Monday, May 20, 2013

Legislative Session Wrap-Up Part 2: Land Development

In addition to some of the bills I mentioned in Part 1 of my legislative session wrap-up, these bills will be of interest to the land development community.

Land Development Bills

HB 319: This bill clarified and amended transportation concurrency, which was overhauled by the 2011 Community Planning Act. The legislative staff report on the bill summarizes its effects:
[The bill places] new requirements on local governments that implement alternative mobility funding systems. The bill requires these alternative systems to allow developers to “pay and go” for new development. Under the bill, once a developer pays for its identified transportation impacts, the local government must allow the development process to move forward. The bill encourages local governments without a transportation concurrency funding system to implement an alternative mobility funding system.  
The bill prohibits alternative mobility funding systems that are not mobility fee based from requiring developers to pay for existing transportation deficiencies. Local governments must apply revenue they collect from alternative funding systems to implement the needs upon which the revenue collection was based and mobility fees must comply with the dual rationale nexus test. Under the dual rationale nexus test, a court will find an impact fee reasonable if: 1) it offsets needs that are sufficiently attributable to the new development and 2) the fees collected are adequately earmarked for the benefit of the residents of the new development. 
The bill makes the following changes to transportation concurrency mechanisms: (1) Allows developers to satisfy the transportation concurrency requirements of a local comprehensive plan by making a good faith offer to enter a binding agreement to pay for or construct its proportionate share of impacts; (2) Allows local government to pool contributions from multiple applicants to apply toward one regionally significant transportation facility; (3) Requires local governments to provide the basis upon which landowners will be assessed a proportionate share of cost addressing the transportation impacts from a proposed development; (4) Clarifies that s. 163.3180(5)(h), F.S., applies to local governments that continue to implement transportation concurrency; (5) Clarifies when local governments are not required to approve new development.
HB 357: This bill is aimed at increasing Florida's competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. Again, the legislative staff report provides an excellent analysis. Local governments are encouraged to establish local manufacturing development programs aimed increasing capital investment and job creation within the manufacturing industry. The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is charged with developing a model ordinance for local governments to do so. Most importantly for business owners, the bill creates a coordinated approval process for development approvals and permits for manufacturers managed by DEO in order to streamline the process for manufacturers participating in local manufacturing development programs. Finally, DEO and Enterprise Florida are to develop and distribute materials indicating which areas have developed local manufacturing development programs.

HB 375: This bill reduces permitting and inspection requirements for septic tanks and related systems (technically called onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems). For landowners, the biggest changes is that some single-family homeowners may now operate and maintain their own systems with approval by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Finally, there was HB 999--this session's bill that every environmental organization loved to hate. There was a great deal of press about this bill, much of it negative. But what this bill did do was decrease a number of environmental permitting burdens. For that reason, I've included in it my land use and development roundup, even though it might have been better left to Part 3 of my legislative session wrap-up, where I will review environmental and natural resource bills. Below is a summary of changes taken from the legislative staff report.
  • Limiting to three the number of times a local government may request additional information when reviewing an application for a development permit, unless the applicant waives the limit; 
  • Expanding the activities that qualify as "phosphate-related expenses" for the purpose of receiving severance tax proceeds;
  • Providing lease fee calculation for certain marinas, boatyards, and marine retailers and providing conditions for the discount and waiver of these fees;
  • Providing general permits for local governments to construct certain mooring fields;
  • Increasing the size of certain multi-family docks on sovereign submerged lands that are exempt from paying lease fees;
  • Prohibiting water management districts (WMDs) from reducing allocations due to additional water supplies resulting from developing of desalination plants;
  • Providing that the issuance of well permits is the sole responsibility of WMDs, delegated local governments, or local county health departments, and prohibiting government entities from imposing certain requirements and fees;
  • Providing that licensure of water well contractors by a WMD must be the only water well contractor license required in the state or any political subdivision;
  • Exempting certain farm ponds and wetlands from regulatory requirements;
  • Increasing the amount the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is authorized to enter into a contract for preapproved advanced cleanup work for designated contaminated sites in each fiscal year;
  • Allowing a person to bring a cause of action for damages resulting from a discharge or certain pollution if not authorized pursuant to chapter 403, F.S.;
  • Extending the payment deadline of permit fees for major sources of air pollution;
  • Specifying that field procedures and lab methods for certain water quality testing must be adopted by rule or approved by order;
  • Prohibiting a local government from using a recovered materials dealer's registration information to compete unfairly with the dealer for a period of 90 days after it is submitted; 
  • Authorizing DEP to establish permits for special events relating to boat shows;
  • Authorizing expedited permitting for natural gas pipelines and for summary hearings; and
  • Ratifying certain leases on state-owned uplands in the Everglades Agricultural Area.
Because of the implications of this bill to agriculture (explicitly relating to farm ponds and implicitly in other ways), I've now cross-referenced this post with Part 1 of my legislative session wrap-up.