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

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 Recent Court Decision Expands Rights of Property Owners in Southwest Florida

For any development permit holders interested in taking advantage of the two-year extension offered under HB 7023 (codified as Laws of Florida ch. 2014-218), there are some important rules to remember as the notification deadline of December 31, 2014 quickly approaches:

  • The permit you are seeking to extend must expire between January 1, 2014 and

During the past 2-3 years, Lee County has been engaging in a systematic and comprehensive streamlining of its zoning, permitting and development review processes.  In a report released recently by the County’s Department of Community Development (DCD), the results of this streamlining effort are identified in detail.

Working independently and in conjunction with the Business Issues Task Force of the County’s Horizon Council, DCD has developed and implemented improvements in customer service and technology, amendments to the County’s Land Development Code, and is in the process of proposing changes to its comprehensive plan that facilitate the processing of permitting applications.  Some of the highlights include:


Continue Reading Lee County Continues Streamlining Its Permitting Processes

developer hard hat.jpgThe News-Press recently reported that the City of Cape Coral and Lee County are proposing changes to their land use and development regulations in order to be more flexible in how property is developed and redeveloped.

In the City of Cape Coral, new land use and development regulations concerning South Cape Coral were unanimously passed