What is the future of Florida’s Growth Management?
by Brian Seymour on April 07, 2011
One of Governor Scott’s important initiatives currently being considered by the Legislature is that of substantial change to Florida’s Growth Management regulations. To some, this has raised concerns about unfettered growth throughout Florida. There are several related bills and amendments moving through the state House and Senate. What these show is the fear that Growth Management will completely go away to make room for unfettered growth in Florida is overstated.
Currently, there are bills pending in both the House and Senate that will substantially alter the way in which the state handles Growth Management (HB 7129 and SB 1122). The key elements of these bills do not wipe out growth management protections. Both but provide more discretion to those local governments that are actually impacted and limits state review to those circumstances where significant state or regional resources are implicated. The bills are extensive, numbering in the hundreds of pages, and Gunster will continue to follow their progress as the bills are reviewed and revised by the legislature. Though the future on Growth Management remains blurred, what is certain is regulations will be streamlined and local governments will have more flexibility in determining their own growth patterns.
There is one exception which demonstrates the legislature’s position on growth management where they believe the state should be involved, the passage of HB 7001. Passed on March 30, HB 7001 reenacts the 2009 Community Renewal Act (a/k/a/ SB 360) which was struck down by a trial court in 2010. HB 7001 was written to cure the infirmities as alleged in that case. Of particular note, it now relates to one subject only (i.e. Growth Managements) and was passed with more than a 2/3 vote. These two changes mean that it now meets the single subject rule and the unfunded mandate provisions of Florida’s Constitution. This does not change the law, but reaffirms SB 360 while curing its defects.
Since being passed by the legislature, HB 7001 has been passed on to Governor Scott for his signature. Though it remains to be seen whether the Governor will sign the bill, it is expected he will. The question then will be whether local governments again challenge the law on some new ground.
For more information contact Brian Seymour here.