Planning, Zoning, and Environmental Hazards Snapshot Review



Goals of land use control

● preserve property values; promote highest and best use; safeguard public health, safety and welfare; control growth; incorporate community consensus

●process: develop plan; create administration; authorize controls

The master plan ● long term growth and usage strategies; often required by state law

●local plans fuse municipal goals and needs with state and regional laws

Planning objectives ● control growth rates: how much growth will occur and at what rate

●control growth patterns: type of growth desired, where it should be located

●accommodate demand for services and infrastructure

Plan development ● research trends and conditions; blend local and state objectives into master plan

Planning management ● commission makes rules, approves permits, codes, and development plans



Chap. 163 growth policy ● promotes strong urban centers wherein public services are in place prior to capital improvements 

County and municipal planning ● for local governments to establish planning programs for future development, encourage appropriate land, water, and resource use, overcome problems caused by land use and development; protects private property rights

Land development regulation ● DEO relegates power to local governments to make development decisions; diminishes state oversight; supervises funds used to incentivize businesses to come to Florida

Required elements ● comprehensive plans to include future land use, traffic circulation, conservation of natural resources, recreation, housing, coastal zone protection, intergovernmental coordination, utilities, and concurrency


PUBLIC LAND USE CONTROL ● state laws; local regulations, zones, codes; public ownership; private restrictions

Zoning ● “police power” granted by state-level enabling acts; zoning ordinance: creates zones, usage restrictions, regulations, requirements

● types of zones: residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, public, PUD

Zoning administration ● Zoning Board of Adjustment oversees rule administration and appeals

●nonconforming use: legal if use prior to zone creation; variance: exception based on hardship; special exception: based on public interest; amendment: change of zones; rezoning

Subdivision regulation ● plat of subdivision and relevant requirements must be met and approved; must meet FHA requirements for insured financing

Building codes ● comprehensive onsite and offsite construction and materials standards; must be met to receive certificate of occupancy

● Florida Building Code governs design, construction, erection, alteration, modification, repair, and demolition of public and private structures; includes wind speed risk categories; defines coastal high wind load areas

● building permits: any work regulated by the Florida Building Code must obtain required permit(s) with requirements based on work to be done; must submit work plans to prove compliance with wind load requirements; new construction requires Florida energy code compliance certificate

●building inspections: code compliance inspections required as project progresses; work to stop until inspection completed; final inspection required for certificate of occupancy

● R-value: measurement of insulation’s effectiveness and resistance to heat flow; minimum R-value is specified by building and energy codes



National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) ● created to provide flood insurance for structures located in flood hazard areas

●FEMA requires communities to adopt and enforce regulations to reduce flood risks to qualify for NFIP 

● SFHAs identified by FEMA and shown on FIRM as low-, moderate-, or high-risk; high-risk is a special flood hazard area with 1% statistical possibility of flooding each year

● special permit required for development within SFHAs with requirements based on A or V zone; restrictions include no obstruction of flood waters’ natural flow

Residential structures requirements ● lowest floor above base flood elevation or open foundation to allow water to flow under the structure

Nonresidential structures requirements ● lowest floor above base flood elecation or water tight below base flood elevation or open foundation

Proportion of NFIP purchasers in Florida ● 35-40% of all flood policy holders are in Florida



Areas of concern ● air, soil, water quality; ambient health hazards; natural hazards

wood-destroying organisms – real estate transactions require inspections for WDOs; must use state mandated form for inspection report; inspectors licensed by FL Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; report based on the day and time of inspection with no predictions of future WDO infestations; report requires specified information and statements; copies go to inspection requestor, property itself, and inspection company

Major legislation ● limits damage to environment; standards for air, land, water, materials use

Responsibilities & liabilities ● disclosure and information for practitioners; remediation for owners; lead disclosure; CERCLA/Superfund exposure; Phase I, II, III Environmental Site Assessments to detect and mitigate contamination