Sarasota Bay Real Estate and The Florida Real Estate Development Bill 503

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Some environmental groups and green-oriented homeowners are wary over a Florida bill passed this May which loosened state oversight of builders and made it more difficult for concerned citizens to challenge land development. One of the concerns aired, Sarasota Bay Real Estate owners commented in an interview, is that the new legislation prioritizes business development and sacrifices environmental and residential community protection.

Some environmental groups and green-oriented homeowners are wary over a Florida bill passed this May which loosened state oversight of builders and made it more difficult for concerned citizens to challenge land development. One of the concerns aired, Sarasota Bay Real Estate said in a press release, is that the new legislation prioritizes business development and sacrifices environmental and residential community protection.

The measure in question is the Florida legislature’s House Bill 503, ironically otherwise known as the Environmental Regulation Bill. After it was signed into law Gov. Rick Scott, it became effective July 1, 2012. Among other provisions, the bill reduced to 60 days from 90 days the approval of environmental permits. It also enabled developers to extend for two more years permits that are set to expire between January 1, 2012 and 2014.

Proponents of the statute said that the passage of the measure will contribute to the home-building business, help accelerate development projects, and generate additional employment. Substantial reduction in government resources is likewise expected from the scaled-down permitting with the avoidance of redundant services. The old permitting system wherein state-paid engineers review output of their government-paid colleagues, which cost time and money, is done away with, a supporter of the legislation maintained.    

The bill essentially undid a Florida law passed in 1985 that required builders to help pay for infrastructure costs like roads, sewers, parks, and schools. At the time, Floridians were up in arms against widespread new developments that have long-term cost burdens to residents while builders are pocketing the profits. Under the new law, the city and county governments are allowed to decide whether developers should pay impact fees. These local governments can also now revise their growth plans without state approval.

Environmentalists and concerned citizens, however, fear that the new law brings the state back to the 1970s and early 1980s when developers gobbled up vast tracts of Florida land. They contended that houses, shopping malls, and office buildings were put up without concern for local communities. There were also alleged developer encroachments on sensitive lands, like in the Everglades National Park. This over-development, opponents of the bill declared, contributed to the real estate crash, which has now left many houses and commercial buildings empty or idle.

Objections were also raised on the new law having made it more difficult for the community to challenge environmental permits and development projects. Under the approved House Bill 503, the burden of proof that a project poises harm to the community shifts to the public. Formerly, it is the developers which would have to prove that their projects are safe. Environmentalists argue that the bill has made it much more difficult to stop sensitive development projects like nuclear power plants and hazardous waste sites.

With this new measure in place, Sarasota Bay Real Estate said, it became even more important for home buyers to have a clear reading of the neighborhoods or localities wherein they are considering residential purchases. It is important for them that they limit their choices to those communities who have the political will and the clout to bat for a more balanced local development should a need arise. The advice of a Realtor with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the local communities would be very essential in this case, Sarasota Bay Real Estate added.

About Sarasota Bay Real Estate

Sarasota Bay Real Estate is a full service real estate brokerage serving Manatee, Charlotte and Sarasota County in Florida. Sarasota Bay Real Estate is owned by two partners, Christina Miller and Roy Hunter. Mr. Hunter is a real estate marketing professional who previously owned an international marketing company is Brisbane Australia. Mr. Hunter is known for his compelling marketing products and legendary Sarasota Florida real estate websites that currently receive well over a thousand visitors every day.

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