An individual, a homebuilder with an affected project, and a group of industry representatives filed a declaratory action against Tallahassee’s affordable housing (forced inclusionary zoning) ordinance. The trial court upheld the ordinance.
The individual had been found not to have standing and did not appeal. The affected builder had separately announced its intention to abandon its project, though how this become part of the record is not stated. The 1st then found that the record was insufficient to allow the Florida Home Builders and Leon County Builders to have standing because the record did not disclose how a significant number of their members might be affected.
This is a very disturbing ruling and clearly portends more contentious litigation over these types of issues in the future. Landowners and builders should have standing to challenge these ordinances BEFORE they are faced with a denial for refusing to include affordable housing that the government is trying to extract from them. Creating standing barriers for the organizations that represent them puts an unfair burden on individual builders.
This only invites more legislation like this year’s impact fee statute.