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The 2013 Florida Legislature passed several growth management bills during its regular session that ended May 3, 2013. We have identified and summarized those that will be of interest to our clients and others interested in land use and development in Florida.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact an attorney on Gunster’s environmental and land use team.

SB 374 (Growth Management – comprehensive plan amendment referenda)

SB 374 modifies Section 163.3187, Florida Statutes, as it relates to the initiative or referendum process for local government comprehensive plan and map amendments.

The bill mainly concerns the Town of Longboat Key. Currently, Section 163.3187, Florida Statutes, prohibits local government initiative or referendum processes relating to comprehensive plan amendments or map amendments, with one exception. This exception allows initiative or referendum processes (i) in effect on June 1, 2011, (ii) affecting more than five parcels of land and (iii) that were expressly authorized in a local government charter, to remain in place.

SB 374 removes from this exception the requirement that the initiative/referendum process must affect more than five parcels of land because the Town of Longboat Key’s charter provision regarding comprehensive plan amendments would otherwise have inadvertently been invalidated.

This bill will take effect upon approval of the governor.

SB 1070 (Fuel Terminals)

SB 1070 creates new Section 163.3206, Florida Statutes, to prohibit a local government from enacting land use provisions that could result in an existing fuel terminal being classified as a nonconforming use.

After July 1, 2014, no local government may amend its comprehensive plan, future land use map, or land development regulations to classify an existing fuel terminal as nonconforming.

In addition, SB 1070 provides that if a fuel terminal is destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster, a local government must allow the repair (in a timely manner) of the fuel terminal to the capacity that existed before the natural disaster.

SB 1070 is not intended to preempt a local government’s ability to adopt and enforce the federal and state requirements related to fuel terminals, including safety and building standards, and its own safety and building standards. A local government’s authority may not conflict with federal or state fuel terminal safety and security requirements.

If approved by the governor, this bill takes effect on July 1, 2014.

HB 7023 (Economic Development – land use modifications & permit extensions)

HB 7023 is an economic development bill. It provides for an additional exemption under the Development of Regional Impact (“DRI”) aggregation rules in Section 380.0651, Florida Statutes.

The exemption would allow developments located in a county or municipality that qualifies as a dense urban land area (“DULA”) under Section 380.06(29), Florida Statutes, from being aggregated for DRI purposes. The classification of a local government as a DULA allows projects located within the jurisdiction that would otherwise be required to undergo DRI review to be exempt from this review. The effect of this change will be to allow existing DRIs located in DULAs from being aggregated with another development under 380.0651, Florida Statutes.

HB 7023 also provides for another two-year extension to certain permits and local development orders.

Any local government development order; building permit, including certificates of levels of service; and DEP or WMD permits issued per Chapter 373, part IV, Florida Statutes, that expire between January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2016, are extended and renewed for two years. This extension cannot be combined with extensions approved under section 14, Chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida, as reauthorized by section 47, Chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida; section 46, Chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida; section 73 or 79 of Chapter 2011-139, Laws of Florida; or section 24 of Chapter 2012-205, Laws of Florida, if the extensions, when combined, exceed four years in total. Also, development orders extended under Section 380.06(19)(c)2, Florida Statutes, cannot be further extended under HB 7023.

The permit holder must notify the appropriate agency or local government by December 31, 2014, that it intends to extend the permit for two years under this bill.

The bill also renames “rural areas of critical economic concern” to “rural areas of opportunity.”

If approved by the governor, the bill takes effect July 1, 2014.

This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

Established in 1925, Gunster is one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service law firms. The firm’s clients include international, national and local businesses, institutions, local governments and prominent individuals. Gunster maintains its presence in Florida with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. Gunster is home to more than 150 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, providing counsel to clients through 18 practice groups including banking & financial services; business litigation; construction; corporate; environmental & land use; government affairs; health care; immigration; international; labor & employment; leisure & resorts; private wealth services; probate, trust & guardianship litigation; professional malpractice; real estate; securities and corporate governance; tax; and technology & entrepreneurial companies. Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 350 largest law firms.

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