The Pasco County Commission cannot block individuals from pursuing projects under the Florida Legislature’s Live Local Act, but the county board can strip local economic incentives from those projects.
And, that is precisely what the board is considering in the form of amendments to the county’s land development code.
Amendments being considered by the county allow some impact fee exemptions and/or reductions for developments being built for low- and moderate-income families, but those economic incentives would not be granted to individuals who have “invoked the land use/zoning preemption or mandatory property tax exemption in the Live Local Act.”
The board wants to make the same change, relating to traditional neighborhood developments (TNDs) or transit-oriented developments (TODs.)
The proposed changes are among recommendations to Pasco County’s land development code.
County planning staff periodically suggests updates to the code to the county board for its consideration.
Often the new language is aimed at undoing the results of unintended consequences or to correct scrivener’s errors.
But sometimes they arise from new situations, or to provide new direction on substantive issues.
Another recommendation in this batch of code changes would establish enforcement powers for the county to cite private property owners who have not complied with deed restrictions they agreed to impose on their own properties.
Specifically, the county will be able to cite individuals who fail to comply with a recorded deed restriction that was used to secure a county development approval or a county mobility fee or impact fee exemption waiver or reduction.
The county has been using private deed restrictions as a tool to prevent property owners from seeking and securing zoning changes, and then turning around and invoking the Live Local Act to develop the site.
It appears highly likely that the county board will strip away any local incentives it has within its control relating to projects developed under the Live Local Act.
The Florida Legislature adopted the Live Local Act last session, as a way of spurring more development of affordable housing. The act makes it impossible for local governments to block the conversion of existing commercial, industrial and mixed-use sites to be developed for multifamily use, if the project meets requirements regarding the provision of affordable housing units for a specified period. The law also provides a tax break for such projects.
Pasco County board members have been highly critical of the law saying that it undermines local efforts to expand job opportunities locally, which would enable the county to shed its longstanding role of being a bedroom community for people who commute to Hillsborough and Pinellas counties for work.
Other changes being recommended include a requirement that neighborhood meetings relating to a proposed development be scheduled after an application has been deemed complete, in terms of content.
fThat amendment is intended to ensure that the public has the pertinent information, which has not always happened in the past, according to Denise Hernandez, the county’s zoning administrator.
The proposed code changes also address an issue regarding repeated requests on the same property for a variance, or for the use of an alternative standard.
An applicant still will be able to make the same request multiple times, but the proposed code change specifies waiting periods between repeated applications.
The Planning Commission recommended approval of the code changes during a Nov. 16 public hearing on the issue. The county board was scheduled to take up the issue on Dec. 5, after The Laker/Lutz News went to press. A final public hearing by the county board is scheduled for Jan. 9.
Published December 06, 2023