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Summary of some of the major changes to the Florida growth management statutes

The following is a summary of some of the major changes made by the 2011 Florida legislature to the state’s growth management laws. Most are from by HB 7207, which is now Chapter 2011-139, Laws of Florida.

  • Name. The name of the part II, chapter 163 act is changed from the “Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act” to the “Community Planning Act.” §163.3161(1), F.S. This reflects the shift from State oversight to local government control of the planning and growth management process. The State’s new role is to focus on “protecting the functions of important state resources and facilities.” §163.3161(3), F.S.
  • Purpose. The Act’s purpose moves from “control future development” to “manage future development consistent with the proper role of local government.” §163.3161(2), F.S. A new purpose statement focuses on recognizing and protecting “the traditional economic base of the state, agriculture, tourism, and military presence” while also encouraging “economic diversification, workforce development, and community planning.” §163.3161(11), F.S. See also this Article for more on the purpose statements of the act.
  • Comprehensive Plans and Plan Amendments.
    1. Contents of Comprehensive Plans. The requirements for what a comprehensive plan must contain are substantially rewritten, but are not as completely different as they would appear to be. Much of what appears to be new language is language moved, with some modifications, from other sections or subsections or is from the rules of chapter 9J-5, Florida Administrative Code (which has been repealed). See the Requirements for Florida comprehensive plans article for more details.
    2. Plan Amendment Process. See the article Process for review and adoption of plan amendments.”
      1. Twice a year limit. The limit restricting plan amendments to no more than twice a year is deleted. Previous §163.3187(1)(a), F.S.
      2. Expedited state review process. An expedited state review process, based on the previous §163.32465(2) pilot program, is added. This expedited process applies to all plan amendments except small scale amendment (which may be processed under this process or under the provisions of §163.3187) and plan amendments in an area of critical state concern, that propose a rural land stewardship area or a sector plan, that update the comprehensive plan based on a §163.3191 evaluation and appraisal, or that are for a new plan for a newly incorporated municipality. These other exceptions must follow the “State coordinated review process.” §163.3184(2) and (3), F.S. See the article Process for review and adoption of plan amendments for more.
      3. Administrative challenges. The language of former §163.3184(9) and (10) is replaced by §163.3184(5), which is new language. The definition of an “affected person” did not change. See the article Process for review and adoption of plan amendments for more.
      4. Compliance Agreements. The language of §163.3184(6)(a), F.S., is new, but borrows heavily from the previous §163.3184(16), F.S., it replaces.
      5. Small scale plan amendments. The provisions of §163.3187, F.S., are changed from directing how all plan amendments are process to just addressing the process for small scale plan amendments. See the article Process for review and adoption of plan amendments for more.
    3. Timing of Implementation. The local government’s comprehensive plan does not have to be amended to implement the new statutory requirements until the next evaluation and appraisal period, unless otherwise specifically required, but all new plan amendments must comply with the new requirements. §163.3161(12), F.S.
    4. Evaluation and appraisal review. The “R” in the “EAR” process now stands for “Review” rather than “Report;” the new EARs process shifts the evaluation and appraisal process from a formal mandated audit report on the comprehensive plan, scrutinized by the state land planning agency, to a less formal review by the local government of whether changes are needed to meet state laws and to reflect the local assessment of needed changes. See the article Evaluation and appraisal review for more.
  • Concurrency. See the article Concurrency for more details.
    1. Premise of concurrency. The premise of concurrency is shifted away from an emphasis on public facilities being available concurrent with development to their being provided so as to achieve and maintain the adopted level of service standards.
    2. Transportation facilities, schools, and parks and recreation. Concurrency for transportation facilities, schools, and parks and recreation is now optional; these facilities are removed as public facilities and services subject to the statutory concurrency requirements on a statewide basis. §163.3180(1), F.S. They may, however, be optionally included in a local government’s concurrency requirements, by the local government’s actions. §163.3180(1), F.S. To rescind any existing concurrency provisions on these now optional concurrency facilities requires a comprehensive plan amendment, but the amendment is not subject to state review. §163.3180(1)(a), F.S.
  • Repeal of rules 9J-5 and 9J-11.023, Florida Administrative Code. The rules of chapter 9J-5 and §9J-11.023, Florida Administrative Code, are repealed and are to be removed from the Florida Administrative Code. §72, 2011-39 Laws of Florida (HB 7207). Some of the rules of chapter 9J-5 have been integrated into the new statute language.
  • Planning Innovations. A new section, §163.3168, F.S., was added to address the concept of innovative planning techniques, which local governments are encouraged to apply. The techniques include addressing future new development areas through visioning, sector planning and rural land stewardship areas and, in urban areas, using urban service area designations, urban growth boundaries, and mixed-use, high density development concepts. §163.3168(2), F.S. See the article Planning Innovations for more details.
  • Sector Plans. The demonstration project “optional sector plan” process of §163.3245, F.S., is now a full scale option to DRI reviews for large acreage (at least 15,000 acres) projects, which can be initiated at the local level, rather than through an agreement with the state land planning agency. See the article Sector Plans for more details.
  • Rural land stewardship areas. Section 163.3248, F.S., is a new section created, in large part, from provisions in previous §163.3177(d).  See the articleRural land stewardship areas for more details.
  • Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs).
    1. DRI thresholds. The DRI “statewide guidelines and standards” thresholds changed for several uses. §380.0651(3), F.S.
    2. Substantial deviation thresholds. The thresholds for when a change to a previously approved DRI will constitute a substantial deviation were changed or deleted for several uses. §380.06(19)(b), F.S.
    3. Date extensions. At the developer’s option, all commencement, phase, buildout, and expiration dates for valid DRIs are extended for four years, regardless of any previous extensions. Associated mitigation requirements may also be extended in many situations. The developer must notify the local government in writing by December 31, 2011 to receive the extension. §380.06(19)(c)2., F.S.
    4. Exemptions from the DRI process.
      1. Two new exemptions were added: new, additions to, or expansions of solid mineral mines, if certain requirements are met, and any development in an energy economic zone designated by §377.809, F.S. §380.06(24)(t) and (w), F.S.
      2. Notwithstanding any agreements that say otherwise, any project no longer subject to DRI review under the revised thresholds is not required to undergo such a review. §380.06(24)(u), F.S.
      3. Significant changes were made to the exemption for dense urban land areas section. §380.06(29), F.S.
  • Referendums prohibited. All initiatives or referendums on a development order or comprehensive plan amendment, not just those affecting five or fewer parcels, are prohibited. §163.3167(8), F.S.
  • Public school interlocal agreements. No new language was added to §163.31777, F.S.; the process was significantly simplified. See the article Public school interlocal agreements” for more details.
  • Local government joint agreements. Section 163.3171(4), F.S., was amended to take the state land planning agency out of the joint agreement process (it cannot enter into joint agreements and is prohibited from interpreting, invalidating or declaring the joint agreements inoperative) and to expand the scope of joint agreements and what they can include.
  • Permit extensions
    1. Any permit or authorization that was extended under section 14 of chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida (as reauthorized by section 47 of chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida) is extended and renewed for an additional two year period, for a total of four years, if the holder of the permit notifies the authorizing agency in writing by December 31, 2011. §§ 73(1) and (3), 2011-39 Laws of Florida (HB 7207).
    2. A separate permit extension was provided, “in recognition of 2011 real estate market conditions,” extending “any building permit, and any permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or by a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes, which has an expiration date from January 1, 2012, through January 1, 2014,” and also “any local government-issued development order or building permit” (including certificates of levels of service), for a period of 2 years after its previously scheduled date of expiration. § 79(1), 2011-39 Laws of Florida (HB 7207). This extension is in addition to any existing permit extension, but cannot exceed four years total. (§ 79(1), 2011-39 Laws of Florida (HB 7207). To get this extension, the holder of such a permit or other authorization must notify the authorizing agency in writing by December 31, 2011. (§ 79(3), 2011-39 Laws of Florida (HB 7207)
    3. There are many provisos and limitations on these extensions. See the article Other, non-statute, provisions of HB 7207 for more details.
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Other, non-statute, changes made by HB 7207

In addition to the many direct changes it makes to the Florida Statutes, HB 7207 makes several other significant changes. These changes include:

  • Repeal of rules 9J-5 and 9J-11.023, Florida Administrative Code
  • Permit extensions
  • Addressing pending administrative or judicial proceedings under statute changes
  • Existing voter referendum comprehensive plan amendments
  • DoT report on calculation of proportionate share contribution
  • House bill 7207 effective date
  1. Rules 9J-5 and 9J-11.023, Florida Administrative Code, are repealed and are to be removed from the Florida Administrative Code. (§ 72, HB 7207)
  2. Permit extensions. See here – Permit Extensions– for the bill language.
    1. Any permit or other authorization that was extended under section 14 of chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida (as reauthorized by section 47 of chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida) is extended and renewed for an additional period of 2 years after its previously scheduled expiration date. (§ 73(1), HB 7207)
      1. This extension is in addition to the 2-year permit extension provided under section 14 of chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida. (§ 73(1), HB 7207)
      2. Permits that were extended by a total of 4 years pursuant to section 14 of chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida and by section 46 of chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida, cannot be further extended under this provision. (§ 73(1), HB 7207)
      3. The holder of a valid permit or other authorization that is eligible for the 2-year extension shall notify the authorizing agency in writing by December 31, 2011, identifying the specific authorization for which the holder intends to use the extension and the anticipated timeframe for acting on the authorization. (§ 73(3), HB 7207)

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