Thursday, March 1, 2012

Legislation Settling Yankeetown Case Approved by House & Senate

I wrote back in December about the legislation that would settle the Yankeetown litigation. In Yankeetown v. DEO (37 2011 CA 002036), Yankeetown asked the court to declare that the Community Planning Act, HB 7207 (ch. 2011-139, Laws of Fla.), was unconstitutional.

As readers of this blog will recall, the parties reached a settlement agreement that required them to use their best efforts to pass legislation that would cure Yankeetown's main issue and allow it to continue to use its referendum process for its comprehensive plan amendments. Language that appears to meet the requirements of the settlement agreement has been passed in both chambers, although the chambers will have to settle the other diferences.

House Bill 7081 passed in the House on February 16thSenate Bill 440 passed in the Senate yesterday. The bill was sponsored by Senator Bennett, one of the principal authors of the Community Planning Act. The relevant language in the bill, with additions underlined, reads:
163.3167(8) An initiative or referendum process in regard to any development order or in regard to any local comprehensive plan amendment or map amendment is prohibited. However, any local government charter provision that was in effect as of June 1, 2011, for an initiative or referendum process in regard to development orders or in regard to local comprehensive plan amendments or map amendments, may be retained and implemented.
The Governor will still have to approve this language for it to become law. Judging by the strong support in both chambers for it, it seems likely that he will. The status of his action on bills is here. Then the parties would have to go back before the court to finish the settlement process. Stay tuned for this and other legislative updates. I'll be watching as the 2012 legislative session winds down.