The Pasco County Commission is expected to adopt a bundle of changes to the county’s land development code that address a wide range of issues.
The changes are scheduled for final adoption at the board’s Jan. 9 meeting.
Some changes would strip local economic incentives from project development under the Florida Legislatures Live Local Act.
The proposed code changes would prohibit impact fee exemptions and/or reductions for individuals who have “invoked the land use/zoning preemption or mandatory property tax exemption in 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 board members object strenuously to Live Local because they say it undermines the county’s efforts to increase the availability of jobs in Pasco and decrease the need for residents to commute to other counties for jobs.
Pasco’s elected board also plans to use the court system to challenge the constitutionality of developments being built under the Live Local Act.
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.
Another change relates to the timing of neighborhood meetings. Those meetings could not be held in the future until an application has been deemed complete, in terms of content.
That amendment is intended to ensure that the public has the pertinent information, which has not always happened in the past.
Another change would require a waiting period before the same request is made for a variance on a particular property, or for an alternative standard.
Published December 27, 2023