and smaller and smaller parcels. Ive been in the real estate business about thirty years. What we have seen isand I wont bore you with this, but I can think of lots and lots of places that were big acreage, that are now little acreage. A hundred-acre parcel in south Hillsborough County is a pretty big parcel. At one time that would have been considered a very small one. If you take out what the phosphate companies own, the rest of that land is rapidly being urbanized, in urban sprawlfive-acre blocks.
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WM: Everything I have read about sprawl says its not good.
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DC: No, its not.
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WM: How do you see controlling that?
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DC: You cant, because people want to live there and you cant tell them they cant live there. There are things that can be done, and they are doing some of this in Pasco County. And some of the owners are raising Cain about it. Its a tough issue. That deals with clustering density. In other wards, telling a man, Okay, your land is good for twenty units. Instead of using a 100 acres well go over here and take a ten-acre block and put acre home sites on it. If you could cluster and do some things like that. But even with that, the problem is everything needs to get back to economics. And when the guy transfers his densityat the end of the day, he cant sell it for as much money as he could, if he sold it in five-acre blocks. So you dont have any economic incentives for him to cluster a whole lot.
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WM: I dont want to put you on the spot with this question, but I feel obliged to ask it.
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DC: Sure.
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WM: Because weve talked about property rights. You cant argue those. But it seems like it reaches a point where the individual property rights begin to affect the collective.
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DC: Absolutely. What do you do?
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WM: Yeah thats
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DC: I dont have an answer for that. We talk about transferring densities. Whatever is done needs to be economically based, incentive based. Now if youre going to collectively do thatand theyve talked about it and nobodys ever been able to make this work. But to take density for example, they talk about density credits, a man selling his density down in a rural area for a guy to take it into an urban area to get a little increased density. But the demand is such that he cant transfer the density and come out whole.
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What I mean by that is, hes still better off to sell it, in place where it is, than toHe cant get enough money for those credits. Nobody has come up with a plan, that Ive seen, that takes care of the problem. And then youve got the problem of other people raising Cain about, I want to live out there, why cant I live there? I dont have a very good a very good argument for that.
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WM: Ive read that some places where water usage can limit
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DC: But it wont in a rural area. Those are big parcels and they are not going to use that much water. Another interesting thing that people dont think aboutIm going to use my house for example right here.
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WM: Okay.
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DC: If I give you a glass of water that came out of the ground, when you flushed the toilet in there a little while ago, that water came out from up the hill there, a couple of hundred yards. And it went back in the ground right here by the house. You just borrowed a little bit of it for a while. Where you live in Tampa, when you flush it goes to the treatment plant, a long way off and either ends up as reclaimed water somewhere or its discharged into the by-pass canal.
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So when we talk about water issues theres a difference there too. Water coming in and water going out. Most people dont ever think about that. In those rural areas, were talking about, where everybodys got a private well; theyll have figures about how much water a home uses. A man will pull out his calculator and say, the average house uses, I dont know what the number is, 150 gallons of water a day and youre going to have twenty houses. Youre burning up 3,000 gallons a day. Well, no. Not really Im pumping it out of the ground, taking a shower and putting it right back in the ground. So that part of it is a little different.
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WM: Its a complex issue and people sort of understand it and yet we still havent found a way too
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DC: Its so complex nobody can figure out how to solve it.
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WM: I hope they can figure it out while I can still participate but I dont know that they will. Ive been throwing questions at you for about the past hour, or so. Let me make sure Ive asked the ones I want to. Id like to ask a little bit about the policy, the planning that goes on and is submitted to Tallahassee and they approve of it. Who makes those decisions? How does that work?
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DC: The planning staff.
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WM: The planning staff?
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DC: Yeah.
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WM: And they come out of the county commissioners? They are part of county government?
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DC: Right. They are educated planners that, I guess take input from citizens. At least theyre supposed to, I dont know how much they take. (WM laughs) Then come up with recommendations for a plan. Some of that stuff gets to be very academic and not very practical. I dont know how much you heard me talk to the gentleman that called me about Stephen Gran?
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WM: You said that he worked hard and knew what he was talking about.
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DC: Basically, what I was saying, and I think I told the man, Stephen can take information, discern facts from fiction. In other words, if somebody is blowing smoke. And take that information and make practical use out of it. There is a great deal of difference between idealistic issues and realistic things. Planners, sometimes, can get very idealistic and not very realistic. And sometimes that gets to be an issue.
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WM: Theres a big difference between theory and reality.
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DC: Absolutely.
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WM: Sometimes that does get to be confusing.
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DC: Im not saying thats the case all the time. They work hard and try to listen to the people. Typically planners have very little appreciation for property rights. And I dont know that they are supposed to, okay? But I would say that they have very little appreciation for them. They are drawing lines on a map and those lines have tremendous impact on people, economically. And theyre just drawing a map anyway they go.
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WM: Its very abstract to them?
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DC: Very abstract!
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WM: Thats one of the things that Mr. Gramling said yesterday, is that this tension ultimately benefited people. It organized the farmers and who had people participating in democracy.
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DC: Yeah. Thats exactly right. They get involved in the process. Absolutely.
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WM: You were talking about things are going to keep getting smaller. That the urban service area, the rural area would be divided up into smaller lots, rather the zoned land would be cut up into smaller and smaller lots.
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DC: Absolutely. Smaller pieces of property. The big parcelsand were seeing this now, you see this right now. Our land has appreciated in the last three or four years. No, lets look at it this way, our land has appreciated in the past five years, 300 or 400 percent. It hadnt appreciated that much in the last forty years. We had this big upswing in value. Now all of a suddenobviously commodity prices, strawberries, oranges, et cetera, et cetera, some of them have gone up, some of them have gone down. But basically havent changed any, thats a broad statement, cause oranges are better. But basically they havent changed any.
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So your rate of return on your assets, your ROA, have really shrunk. So you take a man that may own forty acres and all of a sudden hes worth a million and a half, or two million dollars, that was worth four hundred thousand dollars, five or six years ago? Hes beating his head against the wall trying to make a living? Hes got to make ahes going to stop and say, Is this what is best for my family? Or should I cash this chip in and do something different?
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WM: Some of the orange growers I talked to said the exact same thing. They hated to sell but in a way they had to. It was the best opportunity they had.
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DC: Right.
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WM: You said that the RLA. Talked about thethe appreciation of the land and the commodities
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DC: ROA.
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WM: ROA. And that stands for?
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DC: Return on assets.
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WM: Okay, good. Thats a new acronym to me.
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DC: Well thats a bankingthats kind of a business
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WM: Okay. Then I shouldnt be surprised that I dont know it
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DC: Well thats all right.
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WM: So you figure its just going to get smaller and smaller. What about agriculture? Whats going to happen with that?
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DC: Agriculture, the dollar volume will continue to increase. The land base will continue to shrink. What will happen, you will see a conversion from low intensity agriculture, and Im going to call citrus low intensity. Pasture is really low intensity, but well call citrus low intensity. Those commodities are going to leave. Hugh Gramlings group and Chip Hintons group are going to take over, that being the strawberries and foliage people, nursery people. Especially in the urban service area, they are the only ones that have a Chinamans chance of making it. Theres no other commoditynow youre going to have oddity like me. That land that I told you I was rezoning? I have no intention of selling that land. Its an orange grove and Im going to either fix the grove or lease it to a berry grower. But it will stay in ag. But thats kind of the rarity; most people wont do that.
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WM: I interviewed Mike Lott he said, Im a farmer, not because Im getting rich but because this is what I like.4 Its a way of life more than making a living.
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DC: Yeah! Sure. I mean its just like here where Ive bought this land around here. This is personal, but I dont mind telling it. You asked me what I did and I told you that I was in the citrus, cattle and real estate business. Well the citrus business and cattle business aint what bought this stuff. Its the real estate business! But Ive done that because I enjoy that. That has enabled me to continue to enjoy what my family has done for generations and that is agriculture. Otherwise, there aint no way you could ever buy this stuff and keep it in ag. So thats a life style commitment that Ive made, dont know if its smarter or not?
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WM: (laughs) Well how hasyou said that the land appreciation has really gone up in the past five years. What are some other changes that you have seen?
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DC: Ive seen the land prices go up and Ive seen the land usage change. What part of the county do you want to talk about? If you want to talk about the south part of the county, there has been more change in the last five years, from River View, south to the Manatee County Line than there was in the last 500 years. What that change has been is hose agricultural areas, the Dickman Family, the (inaudible) the Ellsburrys, the (inaudible)all of these families that Im naming are no longermost of them are completely out or in a very limited way are still in ag. They all had land that became so valuable that they couldnt stand it. They had an economic opportunity to do something there and have done it. Thats the biggest change weve seen. All of that land use, because its in the urban service area and thats where they want the density and thats where the density has come.
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And you get older generations, and its a generation change. The fathers and grandfathers that bought that land and made a good living growing citrus, or tomatoes, or whatever they were doing, the younger generation comes along and all of a sudden, they couldnt make a living. I will tell you that a man in 1950 that owned a hundred acre orange grove was wealthy individual. I mean he drove a new Cadillac, if thats what he wanted. He was a wealthy individual. A man that owns a hundred acre orange grove today is starving to death. Thats the difference.
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WM: Could you explain?
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DC: Yeah, the cost of the commodity, over the last fifty years has not risen as rapidly as the costs have. In citrus the main cost is the labor. The cost of picking that citrus todayweve had a big increase in citrus prices in the last year. Three years ago, two years ago it took fifty percent of what an orange was worth, just to get it picked. Im not talking about raising it; Im talking about harvesting it. It was that large a part of the gross revenue. Thats changed some, now its probably 35 or 40 percent, but the commoditiesIts just like food in America, its way cheaper today than it was twenty years ago, on a percentage of your income. The net profit is such that you cant make a enough money to keep a hundred acre orange and a family make a living out of it.
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WM: Thats what Ive heard labor is the biggestexpense.
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DC: Labor is the biggest issue. And its going to getweve had the shortest crop weve had in twenty-five years. 150 million boxes of oranges. And were still picking oranges and its the end of June! We should have been through a long time ago. But its a labor issue. Had we had the average 200 million boxes of orange crop, thered be 20, 30 million boxes of oranges that would have never gotten picked. And I dont see that changing based on what I see. Talk about border patrols and things.
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WM: Ive heard talk about trying to develop mechanical harvesters for oranges, but I just dont know if thats
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DC: They have them, butIm not going to say that theyre not successful, most of the fruit is still picked by hand. So that will tell you something.
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WM: You talked about the changes in the south part of the county, what about other parts of the county?
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DC: That was the southwest part of the county. The southeast part of the county is still owned by phosphate industries. As we go north, the Keystone area, thats the northwest nowthe Keystone area all over there on the western side, that land has become developed. Up Van Dyke Road, up Dale Mabry all up in there pricey, pricey, pricey! The land in the Plant City area, the land that was 10,000 dollars an acre, five years ago, is now 40,000 dollars to 50,000 dollars an acre. So its seen a tremendous increase in price. Were seeingget Stephen, he can get this information for you. How many permits have been pulled, how many more houses are in this area for example, than there were five or six years ago. You can run right down this little road here, Moores Lake Road and see all the new houses, little subdivisions springing up everywhere. Its a matter of people wanting to live a little outside of town. Want a little bit of land. They got I-4 to go to town.
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WM: (laughs) They can get on I-4 to sit in traffic.
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DC: Right, thats what you do.
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WM: Thats one of the things that people have talked about; growth in Florida has just amazed everybody. Folks still keep coming.
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DC: They still keep coming. The housing market backed off some. Slowed down some. There will be some slow down, but if you look at the long term, if you look curve, the curve is going to remain going up, when you talk about the density of people moving to Florida. As long as that sun is shining and its snowing up north, people are coming this way.
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WM: (laughs) I can understand that. Well, Ive been throwing these questions at you the past hour, is there anything you want to comment on that I havent asked about?
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DC: I dont think so. I mean youreI think the highlight of what were talking aboutwith land use, youve got to balance property rights issues with issues that are of concern to the general public. The man that owns the land needs to be compensated for it. When we talk about density we talk about the urban service area. We need to realize that the reality is while it may call for a certain amount of density, public outcry will be such that the commission will weaken and that density will not go in those areas to the point that staff has recommended. Youre going to see a continuation of parcelization [sic] properties outside of the urban service area. They are going to continue to get smaller and smaller and smaller.
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Were going to continue to have problems with water. The major problem of water is not the amount but its going to be the distribution and holding of it. How capture the resource, whether it be through desalinization, whether it be through reservoirs? We can only pump so much and weve probably already maxed that out. Weve talked about ag. I guess were going to see a continuation of agriculture. Were going to see a continued increase in dollar amount, but were going to see a change in crops from low density, were talking about citrus, sod, pasture, those things are going to go into foliagenursery, ornamentals if you will and strawberries. Thats where were going to see agriculture go. Its just the nature of the beast. Twenty years from now well still have a vibrant agricultural community in Hillsborough County but it will have a different face. And thats it.
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WM: Well I want to thank you for talking to me. Im sure Ill go back and listen to this and this will raise some more questions.
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DC: What youll do is say, This guy rambled for an hour and he hasnt said anything. (laughs)
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WM: Oh no, I wouldnt say that at all. And when you get the transcript of the interview youll be able to relive this moment I suppose..
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DC: (laughs) Yeah.
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WM: But I always remind people that the information youve shared with me will be deposited at the Special Collection Library at the University of South Florida and well need permission.
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DC: I understand, youve got that. No problem I dont care.
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WM: Also Ive been photographing the folks Ive interviewed. Do you mind if I take your picture?
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DC: No.
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WM: Okay. Well let me turn this thing off.



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C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0

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Land Use Oral History Project Patel Center for Global Solutions University of South Florida Interview with: Mr. Dennis Carlton Interviewed by: William Mansfield Location: Dover, Florida Date: June 27, 2006 Transcribed by: Wm. Mansfield Edited by: W m. Mansfield Audit Edited by: Jessica Merrick Audit Edit Date: November 28, 2007 Final Edit by: Nicole Cox Final Edit Date: December 06, 2007 WM: This is Bill Mansfield from the Patel Center for Global Solutions talking with Mr. Dennis Carlton at his ho me in Dover, Florida on June 27, 2006. We always have people start off by having them state their name and telling us when they were born and where they were born. So let her go. DC: All right, Dennis Carlton. I was born in 1952, Tampa General Hospital. WM: What month? DC: May, May the 14 th DC: A native Floridian. WM: because with canker and everything else it was worth their while to sell off some of their acreage. WM: Chip Hinton said I should talk t o you because you were on the Farm Bureau. [See Chip Hinton interview with Bill Mansfield 2 28 06.]

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2 the Agricultural Economic Development Council. WM: Uh huh. DC: And on the Federal Land Bank Board, which is a leading agricultural leader and also on the Valrico State Bank Board. WM: I guess we can start out talking about the Farm Bureau. My first qu estion on that is, who makes up who are the members of the Farm Bureau in this area? DC: You want the names? WM: (laughs) Not the names and I should say that some of these questions might sound kind of foolish and simple [to you], but I figure a histori an fifty years from now might [be glad I asked them]. DC: (laughs) Okay. The Farm Bureau is all encompassing, in the fact that it [includes] all mm what would be the proper word? I do WM: Advocacy group? DC: Advocacy group, there we go. Because it [represents] all commodities, all agricultural commodities. WM: Uh huh. DC: And part of that uh under that umbrella comes policy, which is made by the membe Tallahassee [Florida] and Washington [DC] and [they] look after the agricultural interest the staff is not off running around doing what they think they need to do, they are instructed by the that thing works. WM: Sounds like the way most things ought to work. and nationally, but tell me what you all do h ere in Hillsborough County, to effect land use policy.

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3 DC: Typically you will find people on most boards, and this is true of the Farm Bureau, are people that are interested, And they are interested in land use, water use, environmental issues, things tha t revolve around the land. Because, obviously, the common denominator amongst all of them is the land. Farm Bureau, on a local level is very active politically. I think part of that is just, obviously, is because of the make up of the board. Over the yea rs [it] has worked diligently to know the different county commissioners; know the legislators, and to interact with them on issues that are important to us. That can be anything from taxation to land use. So uh I guess the big common denominator is that t hey are all landowners true stake in the community. WM: Uh huh. DC: Farm Bureau also has an insurance side, where they sell insurance. A lot of the farming community buys insurance as a member service. WM: But you said, because of the membership well I guess you answered that question, because they are farmers. But is there an member of the Farm Bureau? anyone can be a member of it. But most of the active membership are farmers. Okay? WM: I can imagine, like an equipment dealer wou ld be a member. typically are the true agriculturist. Insurance is a big part of what Farm Bureau does and you have to be a member in order person has to become a member of Farm Bureau in order to buy that insurance. So in that sense you will have a lot of people that are members, but they are not truly the active WM: Okay. How would you describe the average active member? Would you say they are cattle people, citrus people, big farmers, small farmers DC: Woo No. WM: tropical fish farmers DC: All of the above. There is no such thing as average.

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4 WM: Okay. I think about nurserymen. I know one of the past presidents was probably one of the largest nurserymen in Hillsborough find people that want to be engaged and want to make a difference. [People] that are willing to spend some time at it. WM: You said that you worked to get to know the county commissioners? DC: Yeah, the thing is is that the land is owned, at least out in this part of the world, primarily by the agricultural WM: Uh huh. influence on my life (speaking financially) than does my state senator. The reason being is all land uses are local. So everything that happens locally goes through downtown Tampa. [It] goes through the planning commission. [It] goes through the county commission. So, obv commissioners, so that they know who you are and can respect you, so you can have good way. WM: Right. Lobbyists have a bad reputation, but what they do is often educate people DC: Right! Absolutely. WM: So would you say the Farm Bureau helps educate the county commissioners? one of the thin gs that has nothing to do with it and its kind of a side note When you came in you heard me talking on the phone. I was talking about Stephen Gran. [See Stephen Gran interview with Bill Mansfield 6 28 06.] Stephen Gran works for the Hillsborough County Ag ricultural Economic Development Council, [which] is the offshoot of a task force we started in 1996, that dealt with taxation. What that taxation did st tell me.

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5 DC: But the taxation was The general premise of the public is that the farmers get a tax about services. What services were required by the rural community and what the taxes were. dollar worth of taxes sent in to Hillsborough County, we received sixteen cents in services. Well, the first thing t a little bit of sheriff, a little bit of police [protection]. Some education, very little. teach a cow very much. (laughter) financially. It was a very eye opening experience to Hillsborough County. They began to see the importance of agriculture, not only from job creation but also from taxation. Okay? And from that we started the Agricultural Economic Development Council, which In that Council, Stephen Gran keeps the agricultural informed as t Hillsborough County. Sometimes we will have we will be asked occasionally, by the They understand that it supplies open space, water recharge, and wildlife habitat. A ll the things the people of the community want, the ag community supplies at no cost. WM: Uh huh. DC: So those are things that our commission understands, while in most urban settings, the commissioners do not understand. WM: One of the things that Chi p Hinton said was that most people think agricultural land DC: Yeah. they take in terr itory, that increases their tax revenue. DC: My take on that? WM: Yes.

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6 DC: The reality is case. For example, Plant City was wanting to annex a pile of land. They had somebody go a nd if you start incorporating a bunch of [protection], you The homeowner in Hillsborough County [and] take the tax bill, it will not cover the cost for the services it requires. People a heck of ally paying for it assessment. WM: The commercial entity? DC: Warehouses, restaurants, strip [malls]. You know? All of those things [are] what tax revenue WM: How does the Farm Bureau shape the land use policies of the the planning commission. The planning commission do you know, or care to know about land us e or how it operates? WM: Sure that would be great. the people. In this case the people of Hillsborough County have a plan; they send it to DCA, the Department of C remember what it stands for. WM: (laughs) Okay. DC: The Department of Community Affairs. [The plan] goes to Tallahassee and it is either approved, or not approved.

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7 WM: And AR stands for what? DC: AR [agricultural residential] would be one [housing] unit for five acres. WM: Okay. for it. In order to apply for something the Comp plan has to allow for it. For example, in the area where I live the Comp plan calls for one unit per acre. So if I had forty acres, the highest density I could even ask an over lay. From there you go to a zoning [plan]. So you have your Comp plan, with an over lay then use process works. Now when we start talking about shaping policy, Farm Bureau would have some input in some respects, but not typically on the Comp plan. It would be more with the definitions within each category. I got involved in land use issue that dealt with nurseries in a residential area. In trying to come up with a guidelines, I had some input on that and you might want to talk with Stephen about that what they did to come up with some language. Where the Ag Economic Development Council (some of the members that are on that) a lot of the members that are on that [council] are old Farm Bureau members. It just happens to work that way.) But we had an issue with the fruit stands, panhandlers, peddlers, if you will. The county How do we solve it? What do we need to for input from the Ag Economic Development Council. So I would say to you, the Farm Bureau is important but the AEDC is where the C ounty goes for information concerned with agriculture. WM: I guess I was thinking, say they were planning to re zone some area for (speaking our water supply and our zoning regulations?

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8 most people that own land, feel like the other man should, pretty much be able to d o what man goes in there to re zone, everybody in the ne ighborhood is raising Cain about it. They have a different thought way it is. impa ct your property. Commission and speak at the planning commission, in opposition to it. The Planning Commission would then make a recommendation that comes to Hillsborough County. At that point you could talk to your County Commissioners and they could either [give you] a thumbs up or thumbs WM : You talked about how the County Commissioners affect you more than the representative in Tallahassee and in Washington. DC: Absolutely. WM: Tell me more about that. DC: All land issues are local. So any zoning, which gives you the ability to do somet hing with your land, is done on a local basis. So the people you elected to the county commissioners are the ones that approve or deny zoning. Zoning creates value. ell this remember I talked about the Comp Plan? WM: Uh huh. within the urban servi When we go to zone it we go down to the county commission and everybody speaks and

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9 Not always but most of the time.) When it gets down there the public sentiment will drive the Commission to, almost always give less density. So, Comp Plan, when it gets time if it is one unit to five acres, or ten units to the acres. Nobody wants it to happen. They want to be ant to see more density. When I say that I think, home builders associations. tand up and say WM: Great. DC: We had a piece of land in downtown Brandon. It was approximately 100 acres. It had development on four sides. It is what is considered an in fill piece. It was a beautiful piece of land. When we wanted to sell it, and it was time to zone it, the county staff recommended so many units [per acre]. We had a tremendous neighborhood outcry. People left it like [it was]. They wanted the Parks Department to make a park out of it. They wanted one unit absolutely no support [for this] within the community. The reason being more traffic, it absolutely did, but it was in an area [ where] growth is supposed to take place. But we got pretty good density on it, and sold it. But my point is everybody that lived in those subdivisions lived on a piece of land, just typical of what you see. I understand that. people have property You try to plan and do the best you can for it. WM: Now in that example that you just gave, was that you as a realtor selling that land?

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10 DC: No. It was land we owned. WM: Okay. So the loca l people were against it, but it was in your interests to sell it with denser population on it? DC: Yeah. Density creates value, within a certain reason. In that case we were in an area surrounded by subdivisions. Well, the highest and best use, the most appropriate use for the point that I was really trying to make was, while the urban service area calls for a certain density, that is not what always takes place, bec ause of the outcry of the different issue. WM: (laughs) I appreciate you bringing that up, because that puts faces on [what is often an anonymous drama]. Tell me, in more deta il, about the hearings that took place. DC: We had tremendous opposition, so we had town hall meetings, to get with the neighbors to try come up with some resolution. And basically what it was, was trying to negotiate something that made everybody happy. Which we, obviously, did not do. WM: Uh huh. DC: What we did was take some density and put it inside the subdivision and had the bigger lots on the outside of the subdivision. Just some planning techniques that are pretty common. We do [that] all the tim e any way. WM: Kind of creating a buffer? always have the people (and I just did a rezoning up north of here, a classic case.) You do the buffer and all; they still go land for 70 or 80 years. A lot of the neighbors that were complaining about it were on WM: Change is h ard to take. DC: Yeah, change is a hard thing. WM: The people who came to oppose this, did they have any kind of organization?

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11 DC: Oh yes. Oh yes. They hired a lawyer in this case. WM: Was it like a homeowners association? DC: What it is, is a group of people will get together and kind of form and this is a good thing, p rovided the motive is right. Get together and come forth with a plan, or come forth on an issue. Now what happens with those things, and this is a whole different issue, is anybody can speak before the commission and say anything you want to say. I mean you can say the For those kinds of organizations people will get up and make very general, broad based statements that are not correct. DC: Absolutely. Absolutely. And some of them will come forth as though they are facts, They will state their opinion as though it were fact. WM: When something is important to you like that it can cloud [your thoughts]. DC: Yeah, that happens sometimes. zoning here in the county, or working on it? Could you tell me about that? DC: Absolutely. WM: Okay. DC: [I] had a forty five acre tract that was in a Comp plan of one unit p er acre, which would allow you to ask for up to forty that I hired came up with forty units, which is less than the [maximum] but very acceptable. Had the lay out. We had tremendous opposition from the neighborhood.

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12 This was for ty allows bigger lots here, smaller lots there. The interior, ones like we talked about are would be the width, or wider than all of the adjacent lots. Lots in the middle are smaller. The word got out on the street that there were going to be ninety lots! replie This thing took on a life of its own. The [Tampa] Tribune even wrote an article. Wrote two or three articles. Never did get it correct! Never did get it correct! [They were] talking about the number of lots in this subdivision and what was taki ng place. [bother me]. What happened is what happened. But it was interesting at the zoning [hearing]. This lady came up to me and was just chewing me out. in this subdivi many lots there were. But she was mad. Everybody was upset. And you could n ot get the truth. You could not make them understand what the truth was. They were angry. They doing. We never did make them happy. It ended up [getting] approved for th irty six lots. The reason for thirty six lots? Because there were a lot of people there complaining. And the Zoning Hearing just [cut] it, by just a little and make zoning] because it met all of the requirements. agencies were fine with it. The zoning staff recommended approval for forty lots. But at the end of the day, I still lost four lots. Still lost some density. Tape 1, side 1ends; side 2 begins.

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13 always whittle at you on the density. WM it made no difference, because the man who owned it understood you needed a density and he cut the price. So, that came directly out of his pocket. I was a little upset with it was absolutely arbitrary. It should not have been done. There was no claim. Nobody ever gave any reason for why, thirty six was the right number and W M: It sounds like they were throwing a sop to the people who objected. DC: Absolutely. Because all of the lots on the outside were going to be the same width or lot subdivision or this looks like a forty this makes the comm department DC: These are all people who make comments in reference to a project, whether [or not] e mentioned. WM: So they all weigh in, to the decision? DC: Yes. WM: And then public sentiment comes into it too? DC: Right. WM: What about, I was talking to Mr. Hugh Gramling [See Hugh Gramling interview with Bill Mansfield 6 26 06] and he was talkin g about water usage as being ah check and balance on development and agriculture too, for that matter.

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14 DC: Yeah. The Southwest [Florida] Water Management District is in charge. Originally it ll of our water is metered. There are certain areas of the county where you cannot get any water. There is an ongoing challenge to agriculture to have enough water. The Water Management what the facts are) trying to cut the amount of water that agriculture has [access to]. I base that on the fact that any time you change a commodity, you automatically lose 10 ercent reduction because of the change. DC: Citrus to strawberries. WM: Okay. whack you, period. WM: So if percent [of your water]? goes with this. In certain areas now you may lose 10 percent of yo ur permit, but you might get a permit to drill another well, for some more water. Okay? Or you might not, depending on the location where you are. But in south [Hillsborough] get any Now you can transfer water. I told you that when you change commodities you lose 10 properties and just take it all over here. Ah of the water in the world. It rains fifty We have a phobia about wastewater in the sense that nobody wants to drink the water that comes from any kind of wastewater. I will tell been when you start at the top of the Mississippi and by the time it gets to the Gulf [of WM: (laughs)

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15 water comes in, and another on the other side, where they treat it and put it back in. But here in Florida, at er has been pumped out. DC: Salt water intrusion, yes. DC: Dropping. DC: Municipalities, agriculture and mining [are] the big users of the water. I thin k the municipalities use more water than anybody does now. The problem we have had, and environmental issues. They pumped all the water that was used for municipalitie s came from ground water. Now with the new reservoir, with the desalinization plant, some of that is changing. came [from]. We just sucked it dry. WM: Uh huh DC: All o up being. WM: It seems like that the agricultural interest, there is sort of an adversarial relationship between the agricultural interest in water and the expanding municipalities. DC: Uh ike Gerald Davis now) but they will come out in a rural area and buy an acre of land, put a well that big [holds up hands to indicate a large well] in there and suck all of the water from out of the rial situation has really come in.

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16 WM: Chip Hinton said that was somethin g that helped organize DC: What it did out in this area is it helped organize the farmers. [They] had to get is worth nothing. WM: (laughs) you have all that labor in the packing hou ses. Ah pe ople. All the jobbers that make it work. they want to do. Industry gets a lot more support than agriculture does and that always puzzled me. DC: Yes. You made a statement earlier on, that people look at the land and think you the strawberry field over there and that stuff. Well there are other things I could do with o. That gets to be a personal choice. WM: Uh huh. But I guess its like Chip Hinton said there is sort of a natural bias against agriculture. DC: Yes, I would say that is true. WM: Who would you say are the different groups working [to] affect land use ? I mean the Farm Bureau is one. The homebuilders association would be another. DC: The Sierra Club would be one. WM: Uh huh.

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17 owners, big landowners. Robert Thomas would be one. Robert had worked on some land Keystone Civic Association, the Balm, Se ffner, all have associations that have a lot to say about land use. The homebuilders association understands the issues and they understand how it works. it. WM: Uh huh. DC: Absolutely. WM: Part of it is people move out to the country to get away from the city and DC: The city comes to them. nothing more after that. DC: Right! WM; I want to ask this, before I forget, but the homebuilders association, who would be a good person to talk to in the homebuilders association? DC: Ah WM: Okay. One of the problems I have is trying to pronounce names. DC: Oh, this one is [difficult]. WM: What do you see happening in Hillsborough County? How do you see the growth and land planning playing out? DC: (sighs) The urban service area is going to continue to get the majority of the density. ks down into two categories.

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18 The first one in the area that is zoned one unit per acre, which is all of that [area] between Tampa and Plant City. Okay. I should have said Brandon and Plant City. That land is going to continue to be busted up and sold in one acre tracts as fast as people can make them. As fast as the demand will allow. The land out in the rural areas is going to be developed in those long thin five where people live. DC: And if a ma n wants to live out in the woods, out in the AR category (one to five units per acre) and have a few horses and cows es, build a house and just let the rest of it grow up. WM: Uh huh. you will continue to see smaller and smaller and smaller parcels [of land]. seen is and I acreage, that are now little acreage. A hundred acre parcel in south Hillsborough County is a pretty big parcel. At one time that would have been cons idered a very small one. If you take out what the phosphate companies own, the rest of that land is rapidly being urbanized, in sprawl five acre blocks. WM: How do you see co ntrolling that? there. There are things that can be done, and they are doing some of this in Pasco County. ugh issue. That deals with clustering density. acre block and put acre home sites on d do some things like that.

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19 But even with that, the problem is everything needs to get back to economics. And when the guy transfers his density he could, if he sold it in five acre blocks. So DC: Sure. it reaches a point where the individual property rights begin to affect the collective. DC: Absolutely. WM: So densities. Whatever is done needs to be economically based, incentive based. ever been able to make this work. But to take density for example, they talk about density credits, a man selling his density down in a rural ar ea for a guy to take it into an urban density and come out whole. He g ood [answer] for that. much water. out example. WM: Okay. DC: If I give you a glass of water that came out of the ground, when you flushed the toilet in there a little while ago, that water came out from up the hill there, a couple of hundred yards. And it w ent back in the ground right here by the house. You just borrowed a little bit of [water] for a while.

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20 Where you live in Tampa, when you flush [the toilet] it goes to the treatment plant, a long way off and [it] either ends up as reclaimed water somewher by pass canal. Well, n back in the ground. So that part of it is a little different. [a solution]. DC: will. me make sur Tallahassee and they approve of it. DC: Uh huh. WM: Who makes those decisions? How does that work? DC: The planning staff. W M: The planning staff? DC: Yeah. WM: And they come out of the county commissioners? They are part of county government? DC: Right. They are educated planners that, I guess take input from citizens. At least ey take. WM: (laughter)

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21 DC: Then [they] come up with recommendations for a plan. WM: Uh huh. DC: Some of that stuff gets to be very academic and not very practical. Gran? WM: You said that he [Stephen Gran] worked hard and knew what he was talking about. DC: Basically, what I was saying, and I think I told the man, Stephen can take information, discern facts from fiction. In other words, if somebody is blowing smok e. And take that information and make practical use out of it. There is a great deal of difference between idealistic issues and realistic things. Planners, sometimes, can get very idealistic and not very realistic. Ah and sometimes that gets to be an issu e. DC: Absolutely. WM: Sometimes that does get to be confusing. people. Typically planners have very litt know that they are supposed to, okay? But I would say that they have very little appreciation for them. They are drawing lines on a map and those lines have tremendous impact on people, economically. And the DC: Very abstract! ultimately benefited people. It [helped] organize the farmers and who had peo ple participating in democracy. WM: You were talking about things are going to keep getting smaller. That the urban service area, the rural area would be divided up into small er lots, rather the zoned land would be cut up into smaller and smaller lots. DC: Absolutely. Smaller pieces of property. The big parcels you see this right now. Our land has appreciated in the last three or four years.

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22 No, le in value. Now all of a sudden Obviously commodity prices (strawberries, orange s, etc.) some of them have gone up, some of them have gone down return on your assets (Your ROA [rate of return]) have really shrunk. So you take a man million dollars, that was worth four hundred thousand dollars, five or six years ago? WM: Some of the orange growers I talked to said the exact same thing. They hated to sell bu t in a way they had to. It was the best opportunity they had. DC: Right. WM: You said that the ROA. That stands for? DC: Return on assets. DC: Agriculture, the dollar volume will continue to increase. The land base will conti nue to shrink. What will happen [is] you will see a conversion from low intensity agriculture, citrus low intensity. Those commodities are going to leave. Hugh Gra are going to take over (that being the strawberries and foliage people, nursery people). chance

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23 grove or lease it to a berry growe r. But it will stay in agriculture. WM: I interviewed Mike Lott [see Mike Lott interview with Bill Mansfield 6 23 06] He the citrus, cattle That has enabled me to continue to enjoy what my family has done for generations and that is agriculture. Otherwise, ther smarter [chuckles].) WM: (laughs) Well how has you said that the land appreciation has really gone up in the past five years. What are some other changes that you have seen? What part of the county do you want to talk about? If you want to talk about the south part of the county, the re has been more change in the last five years, from River View, south to the Manatee County Line than there was in the last five hundred years. What that change has been is hose agricultural areas, the [?Dickman?] Family, the ?], the [?Councils?] are no longer in agriculture. (Some are still farming in a limited way, but most of them stand it. They h ad an economic opportunity to do something there and have done it. come. a generation change. The fathers and grandfathers that bought that land and made a good living growing citrus, or tomatoes, or whatever they were doing, the I will tell you t hat a man in 1950 that owned a hundred acre orange grove was [a] wealthy individual. A man that owns a hundred acre orange grove today is starving to death. difference.

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24 WM: Could you explain that? DC: Yeah, the cost of the commodity, over the last fifty years has not risen as rapidly as the costs have. In citrus the main cost is the labor. The cost of picking that citrus today itrus prices in the last year. Three years ago, two years ago revenue. That five or forty percent, but the commodities enough mon ey to keep a hundred acre orange and make a living out of it. expense. five years. One h undred fifty million boxes of oranges. And y million boxes of oranges that would have never Talk about border patrols and things. DC: They have them, but Tape 1 ends; tape 2 begins. DC: most of the fruit is still picked by hand. So that will tell you something. WM: You talked about the changes in the s outh part of the county, what about other parts of the county? DC: That was the southwest part of the county. The southeast part of the county is still now) the Keysto ne area all over there on the western side, that land has become pricey!

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25 The land in the Plant City area, the land that was $10,000 an acre, five years ago, is now $40,000 Ask Stephen [Gran], he can get this information for you. How many permits have been pulled, how many more houses are in this area, than there were five or six years ago. You ca live a little outside of town. [They] want a little bit of land. They got I 4 to go to to wn. WM: (laughs) They can get on I 4 to sit in traffic. amazed everybody. Folks still keep coming. DC: They still keep coming. The hou sing market backed off some. Slowed down some. There will be some slow down, but if you look at the long term, if you look curve, the curve is going to remain pffft [makes a whistling sound to indicate rapid acceleration] going up, when you talk about the density of people moving to Florida. As long as that WM: (laughs) I can understand that. to co to the general public. The man that owns the land needs to be compensated for it. When we talk about density we talk about the urban service area. We need to realize that the reality is while it may call for a certain amount of density, public outcry will be such that the [county] commission w ill weaken and that density will not go in those areas to up] of properties outside of the urban service area. They are going to continue to get smaller and smaller and smaller. the resource, whether it be through desalinization, whether it be th rough reservoirs? We e a

PAGE 27

26 are going to go into foliage Twenty yea and this will raise some m ore questions. (laughs) DC: (laughs) Yea h. need permission. your picture? DC: No. WM: Okay. Well let me turn this off. End of interview


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