Last year, the Florida Supreme Court issued an important opinion on property rights that you need to know about if you own real estate in Florida. I had written a blog post right after the decision, but a case I was handling at the time involved some issues related to the post, so I delayed the post until after my case resolved. In any event, the Florida Supreme Court opinion updates my blog posts of July 8, 2015 and August 20, 2015 about the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act topic.

Land Use Designations in Hardee County

As mentioned in my earlier post, this case originates from a land purchase in Hardee County in 1996. The purchaser, FINR, bought land that held an “agriculture and public institutional purpose” future land use designation. In 2007, FINR successfully applied to amend the Hardee County Comprehensive Plan and change FINR’s future land use designation to rural center. The “rural center” designation provided FINR with a quarter-mile setback that applied to the adjacent properties and prohibited phosphate mining activities in the setback.


Continue Reading

For the possible record number of attendees at July’s Real Estate Investment Society (“REIS”) luncheon, this won’t be news. For those folks who may have missed it, Assistant County Attorney Michael Jacob and Lee County Planning Manager Mikki Rozdolski walked us through the newly created Pine Island Transfer of Development Rights Program that is not

On October 1, 2015, various revisions to the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Act will take effect. On October 1, among other things, the definitions of “property owner” and “real property” will change as set forth in Chapter 2015-142 Laws of Florida. The changes may limit the reach of the Second District

The Second District Court of Appeal, which covers fourteen counties in West Central Florida and Southwest Florida from Pasco County in the north to Collier County in the south, issued a decision in June 2015 that significantly expands the rights of real property owners in Southwest Florida. In the case entitled FINR II, Inc. v. Hardee County, the appellate court ruled that

the Bert [J.] Harris [, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection] Act provides a cause of action to owners of real property that has been inordinately burdened and diminished in value due to governmental action directly taken against an adjacent property.” (Emphasis added.)

Facts of the Case


Continue Reading

George Wheeler is a 30 year employee with the Florida Department of Revenue. He currently serves as IDP Administrator in Classified Use Administration. His responsibilities as Senior Appraiser at DOR include the areas of agriculture/greenbelt, conservation, and working waterfront.

Since a recent article in the Florida Land Development News about property taxation and potential exemptions, we have received numerous questions about the treatment of conservation lands for ad valorem taxation. We first ran into this issue some time ago, and had the pleasure of working with George Wheeler with the Florida Department of Revenue to determine the best option for the landowner in that case. For this blog post, we imposed on George again and he was kind enough to chat with us about this rather misunderstood area of property taxation.


Continue Reading

The landscape of Florida has seen rapid change over the last several decades, and none has been more drastic that the urbanization and development of Florida’s farms and agricultural areas. With increased development comes higher property values and increased property taxes. In an effort to assist farmers and agricultural landowners, the Florida Legislature passed bills

On October 15, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency will usher in a new era of water quality regulation for Florida’s lakes and flowing waters. Known as the Numeric Nutrient Criteria (“NNC”) rule, the final rule will establish specific numeric limitations on nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations in fresh water lakes and streams.

Before the implementation of this rule, Florida water quality rules were based on a narrative standard that used descriptive language to identify polluted bodies of water. The rule also creates restoration standards for water bodies that are designated as “impaired.” Impaired waters may be waters that are deemed to be polluted to the point where they no longer are suitable for their intended use. The new rule only applies to fresh water, however a similar NNC rule for coastal waters and estuaries is slated for consideration in 2011. These new water quality standards will have significant economic and operational effects on municipalities, agricultural operations, utilities, and future development.


Continue Reading