Foreclosure Nick Bastian FlickrOn August 24, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in Ober v. Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, No. 4D14-4597, 2016 WL 4468134 (Fla. 4th DCA August 24, 2016) that is likely to have broad implications on Florida’s foreclosure process and negatively impact investor interests in distressed real estate. Moving forward, from a land use perspective, the case should also serve as a cautionary tale and reminder about the importance of a prospective buyer’s due diligence.

Background

The genesis of the case began on November 26, 2007, when a lis pendens was recorded on a property as part of a foreclosure proceeding against a homeowner. Thereafter, a bank obtained a final judgment of foreclosure on the property in September of 2008. Several years following the final judgment, a real estate investor, Ober, purchased the property on September 27, 2012 at a judicial sale.

The crux of the case revolved around seven (7) separate code enforcement liens that had been recorded on the property by the Town between the dates of July 13, 2009 and October 27, 2011, all stemming from violations that occurred after the final judgment was entered. Finally, in 2013 the Town began to impose three more liens on the property in relation to the earlier violations.

In an attempt to strike the liens against his property, Ober filed an action to quiet title in civil court. In response, the Town filed counterclaims to foreclose the ten (10) liens, which were later approved by the trial court in its final judgment that was entered against Ober.

According to the Ober Court, Florida’s Lis Pendens Statute Does Not Apply to Liens Recorded Between Final Judgment and the Judicial Sale


Continue Reading New Florida Foreclosure Case May Lead to Less Participation and Greater Risk for Real Estate Investors

This year, on two separate election days, Florida voters had — and will have — the opportunity to vote on two different constitutional amendments.

(Editor’s Note: At press time, the August 30th primary had yet to occur. However, it has since been reported that Amendment 4 was approved by nearly 73 percent of Florida voters at the primary, thus the measure will take effect on January 1, 2018, and expire on December 31, 2037.)

Amendment 4: Florida Tax Exemptions for Renewable Energy Measure

By way of background, the Florida Constitution currently provides for local government ad valorem taxes on real property and tangible personal property, assessment of property for tax purposes, and exemptions to these taxes. Section 4(i) in Article VII of the Florida Constitution also provides that the legislature may prohibit the consideration of the installation of a renewable energy source device in the determination of the assessed value of real property used for residential purposes.

Continue Reading Solar Energy is Hot on Florida Ballots in 2016

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 June 22, 2016, the seven-member Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (“FWC”) voted to postpone bear hunting in Florida for 2016. The FWC made its decision in a split 4-3 vote, despite receiving recommendations from its staff and biologists to conduct a bear hunt similar to the one held in 2015.

Nick Wiley, executive director of FWC, stated that:

[a]lthough hunting has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool to control bear populations across the country, it is just one part of FWC’s latest, comprehensive bear management program.”

Last year, a total of 304 bears were killed in a two-day span, which caused an abrupt end to the planned week-long hunt in October.

Southwest Florida Local Government Takes the Hunt into its Own Hands


Continue Reading Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Votes No to 2016 Black Bear Hunt

6184015031_52bb1094fd_zExecutive Order 16-155

On June 29, 2016, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 16-155, declaring a State of Emergency throughout Martin and St. Lucie Counties due to the increased number of algae blooms from the Lake Okeechobee discharges. In this Executive Order, the Governor states:

[t]he Obama Administration unreasonably failed to budget for adequate maintenance and speedy rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike, resulting in frequent discharges of harmful water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers and estuaries.”

The Governor explained that the release of these waters has caused an increase in algae blooms that have been dominated by Mycrosystis, an algae that can produce harmful toxins.

Executive Order 16-156


Continue Reading Lee County Included in a State of Emergency Declaration for Algae Blooms from Lake Okeechobee

On June 27, 2016, Lee County staff presented a series of proposed Land Development Code (LDC) amendments to the Local Planning Agency (LPA). Of significant importance, were staff’s proposed amendments to LDC Sections 2-45 through 2-46 and Sections 66-76, which specifically impact the County’s current provisions governing its “Proportionate Fair-Share” and Concurrency programs. In addition, as a companion amendment, staff has proposed a complete revision to the Administrative Code (AC) 13-16.

The Purposes for the Proposed LDC and AC Amendments

According to staff, the purposes behind the proposed changes are:
Continue Reading Lee County Local Planning Agency to Consider Proposed Amendments to its Proportionate Fair-Share Program

From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)
From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with attorneys Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)

This year’s two day Urban Land Institute (ULI) Annual Florida Summit was held in Miami at the Turnberry Isle Resort and was comprised of more than 650 attendees. The theme of this year’s event was Creative Disruption: “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be.”

The mission of ULI is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by the top real estate professionals from throughout the state including developers, attorneys, engineers, architects, and land use planners, from both the private and public sector.

The “Creative Class”

Continue Reading “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be”- 2016 ULI Florida Summit

The term “due diligence” gets thrown around a lot in the development world, but often with little regard for what the term entails. As with all things relating to property, this post is in no way intended to encompass all considerations in due diligence as properties are unique and present specific needs of review. However, the following list provides a brief glimpse into items to review when you are considering the purchase of real property for development in Southwest Florida:
Continue Reading 8 Practical Tips for Land Use Due Diligence in Southwest Florida

Statutory Authority for State of Emergency Extensions in Florida

As explained in our earlier blog posts, Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides that certain qualifying permits and authorizations can obtain extensions following a declared State of Emergency for the amount of time the declaration was in effect, plus an additional six months.

In order to obtain an extension under the statute, the applicant must submit a written request to the authorizing agency within 90 days after the State of Emergency has expired.

The State of Emergency for Heavy Rainfall Has Expired

Continue Reading Once Again, Now is the Time to Extend your Permits in Lee County

On April 21, 2016, Southwest Florida’s state legislators presented a “Legislative Wrap-Up” at the Cohen Center of Florida Gulf Coast University. This year’s event was well attended and presented for the first time as a collaborative effort between and among ULI of Southwest Florida, REIS, and the FPZA.

This Year’s Legislative Panel

Attendees had the pleasure of hearing about many of this year’s successful and unsuccessful bills from the following legislative panel:

Highlights from the 2016 Legislative Session

Following a brief introduction by moderator Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, each panelist was given several minutes to discuss their greatest accomplishments of the 2016 Legislative Session.

Continue Reading 2016 Florida Legislative Wrap-Up Presented by ULI SW Florida, REIS and FPZA