Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amendment 1 Is Key to Preserving Old Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amendment 1 Is Key to Preserving Old Florida

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

Voters will set the course of Florida's future on Nov. 4.

That's certainly the case when choosing the next governor.

But just as important, perhaps even more so, is what voters decide on Amendment 1.

If 60 percent of voters approve it, the amendment will create a constitutional guarantee that about $10 billion will be available over the next 20 years to preserve and restore environmentally sensitive lands and water resources.

It would accomplish that by dedicating one-third of the revenue from the documentary stamp tax already collected on real estate transactions.

The current governor and Legislature have not followed the political leaders of the past who provided the money necessary to protect Florida's natural resources.

Passage of Amendment 1 would take that out of their hands.

We have a prime example of why that's important in our own backyard.

In the early 1980s, Herb Peyton and his Gate Petroleum Co. completed a real estate deal that included purchase of what's now the Guana state park and wildlife management area.

He could have developed Guana, but instead Peyton sold it to the state for just under $50 million.

The deal for the 13,000 acres included 4.8 miles of oceanfront property, 12 miles of Intracoastal Canal frontage and 16 miles fronting Guana River and Guana Lake.

That waterfront property alone would be worth more than $1 billion today.

Guana could have easily been developed with exclusive condo and housing projects. Instead we are blessed to have one of the most spectacularly beautiful pieces of publicly-owned property in the state for all to enjoy.

At the time, Peyton said that preserving Guana in its natural state was the right thing to do.

And the deal was able to be done because the state had the money set aside to purchase such properties. …

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