[*] Shareholder, Hopping Green Sams & Smith, P.A., Tallahassee, Florida. B.B.A., 1976, Florida International University; J.D., 1981, Florida State University. Return to text.

[1] See Act effective July 1, 1996, ch. 96-320, 148, 1996 Fla. Laws 1504, 1677 (codified at FLA. STAT 403.973 (Supp. 1996)); see also Fla. S. Comm. on Com. & Econ. Opp., CS for SB 958 (1996) Staff Analysis 1 (Feb. 20, 1996) (on file with comm.). The 1996 expedited permit review process was part of a larger bill that, among other things, replaced the state Department of Commerce and the Florida International Affairs Commission with Enterprise Florida, Inc., the new Florida Commission on Tourism, and the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. See generally ch. 96-320, 1996 Fla. Laws at 1504. Return to text.

[2] See Act effective Oct. 1, 1997, ch. 97-28, 2, 1997 Fla. Laws 170, 173 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973 (Supp. 1996)). Return to text.

[3] See id. Return to text.

[4] See id. 2(1), 1997 Fla. Laws at 173. Return to text.

[5] See discussion infra Part III. Return to text.

[6] Variance and waivers from state and regional agency rules can be obtained pursuant to section 120.542(2), Florida Statutes, which provides:

Variances and waivers shall be granted when the person subject to the rule demonstrates that the purpose of the underlying statute will be or has been achieved by other means by the person and when application of a rule would create a substantial hardship or would violate principles of fairness.
FLA. STAT. 120.542(2) (1997). To the extent any waiver or variance is available in a permit, license, or local development order, they will be addressed as part of the expedited permit review process. See ch. 97-28, 2(2)(d), (8), 1997 Fla. Laws at 173, 175. Return to text.

[7] See infra notes 25-27 and accompanying text. Return to text.

[8] See Act effective Oct. 1, 1997, ch. 97-28, 2(1), 1997 Fla. Laws 170, 173 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(1) (Supp. 1996)). Return to text.

[9] See id. 2(3)(c), 1997 Fla. Laws at 174 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(2) (Supp. 1996), codified at FLA. STAT. 403.973(3)(c) (1997)). Return to text.

[10] See id. 2(11)(d), 1997 Fla. Laws at 176 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(6) (Supp. 1996), codified at FLA. STAT. 403.973(11)(d) (1997)). Return to text.

[11] See id. 2(12)(b), 1997 Fla. Laws at 176-77 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(6) (Supp. 1996), codified at FLA. STAT. 403.973(12)(b) (1997)). Return to text.

[12] See id. 1(2)(d)(1)(c), 1997 Fla. Laws at 171 (amending FLA. STAT. 380.06(2)(d)(1) (Supp. 1996), codified at FLA. STAT. 380.06 (2)(d)(1)(c) (1997)). Return to text.

[13] See id. 2(13), 1997 Fla. Laws at 175, 177 (codified at FLA. STAT. 403.973(13) (1997)). As with their participation in the expedited permit review process, local governments may choose to have appeals of their final decisions considered through the summary hearing process. See id. 2(7), 1997 Fla. Laws at 175 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(2) (Supp. 1996), codified at FLA. STAT. 403.973(7) (1997)). Return to text.

[14] See id. 2(13), 1997 Fla. Laws at 175, 177. Return to text.

[15] See Memorandum of Agreement (Apr. 20, 1997) (on file with the Exec. Office of the Gov., Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Dev., Tallahassee, Fla.) [hereinafter MOA]. In addition to the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, the departments of Environmental Protection, Community Affairs, Transportation, Agriculture and Consumer Services, Labor and Employment Security, the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, all regional planning councils, and all water management districts are parties to the existing MOA. See id. at 1. Return to text.

[16] See FLA. STAT. 380.06 (15) (1997)). Return to text.

[17] See MOA, supra note 15, at 3. Return to text.

[18] See id. at 4. Return to text.

[19] See id. at 3. Return to text.

[20] See id. at 2. However, it is important to note that "[s]uch time limits and waivers of or modifications to procedural rules shall not be applicable to permit applications for federally delegated or approved permitting programs, whose requirements would prohibit or be inconsistent with such time frames, waivers or modifications." Id. Return to text.

[21] See id. at 3. Return to text.

[22] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(4) (1997). Return to text.

[23] See id. 403.973(5); see also discussion infra Part IV. Return to text.

[24] See FLA. STAT. 380.06(2)(d)(1)(c) (1997). Return to text.

[25] See Fla. S. Comm. on Comm'y Aff., CS for SB 1154 (1997) Staff Analysis 6 (Mar. 26, 1997) (on file with comm.). Return to text.

[26] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(6) (1997). Return to text.

[27] See id. 403.973(12)(a). Return to text.

[28] The term "jobs" is defined to mean permanent, full-time-equivalent positions, excluding construction jobs. See id. 403.973(2)(b). Return to text.

[29] See id. 403.973(3)(a)- (b). Originally, only counties having a population of less than 50,000 were eligible for the expedited review process. See id. 403.973(9) (Supp. 1996). The 1997 amendments increased the population requirement to include counties with a population of less than 75,000. See Act effective Oct. 1, 1997, ch. 97-28, 2(3)(b), 1997 Fla. Laws 170, 173 (amending FLA. STAT. 403.973(2) (Supp. 1996), codified at Fla. Stat. 403.973(3)(b) (1997)); see also Fla. H. R. Comm. on Govtl. Rules & Regs., CS for CS for SB 1154 (1997) Staff Analysis 5 (May 16, 1997) (available at Fla. Jt. Legis. Mgmt. Comm., Div. of Legis. Library Servs., Tallahassee, Fla.). The increase added two counties, Highlands and Putnam, to the list of 31 counties already eligible. At present, Florida counties with a population of less than 75,000 include Baker, Bradford, Calhoun, Columbia, De Soto, Dixie, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okeechobee, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington. See BUREAU OF ECON. & BUS. RES., U. OF FLA., 1995 FLORIDA STATISTICAL ABSTRACT 7-9 (29th ed. 1995). Return to text.

[30] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(3)(c) (1997). Return to text.

[31] See MOA, supra note 15, at 3. Return to text.

[32] See id. Return to text.

[33] See id. Return to text.

[34] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(15) (1997). Return to text.

[35] See id. ch. 414. Return to text.

[36] See id. 403.973(3)(c)(1)-(4). Return to text.

[37] See id. 403.973(15). Return to text.

[38] See id. 403.973(14). Return to text.

[39] See id. 403.973(17)(a). Return to text.

[40] See id. 403.973(17)(b). Return to text.

[41] Id. 403.973(11)(c). Return to text.

[42] See id. If, after reviewing the PDF, an agency concludes that it has no jurisdiction over a project, it must inform the OTTED in writing before the meeting. See MOA, supra note 15, at 3. Return to text.

[43] See MOA, supra note 15, at 3. Return to text.

[44] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(11)(c) (1997). Return to text.

[45] See id. Return to text.

[46] See id. 403.973(11)(f); see also MOA, supra note 15, at 4. Return to text.

[47] See MOA, supra note 15, at 4. Return to text.

[48] See id. Any subsequent modifications to the consolidated time schedule made at this pre-application meeting must be immediately communicated to the OTTED, all participating agencies, and the applicant. See id. Return to text.

[49] See supra note 8 and accompanying text. Return to text.

[50] See MOA, supra note 15, at 4. Return to text.

[51] See id. Return to text.

[52] See FLA. STAT. 380.06(7)(a) (1997). Return to text.

[53] "Significant permitting issues" include any issues which, if unresolved, could result in the denial of a permit or other agency approval. See MOA, supra note 15, at 5. Return to text.

[54] See id. Return to text.

[55] See id. Agencies needing such an extension must notify the OTTED at the earliest opportunity. See id. Return to text.

[56] See id. Return to text.

[57] See FLA. STAT. 403.973(8) (1997). Return to text.

[58] See id. Return to text.

[59] See id.; see also MOA, supra note 15, at 2. The OTTED is authorized to make the determination of whether unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances preclude an agency taking final action within the 90-day time period. See FLA. STAT. 403.973(8) (1997). Return to text.

[60] See generally FLA. STAT. 120.569 (1997). Return to text.

[61] See id. 403.973(10). Return to text.

[62] See id. 403.973(13). Return to text.

[63] See id. 120.574(1)(b). Return to text.

[64] See id. 403.973(7). If a participating local government agrees to participate in the summary hearing, sections 163.3184(9)-(10), Florida Statutes, apply, distinguishing between "In Compliance" and "Not In Compliance." See id. 403.973(13). Return to text.

[65] See id. 403.973(7). Return to text.

[66] See id. 403.973(13). Return to text.

[67] See id. Return to text.

[68] See id. Return to text.

[69] See id. Return to text.

[70] See id. 403.973(5). Return to text.

[71] See id. 403.973(6). Return to text.

[72] "Duly noticed" requires publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the local government with jurisdiction. See id. 403.973(2)(a). The notice must appear twice, once at least seven days before the meeting, and must state the date, time, and place of the meeting, and the places within the area where the proposed memorandum of agreement may be inspected by the public. The notice must be 1/8th of a page in size, and may not be published in the legal notices section. The notice must advise interested parties to appear at the meeting to be heard regarding the memorandum of agreement. See id. Return to text.

[73] See id. 403.973(5). Return to text.

[74] See id. 403.973(6). Return to text.

[75] See MOA supra note 15, at 4; see also supra Part III.D. The Legislature recognized the importance of these time savings when it acknowledged that "[p]rivate development interests may save money, in terms of avoiding delays and getting a certified project permitted quickly, if a local government chooses to participate and expedite its processes as authorized by [Senate Bill 1154]." Fla. S. Comm. on Comm'y Aff., CS for SB 1154 (1997) Staff Analysis 12 (Mar. 26, 1997) (on file with comm.). Return to text.

[76] See generally FLA. STAT. 403.973(11)(c) (1997). Return to text.

[77] See id. 403.973(11)(a). Return to text.

[78] See id. 403.973(6) (providing an exception to section 163.3187, Florida Statutes, which limits amendments to local plans to two per calendar year). Return to text.

[79] See id. 380.06(19)(b)(1)-(16). Return to text.

[80] See id. 403.973(12)(b). Return to text.

[81] See id. The project-specific memorandum of agreement must include a process by which the applicant will be assessed a fair share of the cost of mitigating the project's significant traffic impacts. See id. This provision is similar to Rule 9J-2.045 of the Florida Administrative Code, which describes how the Department of Community Affairs will evaluate transportation facility issues when reviewing DRI applications. See FLA. ADMIN. CODE R. 9J-2.045 (1996). Return to text.

[82] FLA. STAT. 403.973(11)(d) (1997). Return to text.

[83] See id.; see also MOA, supra note 15, at 4. Return to text.

[84] See supra notes 49-51 and accompanying text. Return to text.

[85] See FLA. STAT. 380.06(2)(d)(1)(c) (1997). Return to text.

[86] See id. 380.06(2)(d)(1)(a). Return to text.

[87] See id. 380.06(19)(b)(16). Return to text.

[88] See id. 120.60(1). Return to text.

[89] See supra note 25 and accompanying text. Return to text.