July 31, 2019

New Changes to Florida’s Growth Management Act


William J. Dunaway is a Shareholder and a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation department.  His practice focuses on environmental law and land use matters.

New Changes to Florida’s Growth Management Act

CS/CS/HB 7103 passed the House on April 25, 2019. The Senate amended the bill on May 3, 2019, and returned it to the House. The House concurred in the Senate amendment and subsequently passed the bill as amended on May 3, 2019. The Governor approved the bill on June 28, 2019 and it became effective on that date.

Although the changes to the Act became law on June 28, 2019, many in the State are just now learning how much these changes impact local community development.  In fact, several State advocacy groups, including 1000 Friends of Florida are warning of negative impacts to community development.  Their concerns can be found here.

Here is a summary of the new changes to community development and housing regulations:

  • Requires county or municipal inclusionary housing ordinances, if adopted, to include incentives that fully offset costs to the developer of its affordable housing contribution;
  • Imposes time limits for a county or municipality to review applications for development orders or permits and provides procedures for addressing deficiencies;
  • Requires comprehensive plans adopted after January 1, 2019, and their corresponding land use regulations, to incorporate existing development orders;
  • Requires credits for certain contributions for public educational facilities to be allocated to reduce applicable impact fees on a dollar-for-dollar basis at fair market value for the entire impact fee imposed, rather than just those exactions imposed for any particular type of school;
  • Prohibits requiring payment of impact fees prior to the issuance of a building permit;
  • Provides minimum conditions that must be satisfied before imposing an impact fee, such as a proportional and reasonable connection for additional capital facilities or expenditure of funds;
  • Modifies how impact fees may be used, imposed, or credited against;
  • Allows either party in a development order challenge to utilize summary procedure and entitles the prevailing party to reasonable attorney fees and costs;
  • Provides legislative findings about the need to develop affordable workforce housing and creates a new definition for “essential services personnel”;
  • Expands the scope of private providers, limits how much may be charged for building inspections when a private provider is used, reduces timeframes for reviewing permit applications submitted by a private provider, and limits a local government’s authority to audit a private provider; and
  • Allows condominium associations to continue to vote to waive fire sprinkler system retrofitting requirements and extends to January 1, 2024, the date local authorities may require a condominium association to retrofit fire sprinkler systems or an engineered life safety system.

It is too early to tell if these changes will have a positive or negative impact to community development, but some insight might be gleaned from a one-sentence assessment of the impact in the bill’s Staff Analysis. The Report states: “The bill may have an indeterminate negative fiscal impact on local government revenues.”

If you have questions about these changes, our firm’s environmental and land use practice group provides independent advice to clients and to our corporate and real property practice groups on issues impacting private property rights to use and develop real property.  Learn more at https://clarkpartington.com/legal-services/environmental-land-use/

About Clark Partington:

Clark Partington constantly surveys the ever-changing legal landscape to provide up-to-date and responsive counsel to our clients. Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee. The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office. Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law. Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom. More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at www.clarkpartington.com.


This publication should not be construed as legal advice.  Its applicability is dependent upon specific facts and circumstances and is provided for informational purposes only.  You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a lawyer licensed in your own state.