Chapter 19: Planning, Zoning, and Environmental Hazards Flashcards Preview

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Government Planning

Real estate does not operate in a totally free market. Government planning began in the early years of our nation’s growth. Philadelphia, planned in 1682, Savannah in 1733, and Washington, D.C., in 1791 are examples of some of our older planned cities. The industrial revolution brought about a move away from formal planning as the economic philosophy of laissez-faire became popular, a concept that allowed citizens to do what they wished free of government intervention. The laissez-faire concept was based on the idea that competition and profit should prevail over the common good, regardless of the social costs.

Uncontrolled growth led to many problems. By allowing anything to be built anywhere, great concern was created, particularly among homeowners. Encroaching development of industrial plants into residential neighborhoods potentially threatened property values. Citizens developed a renewed interest in planning to control growth and protect values.


The introduction of zoning laws also brought about concern

over lost property value, as communities imposed restrictions on the use of land. For instance, a parcel that might have a higher value for use as a factory might be restricted to the use for a residence. Property owners were faced with losses in value without recourse. In 1926, opposition to zoning ultimately resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that zoning was a constitutional function of government that was based on the overriding benefits that accrued to the community.

The scope of planning today has been broadened to include wide geographic areas and is not limited to the city or county jurisdictional boundaries.


What are some of the key goals and benefits of planning

- Create an optimal social and economic environment.
- Allow the maximum number of properties to achieve their highest and best use.
- Ensure adequate provision of services.
- Reduce the cost of growth (tax money) by preventing reconstruction due to uncontrolled sprawl.
- Prevent losses in value by limiting the potential encroachment of incompatible uses.
- Provide for road right-of-ways and setbacks.
- Protect against costly drainage, flooding, or other environmental problems.
- Proactively reduce any political or equity issues in the site locations for landfills, prisons, and other possibly controversial, but necessary, facilities.


Florida's Comprehensive Plan

Florida has one of the most comprehensive and progressive land use planning programs in the country. From the first planning legislation in 1928, many laws, rules, regulations, and policies have been enacted affecting the planning and development activities of the state and local governments.

There are three levels of planning: local, regional, and state.


Local Government Planning

In Florida, the authority for establishing and implementing the roles, processes and powers of comprehensive planning and future development rests primarily with the local governments (counties or municipalities), which have regulatory authority over the use of land. The governing body of each local government designates a local planning agency. The agency may be a local planning commission, the planning department of the local government, or other instrumentality, including a countywide planning entity. The planning agency must include a representative of the school district, appointed by the school board. The government body may designate itself as the local planning agency with the addition of a nonvoting school board representative. All meetings of the local planning agency must be public meetings, and agency records are public records.


Regional Planning Councils (inter-jurisdiction)

Regional planning councils address land use planning and infrastructure issues that span multiple jurisdictions to ensure that the local plans are coordinated with plans of surrounding areas.


State Comprehensive Planning

State comprehensive planning, administered under the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, provides standards and processes to ensure that all comprehensive plans are financially feasible and that the plans provide the infrastructure needed to support development.


Florida's Growth Management Act of 1985

In 1985, Florida enacted the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act, Chapter 163, Part II, of the Florida Statutes. This statute, commonly referred to as Florida’s Growth Management Act, required local governments to develop a land-use plan that must be coordinated with the land-use plans of surrounding localities. The goal of this Act was to limit and control growth to acceptable levels, thereby considering the environmental, political, social, and human needs of society. Cities and counties were prevented from issuing building permits to developers or permit real estate growth ahead of or in advance of adequate infrastructure. Adequate facilities for transportation, streets, sewage and water, schools, police and fire protection, and health services were required to have approved planning and funding for their installation in advance of development.


Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act

The Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act of 1995 was enacted to provide remedies for property owners who are burdened by inordinate government restriction on the use of land. A simplified method was put into place that allows owners to obtain compensation from the government when such restrictions reduce the ability to use their land.


Community Planning Act of 2011

In 2011, The Growth Management Act specified in F.S. 163 was significantly modified and renames as the Community Planning Act. The new Act strengthened the role, processes, and powers of the local governments in the comprehensive planning. The revised statutes streamlined the planning process, expedited the state review process by reducing the levels of review at the state and regional levels, and reduced costs to the state and to property owners and developers.

Also in 2011, the community development and planning responsibilities that were previously under the DCA were moved to the Division of Community Development within the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).


The Comprehensive Plan Concurrency

F.S. 163 contains concurrency rules, which require a minimum level of public infrastructure be available to support growth and development around the development site. Every comprehensive plan is required by statute to address the following infrastructure items, referred to as concurrency elements, on a statewide basis:
- Sanitary sewer
- Solid waste
- Drainage
- Potable water


The Community Planning Act made other previously required concurrency elements

The Community Planning Act made other previously required concurrency elements optional and gave the local governments the option to extend concurrency requirements to additional public facilities within their jurisdictions. If they do so, the comprehensive plan must provide the principles, guidelines, standards, strategies, and means to ensure that the adopted levels of service can be reasonably met.
The comprehensive plan must be implemented by adopting sufficient land use control ordinances and capital improvement programs for the required concurrency elements.


Land Use

is the development that has occurred on the land, the development that is proposed by a developer on the land, or the use that is permitted or permissible on the land under an adopted comprehensive plan or element.


Capital Improvement

refers to the physical assets constructed or purchased to provide, improve, or replace a public facility, and which are typically large scale and high in cost. The cost of a capital improvement is generally nonrecurring and may require multiyear financing. The physical assets that have been identified as existing or projected needs in the individual comprehensive plan elements are considered capital improvements.


Comprehensive Plan Local Planning Agency

A comprehensive plan, or master plan, is an overall plan for the city or county. The purpose of the comprehensive plan is to ensure that area growth is consistent with an overall concept. Since change is inevitable, the plan must remain flexible. The development of the comprehensive plan is the primary function and responsibility of the local planning agency. The agency makes recommendations to the governing body regarding the adoption of the comprehensive plan and amendments.

During the preparation of plans, and prior to any recommendation to the governing body, the local planning agency must hold at least one public hearing, with public notice on the proposed plan or amendment.

The local planning agency has authority in the following three areas: review and approval of site plans, sign control, and subdivision plans.


Site Plans

include a map that describes the following:
• How the land will be developed
• Location of buildings and other structures
• Parking facilities
• Traffic control
• Landscaping


Sign Control

signs are an important advertising medium for businesses; however, they can be the cause of distraction and traffic accidents. Many people object to the size and placement of signs because they often lack aesthetic value. These concerns and others have led planners and government bodies to enact laws that control and restrict the size and placement of signs.


Subdivision Plans

must be prepared and submitted by developers before an overall plan of construction can begin. A map called a plat, must be approved by the local planning agency, after which it is reviewed by the governing body. Once approval of the governing body has been obtained, the plat is recorded in the public records, and assigned a book and page number for reference. Building permits cannot be issued until the plat has been made a part of the public record.


Preparing the Comprehensive Plan

1. Population Study
2. Thoroughfare Study
3. Physiographic Study
4. Economic Base Analysis Study
5. Existing Land Use Study


Population Study

The population study examines trends in population (both permanent and seasonal) over the past 20 or 30 years. The path of development and movement of people over time may indicate how future development should be coordinated.
Demographic information developed in this study is the most important element used to develop the comprehensive plan. From an estimate of the growth in the number of households, planners can estimate the future need for roads, schools, police, fire, and medical services, and other infrastructure required to support the community’s requirements. This information can also be useful in anticipating the need for additional social services.


Thoroughfare Study

A thoroughfare study examines the existing systems of streets, highways, and traffic patterns to determine the future arterial needs. A thoroughfare study generally involves several levels of government including city, county, and regional planning groups. Information gained in the population study forms the basis by which decisions are made that concern future requirements for streets, roads, and public transportation.
Federal and state laws mandate that studies be performed in urban areas that exceed certain population density. A large urban community draws traffic from surrounding areas, impacts the infrastructure, and clogs traffic arteries. By requiring a coordinated planning effort between cities, counties, and the state, better traffic systems can be developed at lesser taxpayer cost than would be possible with uncontrolled urban sprawl.


Physiographic Study

a physiographic study is one in which soil types and the load-bearing capacity of the land are studied. Land with low-bearing capacity would not be suitable for high-rise offices or heavy industry. Soil types are important in planning for potential agricultural use. Area maps are prepared based on these studies that show the various soil types. By using this information, planners can help assure that the highest and best use of land can be achieved.


Economic Base Analysis Study

An economic base analysis study reviews local business activity. It examines employment within the community to assist in projecting population, income, and other variables that affect the community. Employment is broken down and classified as being either basic or service by comparing national employment with local employment in the same business or industry.


Basic Businesses

basic industries or businesses, also called export, are those whose payroll costs are met essentially by dollars generated from outside the community. Examples of such businesses include large manufacturing plants, large tourist attractions, metropolitan airports and government centers such as Tallahassee, colleges and universities, and professional sports franchises. These businesses draw purchasing power into the area, thereby adding to the economic health of the community.


Service Businesses

service businesses hire and pay people locally with dollars earned from others who live in the same community, such as florist shops, ice cream parlors, beauty shops, movie theaters, and the like. These businesses provide the day-to-day services everyone wants, but essentially recirculate the same dollars within a community.


Existing Land Use Study

the existing land use study identifies how the land is currently developed and used. Every parcel of land within the study area is shown on a map that indicates the current use. Color codes are often used to identify different land uses. Once completed, these maps identify growth patterns and trends, which in turn help to determine the best future use of parcels in the path of growth. Understanding the current use of land provides the basis for planning for the future.
Land uses are generally categorized by user types. Each category is also divided into classifications, which may vary from one political jurisdiction to another.


The five different categories of land use and classification

-Residential (singe-family, small residential, large income properties)
-Commercial (retail, medical offices)
-Industrial (light assembly, warehouse, heavy industry)
-Special Purpose


Recreation and Community Facilities Study

The recreation and community facilities study locates and analyzes existing recreational and community facilities to determine the community’s ability to continue to provide these services in the future.

Based on information derived from the population study, planners can anticipate the number and location of similar facilities that may be required.


Required Elements of the Comprehensive Plan

- Future Land Use
- Transportation
- Water, sanitary and storm sewers, and solid waste
- Conservation of natural resources
- recreation
- housing
- coastal zone protection
- intergovernmental coordination


Future land use

the future land use plan states the proposed future general distribution, location, and extent of the uses of land. The proposed plan must be shown on land use maps and must be based upon surveys, studies, and data regarding the area. The approximate acreage and the general range of density or intensity of use must be provided. This plan must also establish the long-term direction of the land use programs and activities.
o Density- is a measurement of the number of people or residential units allowed per unit of land, such as residents or employees per acre.
o Intensity- is a measurement of the extent to which land may be developed or used, including the consumption or use of the space above, on, or below ground; the measurement of the use of or demand on natural resources; and the measurement of the use of or demand on facilities and services.