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Tropical showcase gets a price break

The city of Miami won a 50 percent cut Tuesday in the lease payments it will make to the state when Parrot Jungle and Gardens moves to public land in Biscayne Bay.

City negotiators originally agreed to pay the state 15 percent of the rent it collects when the 60-year-old suburban tourist attraction moves to Watson Island off downtown Miami.

But the Miami City Commission rejected the rate negotiated by the Holland & Knight law firm and pushed for 7.5 percent _ about $26,000 a year.

Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Cabinet approved the lower rate on a voice vote Tuesday, though Chiles urged holding out for a higher percentage.

"I think they are being a little piggy," Chiles said.

Parrot Jungle proposes to begin work in 1997 on a $26-million tropical showcase with more than 1,000 birds, 1-million topical plants and palms, a 500-seat terrarium theater, an Everglades exhibit and a baby bird nursery and hatchery.

One change is made before growth reined in

TALLAHASSEE _ Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Cabinet voted to allow commercial development on 1,400 acres near Fort Myers' airport before approving a growth-management plan Tuesday that puts a tight rein on other Lee County development.

Growth-management restrictions adopted in 1989 had limited the land near the airport to one building per 10 acres for groundwater protection.

But Lee County officials want the land available for commercial use so they can promote trade and try to reduce economic dependence on tourism, said Kenneth Oertel, an attorney representing the county.

The growth plan for the county was recommended by the Department of Community Affairs.