| Sprawl Bill Advances Despite Environmental Concerns|
|HB 0439, Land Use and Development Regulations, by Rep. McClain (R-Ocala), and its Senate companion, SB 1604, by Sen. Ingoglia (R-Springhill), have been racing towards passage, with substantial amendments as they’ve gone through their committees of reference. The original versions of the bills had several elements of concern for smart growth advocates:|
- Relaxing the definitions of density and urban sprawl.
- Expanding what would qualify for growth management exemptions as agricultural enclaves.
- Eliminating cities’ and counties’ ability to deny a development application because of insufficient infrastructure like roads, schools, or wastewater facilities.
- Limiting the ability of local governments to be heard in court if applicants appeal their permit denials.
SB 1604 was amended in its last two committees to address that vast majority of the concerns. This bill is now on the Senate calendar on second reading. As amended, SB 1604 revises local comprehensive planning requirements by increasing the two required planning periods to a 10-year and 20-year period, from five and ten, and prohibiting local governments that fail to update their comprehensive plans in accordance with the 7-year evaluation and appraisal process from initiating or adopting any publicly initiated plan amendments.
Additionally, the bill prescribes certain procedures for the Department of Economic Opportunity to apply when local governments remain out of compliance with comprehensive planning updates. The bill also prohibits local governments from requiring specified building design elements for residential dwellings in planned unit developments, master planned communities, and communities with a design review board or architectural review board created on or after January 1, 2020.
This week, HB 0439 was also amended to:
- Allows developers of an affordable housing project to expand the project onto an adjacent parcel, regardless of its existing land use category. There are implications to consider if the adjacent property is conservation land.
- Revise the electric substation approval process.
These bills have also become the vehicle for language addressing the ongoing dispute between the state and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District with the addition of the following provision: The bill says an independent special district cannot comply with the terms of a development agreement executed within three months of a law modifying the way that the governing body of the special district selects its members, and requires the new governing body to vote on whether to seek re-adoption of such development agreement within four months of taking office. These provisions expire on July 1, 2028, unless reviewed and reenacted by the Legislature.
The bill takes effect on July 1, 2023, except for the provisions concerning independent special districts, which take effect upon becoming law.
HB 439 was passed by the State Affairs Committee (Chair, Rep. Lawrence McClure (R-Dover)) this week while SB 1604 was passed by the Rules Committee (Chair, Sen. Mayfield (R-Vero Beach)).