2002 Florida Legislative Report
The Florida Legislature finished its work in May following a 60-day regular session and several special sessions. During that time, the Legislature considered a number of bills on environmental and land-use issues. Here is a brief summary of some of the key measures that passed.
Growth Management/School Planning
SB 1906 requires greater coordination between school boards and local governments. The bill also requires local governments and district school boards to enter into an enforceable, interlocal agreement that addresses school siting, enrollment, forecasting, school capacity, infrastructure and safety needs.
Growth Management/Water Use Planning
SB 1906 also requires local governments to amend their comprehensive plans to better integrate those plans with the water management district’s regional water supply plan. The legislation requires local governments to include in their comprehensive plans a 10-year work plan for building water supply facilities that are considered necessary to serve existing and new development, and for which the local government is responsible.
Developments of Regional Impact
SB 1906 eliminates DRI review for certain facilities. Marinas located in a local jurisdiction that has adopted a countywide boating facility siting plan or policy into its comprehensive plan will be exempt from DRI review. The bill also removes the acreage thresholds from office and retail development. In addition, it eliminates the presumption for DRIs that are between 80 and 99 percent of a threshold; henceforth, developments that are less than 100 percent of the threshold are not DRIs.
Judicial Review of Local Government Development Orders
SB 1906 creates an optional special master process at the local level. If adopted by a local government, this would obviate de novo review at the circuit court level. The bill also allows developers whose projects were denied to seek de novo review. Previously, developers were limited to certiorari review on the record prepared at the local level, while third parties were granted de novo review.
HB 813 was one of the more controversial environmental bills of the legislative session. Among other things, the bill makes clear that citizens of the state may “intervene” (or join) certain already ongoing administrative proceedings, but may not “initiate” (or request or petition for) an administrative proceeding, absent a showing that the citizens’ substantial interests will be affected by the challenged agency decision. This legislation is the subject of a legal challenge filed by certain environmental interest groups, who argue that the law violates Florida’s single-subject requirement.
HB 813 also limits appeals to the Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Florida Land & Water Adjudicatory Commission (FLWAC). Such appeals are prohibited if an evidentiary hearing already has been held. This provision has the effect of requiring challengers to choose between an appeal to FLWAC or the filing of a request for an administrative hearing.