Land Use and Local Government Law and Litigation

The Law Office of Robert K. Lincoln, P.A.  provides legal services to private and public entities involved in complex land use disputes.  Hiring an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.  Before you decide, ask and I will provide free information about my experience and qualifications. 

1st DCA- Gov & Cabinet Blows Call on "Not in Compliance" Plan - Now What?

In an interesting decision in Don and Pamela Ashley v. State Administration Commission, et al, the First District upheld the determination by the ALJ and Dep't of Community Affairs that the plan wasn't in compliance, but reversed a determination that two land use categories created by the amendments were not "mixed use" land use categories that need additional policies governing permitted density, intensity and mix of uses.

A read of the opinion makes this seem like a no-brainer, but . . . . ? The amended plan created "rural village" and "conservation residential" land uses that appear based on the parts of the record recounted by the court to allow a combination of residential and limited commercial uses. In defense of the County and DCA, it looks like these commercial uses were intended to permit existing land uses, such as marinas, restaurants, etc., that had been established in "pre planning and zoning days" to continue.

Here's the really interesting, but unexplored, part. The holding reverses and remands the decision back to the Governor and Cabinet (sitting as the Administration Commission"). Under the Growth Management Act, if the Admin Commission finds a plan amendment "not in compliance" they specify "remedial amendments". The local government either (a) abandons the plan amendment; (b) adopts the remedial amendments. or (c) puts the "not in compliance" amendments into effect and suffers economic sanctions identified in the Order of the Admin Comm'n.

So I would expect that the result of this order is that the Admin Commission is going to simply amend its order and add some additional remedial amendment language. Some additional policies limiting the amount of, and size of, commercial development will be added, along with a description of uses, etc. But it will be interesting to see how and whether the sanctions section is created and how detailed the new policies will have to be.

I'm guessing that what this mostly did was prevent St Joe Paper from developing (or at least planning and zoning) some "rural village" development areas intended to cluster relatively low densities into pockets and ensure that there is some limited local commercial (gas station, food mart, etc.) available so that the residents of these areas don't have to drive long distances to get basics -- and maybe to permit telecommuting and other "live-work" opportunities.

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