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

iStock_000015122897XSmall.jpgOn March 11, 2016, this year’s Legislative Session came to a conclusion. From a land use perspective, Florida’s CS/CS/HB 1361 (the “Bill”) proposes several important amendments. The Bill was approved by the Governor on Friday, March 25, 2016 and will become effective on July 1, 2016. A copy can be viewed here.

What You Need to Know

Continue Reading Governor Scott Signs HB 1361 into Law

6184015031_52bb1094fd_zFirst, as a follow up to a previous blog post regarding the Governor’s recent Executive Orders for the Zika virus and Heavy Rainfall, there are two important corrections.

A “Public Health Emergency” was Declared for the Zika Virus in Executive Order 16-29, not a “State of “Emergency”

Only a “State of Emergency” may be used to extend permits under Section 252.363, Florida Statutes.   There is no corresponding right under a “Public Health Emergency.” Therefore, no extension of permits will be issued in connection with the “Public Health Emergency” declared in connection with the Zika Virus.

The Heavy Rainfall SOE Has Been Extended 15 days (Executive Order 16-43)

On February 18, 2016, the same day that the Heavy Rainfall SOE was set to expire, the Governor issued Executive Order 16-43 extending the declaration made in Executive Order 16-30 an additional fifteen (15) days.

Continue Reading Updates on Executive Orders for Heavy Rainfall, Zika Virus and Governor Declares a New State of Emergency (“SOE”) for Lake Okeechobee Discharges

Updated:  March 2, 2016

In 2011, Florida enacted section 252.363, Florida Statutes, a law which grants certain permits and authorizations an extension for the amount of time a declared state of emergency was in effect, plus an additional six (6) months.

To qualify for the extension, a written notification of intent must be submitted to the agency that authorized the permit within ninety (90) days of the termination of the emergency declaration.

Important Executive Order

Executive Order 16-30 (Heavy Rainfall)

Continue Reading Heavy Rainfall Provides New Opportunity for Permit Extensions in Southwest Florida

gavel.jpgThe Florida Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”) was enacted in 1963 to simplify conveyances of real property and provide greater certainty to landowners. Generally, MRTA provides that any person holding any recorded estate or interest in land for 30 years or more has title to the land, free and clear of most claims or encumbrances. By eliminating many old and stale title claims, MRTA makes examining title to real property less labor intensive. An important effect of MRTA is that covenants and restrictions may be extinguished 30 years after their creation.

Restrictive Covenants Imposed by Governmental Zoning Approvals Are Not Subject to MRTA

Recently, in Save Calusa Trust v. St. Andrews Holdings, Ltd., et al., Nos. 3D14-2682 & 3D14-2690 (Fla. 3d DCA Jan. 13, 2016), the Third District addressed whether a restrictive covenant that is recorded in compliance with a government-imposed land use approval is a title interest subject to extinguishment by MRTA. The developer in that case sought both a rezoning and an “unusual use” approval in 1967 to create a new golf course development in Miami-Dade County. In a resolution approving the developer’s “unusual use” application, the County’s Zoning Appeals Board imposed a restrictive covenant requiring the property to be perpetually maintained as a golf course. Thereafter, the restrictive covenant was recorded in 1968, and the developer subsequently sold the property. In 2012, after acquiring the subject property and realizing that the golf course was no longer profitable, the subsequent developer/owner filed an action in circuit court to declare the restrictive covenant void, arguing it had been extinguished under MRTA. The Third District disagreed and held that because the restrictive covenant had been imposed through the governmental zoning reclassification approval process, the covenant did not fall within the purview of MRTA’s extinguishing effect.

Impact of Proposed MRTA Amendments

Continue Reading How the Save Calusa Trust Case and Proposed Legislation Impacts Florida Property Owners and HOAs

caterpillar_front_loader_283346_l.jpgThe First District Court of Appeal’s recent holding in Howard v. Murray, No. 1D14-1996, 2015 WL 6847833 (Fla. 1st DCA Nov. 9, 2015), serves as a cautionary tale for those purchasers taking title to a parcel of real property that has been previously approved as a part of a development of regional impact (DRI).

The Facts

In Howard, the original developer of the 2300 acre Sandestin DRI went bankrupt and the DRI was then fragmented. The initial DRI development order was also amended to allot 550,000 square feet of commercial development rights to a 48.1 acre parcel, 16 acres of which were later sold. The deed’s language granting legal title to the 16 acre parcel made no mention of development rights.

Continue Reading DRI Development Rights Do Not Automatically Pass with the Conveyance of Title

mining via Kelly Michals on FlickrAs defined in Section 380.06, Florida Statutes, a development of regional impact (“DRI”) is “any development which, because of its character, magnitude, or location, would have a substantial effect upon the health, safety, or welfare of citizens of more than one county.”

A Brief History of DRIs in Florida

Since the DRI program’s inception in 1972, it has been chipped away by the enactment of numerous legislative exemptions. In 2009, the Legislature enacted an exemption for Dense Urban Land Areas (“DULAs”), which exempted projects from DRI review in eight counties and 243 cities. In 2015, the Florida Legislature attempted to reduce duplicative and burdensome regulation by eliminating the requirement that new developments be reviewed pursuant to the DRI process by only subjecting such proposed developments to the requirements of the State Coordinated Review Process.

Continue Reading New Legislation on the Horizon for DRIs in Florida

gavel.jpgRecently, a number changes to Lee County’s land development regulations have been implemented which may be of significant interest to both the general public and practitioners throughout Southwest Florida.

Changes to the County’s LDC

On November 17, 2015, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners (the “Board”) adopted Lee County Ordinance No. 15-15, which modifies Chapters 10, 12, 26, and 34 of the County’s Land Development Code (“LDC”). This ordinance took effect on November 20, 2015.

Continue Reading Tidying-Up Lee County’s Land Development Regulations

The story behind this new cause of action

gavel.jpgThis legislation expands the Bert J. Harris Jr., Property Rights Protection Act (which we have recently discussed here and here) and codifies the 2013 United States Supreme Court’s Koontz decision. Following the Koontz case, a local government’s power to condition the approval of proposed development by demanding property or monetary exactions has been significantly curtailed.

Effective October 1, 2015, Florida has crafted a new cause of action under Section 70.45, Florida Statutes, which will provide relief for property owners who have been subjected to such an unlawful exaction.

How it works

Continue Reading New Florida Law Benefits Property Owners Subjected to Unlawful Exactions

clock via George Vnoucek Flickr Creative CommonsIn 2011, Florida enacted section 252.363, Florida Statutes, a law which grants certain permits and authorizations an extension for the amount of time a declared state of emergency was in effect, plus an additional 6 months.

Important Executive Orders

Following Governor Scott’s recent declarations of emergency, many throughout Southwest Florida now have an opportunity to extend the expiration dates of their permits. On August 28, 2015, following the threat of Tropical Storm Erika, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in Executive Order 15-173 which applied to the entire state of Florida and will last until October 27, 2015. Previously, on August 6, 2015, Governor Scott had also declared a state of emergency for Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Taylor Counties that will last until October 5, 2015.

What does this mean for you?

Continue Reading The clock is ticking if you want a permit extension under this Florida law