Sunday, February 17, 2013

Early Issues for Landowners in the 2013 Legislative Session

People are starting to talk about the 2013 legislative session in Florida, which runs from March 5 to May 3. Here are some of the issues and bills that are being talked about. First, the Florida Current reports that there does not seem to be much appetite for changes to Florida's growth management system after the big changes in 2011:
After sweeping growth management law changes in 2011, most legislators and interest groups were content in 2012 to leave the issue alone while cities, counties and developers adjust to the changes. They still feel that way in 2013. However, a court case and a legal opinion involving growth management are creating a stir on a pair of issues. 
One involves referendums on development and changes made by a "glitch bill" that passed in 2012. A circuit court judge in Palm Beach County ruled in October that HB 7081 in 2012 now allows Boca Raton residents to seek a referendum challenging the proposed Archstone apartment complex there. That ruling has developers seeking clarifying legislation
Another issue stemming from the 2011 law involves transportation "concurrency" and a system for charging developments for needed road improvements. In 2012, the Florida Association of County Attorneys said a requirement for allowing developers to pay only their "proportionate share" doesn't apply to counties with other systems for collecting mobility fees.
The Florida Forestry Association has an update on some interesting bills: 
Alternative Water Supply Development – HB 109 by Rep. Dana Young, SB 364 by Sen. Alan Hays. Florida’s population growth has taxed our water resources. Florida’s forested lands can be part of the solution through surface water storage and aquifer recharge. Extended consumptive use permits for water utilities would enable them to raise bonded revenue to fund the infrastructure needs for alternative water supplies. Both bills have been approved by their respective Agriculture Committees and now go to the House State Affairs Committee (HB 109) and the Senate Community Affairs Committee (SB 364). 
Ag Lands & Practices Act – HB 203 by Rep. Halsey Beshears. The Ag Lands & Practices Act adopted in 2003 preempted counties from adopting any new ordinance regulating a farm or forestry operation beyond adopted BMPs. While this has been very effective, an effort is now underway to expand this preemption from counties to governmental entities. HB 203 was approved by the House Agriculture Committee and now goes to the Local & Federal Affairs Committee. Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed a companion bill in the Senate, but a bill number has not been assigned yet. 
Green Building Certification – HB 269 by Rep. Halsey Beshears. The Department of Management Services (DMS) has adopted the LEED green building rating system for state construction projects. LEED does not accept wood products certified under the SFI or Tree Farm system, which means it excludes virtually all Florida wood products from being used in new state construction projects. Rep. Halsey Beshears has filed legislation requiring DMS to adopt a green building rating system that does not discriminate against Florida wood products. His bill would require Florida wood products to be considered first when the use of wood is required for state construction projects. HB 269 has been placed on the agenda of the House Energy & Utilities Committee next week. Sen. Greg Evers has filed a companion bill in the Senate, but a bill number has not been assigned yet.
The Florida chapter of the American Planning Association also writes on two bills, one with interesting property rights implications:
SB 584 (Senator Hays) would prohibit the state, a county or a municipality from buying land for conservation purposes unless: 1) An accurate inventory, not more than 1 year old, of government-owned property is made public; (2) Sufficient funds are approved in the annual budget for the maintenance of existing properties; (3) An analysis describing the annual cost of maintenance of the proposed land purchase is completed; and (4) An equal amount of public property not being held in conservation is returned or sold at fair market value to the private sector. There is no companion bill filed yet in the House. 
HB 673 (Rep. Perry) and SB 772 (Senator Brandes) are identical bills that would amend the Bert Harris Act (Chapter 70, F.S.) to prohibit a local government entity from directly or indirectly imposing a tax, fee, charge or exaction against private property that: 1) does not result from a development or proposed development with a essential nexus to development impacts upon infrastructure or other public facilities; or 2) is more stringent than an exaction imposed by a state or federal agency unless the local government entity demonstrates that the exaction is reasonably necessary. This bill appears to create a more stringent test than Nollan/Dolan requirements or “the rationale nexus" test stemming from Florida case law that has governed impact fees and other exactions for decades. SB 772 has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Committee and Judiciary; HB 673 has been filed but not yet referred to committees.