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Florida House Considers Proposal to Limit Lake County Development Densities

March 08, 2023

HB 1171, a bill sponsored by Florida Representative Taylor Yarkosky, would codify the boundaries of Lake County’s three Rural Protection Areas (RPAs), as well as set maximum densities for development.

Under the bill, property that falls within the designated rural protection areas, regardless of whether it’s in Lake County or an incorporated municipality, would be subject to density limitations. Development would be limited to 1 dwelling unit per 5 net buildable acres; or 1 dwelling unit per three net buildable acres (with a minimum of 35% open space); or 1 dwelling unit per acre (with a minimum of 50% open space). Open space is defined rather restrictively, as it cannot include water bodies, wetlands, residential lots, street rights-of-way, parking lots, impervious surfaces, and active recreation areas. Golf courses are also generally excluded from the open space definition.

If the bill passes, the only way that densities can be modified is if the County and subject municipality enter into a joint planning agreement. These JPAs can take a significant amount of time to work out and are completely voluntary for the local governments, so there is no requirement that either approve any such density modification.

HB 1171 would apply to all residential development applications filed after its effective date, including properties located within established interlocal service boundary agreements and properties that are annexed subsequent to the effective date of this act. If a property is annexed after the bill is passed, the municipality will not have control over allowable density, short of the JPA referenced above being executed.

The Lowndes Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group will continue to monitor and follow HB 1171 as it makes its way through the legislature during the 2023 Regular Session. Please contact Tara Tedrow with any questions.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.
Tara Tedrow is a shareholder in the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group and serves as chair of the Cannabis & Controlled Substances Group. She brings years of experience handling an array of complex legal matters for multi-billion dollar valued companies and entrepreneurs alike.
With a significant portion of her practice devoted to land use and development, Tara regularly advises clients on entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office and mixed uses. She works with local governments and regulatory agencies to address the needs of her clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, site plan approval, variance and waiver requests, due diligence and property rights.

Often sought out for high-profile and high-stakes land development projects, Tara has delivered positive outcomes for clients ranging from large multi-national and U.S.-based companies to high-net worth individuals seeking land use entitlements. With over 15 years of competitive debate experience, she is uniquely suited to handle complex and controversial projects and public hearings that present a myriad of political and legal challenges.

Tara has provided developers and clients with legal counsel and representation in Section 70.51 mediations. Her experience in land use and environmental dispute resolutions offers a unique benefit to clients navigating the alternative dispute resolution process following denial of a development order, zoning approval and other land use matters around the state.

Well-known for providing legal and lobbying representation for a wide range of cannabis clients, Tara and her team work with physicians, lenders, real estate developers, landlords, ancillary service providers, banks, licensed adult use and medical marijuana companies, cultivators, processors, retailers and license applicants, helping them to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape of marijuana and hemp regulations. She also assists clients in the national hemp industry in obtaining licensing and approvals for processing, retailing, cultivation and other forms of secondary byproduct monetization. Her deep knowledge of regulatory laws and understanding of operations and logistics for cannabis companies, along with her ability to make connections and build partnerships, bring strategic value to her clients. 

Tara is the only person in the state of Florida to be appointed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to both the inaugural Industrial Hemp Advisory Council created under Senate Bill 1020 and to the state’s Hemp Advisory Committee, which she currently chairs. A prolific presenter and speaker at industry seminars and conferences, she has served as the keynote speaker on industry regulations at over 60 events in the past two years. In the fall of 2018, Tara became the first professor in the state of Florida to teach a law school course on marijuana law and policy at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she continues to teach today.

Prior to joining the firm, Tara worked as a legal extern for the University of Florida General Counsel and Office of the Vice President as well as for the Orlando Juvenile Public Defenders Office. For over a decade, she has also worked professionally as a private speech and debate coach and taught at multiple national debate institutes, including the National Debate Forum at Emerson University, the National Symposium for Debate at Grinnell College and Victory Briefs Institute at UCLA.

Tara is a contributing writer at the Orlando Sentinel and has spoken about various real estate topics on Fox News.

To view Tara's information specific to Land Use or Cannabis, click the corresponding links below. 

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