Florida in 2070: Development will dominate, report warns

South Florida's growth is projected to span south of Lake Okeechobee.

South Florida’s growth is forecast to span area south of Lake Okeechobee.

Florida in 2070 will be a state brimming with almost 34 million residents — 70 percent more than currently — but with many of the same growth problems, a statewide management organization concludes in a report released today.

Balancing development against nature preserves and farmland will be a recurring theme of the next half-century, 1000 Friends of Florida says in its Florida 2070 report.

But the organization maintains that through smart growth management, there is a way to lower the trajectory Florida is on, which puts on course to having one-third of the state developed, up from less than 19 percent during the report’s 2010 baseline year.

If  many residents are already feeling the pressures of crowded roads, neighborhoods and schools, there is certainly more to come, the report shows.

But 1000 Friends argues that by relying on a more compact pattern of development and increasing the state’s protected land holdings, the percentage of Florida under development can be held to 28 percent in 2070.

South Florida, so long home to rapid growth, is projected as slowing in coming years, relative to the rest of the state.

Within South Florida, the most dramatic potential changes in 2070 can be seen in the areas south of Lake Okeechobee, including in Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades counties, as well as in Lee and Collier counties, the report finds.

Still, land devoted to cities and suburbia in the region should cap at 30 percent of the region — below the state’s 34 percent average, analysts said.

The area of most overwhelming growth in the next half-century? Central Florida.

By 2070, almost half the region from Tampa to Daytona Beach will be devoted to roads, homes, and the other trappings of development, 1,000 Friends forecasts.

Wall Street bullish on rising property values in Florida

Taxes from real estate transactions are climbing back to recession high.
Taxes from real estate transactions are climbing back to recession high.

While an algae outbreak threatens the Treasure Coast and a spike in sprawling, huge development projects across Florida raises questions about growth management, Wall Street is bullish on rising property values seen across the state.

A new report by Moody’s Investor services concludes most Florida counties “will continue to benefit from robust property value growth, increasing financial stability, and expanding employment opportunities.”

Moody’s rates 31 of Florida’s 67 counties, but those it covers include 82 percent of the state’s population. Palm Beach County is among 11 counties where property values have jumped more than 20 percent since 2012 — after flattening during the recession.

But as LL Cool J once sang, “don’t call it a comeback” or, at least not completely.

Palm Beach has reached between 85 percent and 95 percent of its pre-recession peak assessed value mark, with two-thirds of Florida’s Moody’s rated counties in Florida now at least 75 percent back to its highest level.

Just last week, The Post reported that taxable property values in the county and its cities jumped nearly 10 percent this year over last, exceeding the $150 billion mark for the first time since 2008.

Miami-Dade, Orange and Alachua counties, though, have already reached 100 percent their pre-recession peak, and Sumter County, home to the retirement mecca The Villages and other communities, is at 150 percent of its pre-crash high, Moody’s found.