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Crist signs bill benefiting Port Manatee


A bill that Gov. Charlie Crist signed Friday exempts Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) within three miles of Port Manatee's boundary.

The new law extends port DRI exemption privileges to within a three-mile radius of the port, which the port said will spare qualified developments a years-long process of permitting. In a news release, the port said that will speed up new projects.

In Florida, projects reaching certain thresholds of acreage, square footage, land use and parking spaces can trigger a DRI review. The review takes a long time and includes reviews by local, regional and state planning agencies. The port said in the release that the new law will enable it to attract new industries and distribution centers to the new Port Manatee Encouragement Zone.

The governor's action follows the May 19 passage of a Manatee County ordinance exempting 50 percent of local transportation impact fees on developments within the county and the encouragement zone. Other Manatee County economic incentives provide qualified developments with additional impact fee relief of up to 100 percent, the release said.

On May 18, Port Manatee signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Panama Canal Authority to share information and participate in joint marketing efforts to increase business opportunities for each organization.

 "The governor's support creates huge momentum to advance Port Manatee's future in containerized shipping," said David L. McDonald, the port's executive director, in a press release. "Sen. Mike Bennett and Reps. Ron Reagan and Bill Galvano understand the benefits this offers the port and the region to bring in new businesses and create new jobs, and we thank them for their leadership."


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