Florida in brief

News of note.

Published July 21, 2006

Sierra Club, developer end Babcock Ranch dispute

TALLAHASSEE - The Sierra Club settled its administrative law challenge against a developer Thursday to clear the way for the state to buy 74,000 acres of Babcock Ranch in southwest Florida for $310-million.

The environmental group dropped its demand for lower density limits for 17,000 acres of the ranch that would remain in private hands. That property is to be developed as a new city including businesses, offices, schools and about 19,000 residential units.

In exchange, developer Syd Kitson agreed to alter parts of the development to reduce sprawl and increase the size of a wildlife corridor, improve wastewater treatment and require energy-efficient development.

Several other environmental groups had opposed the Sierra Club challenge, fearing it might kill the conservation lands purchase.

State workers union endorses Lee in CFO race

TALLAHASSEE - The union representing most state employees is endorsing Republican Tom Lee in the race for state chief financial officer, saying state workers got more respect from lawmakers during Lee's tenure as Senate president.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees traditionally has endorsed Democrats. Union president Jeanette Wynn said the Lee endorsement doesn't necessarily reflect badly on the Democrat seeking the seat, Tampa businesswoman Alex Sink.

"We were able to talk to him," Wynn said of Lee. "It was one of the best years we've had in a while."