(1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Myakka River Wild and Scenic Designation and Preservation Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE DECLARATION.—The Legislature finds and declares that a certain segment of the Myakka River in Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties possesses outstandingly remarkable ecological, fish and wildlife, and recreational values which are unique in the State of Florida. These values give significance to the river as one which should be permanently preserved and enhanced for the citizens of the State of Florida, both present and future. The permanent management and administration of the river involves a complex interaction of state, regional, and local interests which require balancing and coordination of purpose. It is the intention of the Legislature to provide for the permanent preservation of the designated segment of the Myakka River by way of development of a plan for permanent administration by agencies of state and local government which will ensure the protection necessary but retain that degree of flexibility, responsiveness, and expertise which will accommodate all of the diverse interests involved in a manner best calculated to be in the public interest.
(3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Activity” means the doing of any act or the failing to do any act, whether by a natural person or a corporation.
(b) “Agreement” means the interagency operating agreement between the department, the Department of Community Affairs, and Sarasota County or the City of North Port.
(c) “Coordinating council” means the council created by subsection (7).
(d) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.
(e) “Division” means the Division of Recreation and Parks of the Department of Environmental Protection.
(f) “Major infrastructure facility” means a manmade structure which serves the common needs of the population, such as a central sewage disposal system, potable water system, potable water well serving a system, solid waste disposal site or retention area, stormwater system, utility, causeway, marina, bridge, or roadway.
(g) “Person” means an individual, corporation, governmental agency or institution thereof, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or other legal entity.
(h) “Resource value” means any one or more of the specific economic, scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or ecological features associated with the river area as determined by the coordinating council.
(i) “River area” means that corridor of land beneath and surrounding the Myakka River from river mile 7.5 to river mile 41.5, together with a corridor including the maximum upland extent of wetlands vegetation as determined by the former Department of Environmental Regulation pursuant to chapter 403 and chapters 17-3 and 17-312, Florida Administrative Code.
(j) “Wild and scenic protection zone” means an area which extends 220 feet landward from the river area.
(4) DESIGNATION OF WILD AND SCENIC RIVER.—
(a) The corridor of land surrounding and beneath the Myakka River between river mile 7.5 and river mile 41.5 is hereby designated as a Florida wild and scenic river for the purposes of this section and is subject to all of the provisions of this section. Such designated portion is more particularly described as that portion of the Myakka River located between State Road 780 in Sarasota County and the Sarasota-Charlotte County line.
(b) The governments of Sarasota County and the City of North Port shall manage the Myakka River wild and scenic protection zone under their existing authorities for comprehensive planning, the regulation of land development activities, and other necessary or appropriate ordinances and in conformance with this section, the management plan required under subsection (5), and the agreements adopted by the department and the Department of Community Affairs with the city and county pursuant to this section.
(5) DEVELOPMENT OF MANAGEMENT PLAN.—
(a) The department and the coordinating council shall jointly develop a proposed management plan for the designated segment of the Myakka River, subject to and consistent with the provisions of this section.
(b) The development of the proposed management plan shall be by public hearing and shall include participation by all appropriate state agencies and by all appropriate or interested local governments and private organizations.
(c) The proposed management plan shall include provision for:
1. Permanent protection and enhancement of the ecological, fish and wildlife, and recreational values within the river area, primary emphasis being given to protecting agricultural, aesthetic, scenic, historic, archaeologic, and scientific features.
2. Continuation of land uses and developments on private lands within the river area which are in existence on January 1, 1986.
3. Periodic studies to determine the quantity and mixture of recreation and other public uses which can be permitted without adverse impact on the resource values of the river area.
4. Regulation, control, and distribution of public access where necessary to protect and enhance the resource values of the river area.
5. Consideration of need for basic facilities to absorb user impact on the river area, including necessary toilet or refuse containers, but, if found to be necessary, located in order to minimize their intrusive impact.
6. Restriction of motorized travel by land vehicle or boat where necessary to protect the resource values in the river area.
7. Agricultural and forestry practices similar in nature to those in the river area on January 1, 1986.
8. Resource management practices for the protection, conservation, rehabilitation, or enhancement of river area resource values.
9. Monitoring of existing water quality.
10. Continuance of existing drainage and water management practices, unless such existing practices will adversely affect, degrade, or diminish existing water quality or existing resource values in the river area, and allowance of new water resource management practices which will not have an adverse impact on resource values in the river area.
11. Review and regulation of all activities conducted or proposed to be conducted within the river area which will or may have an adverse impact on any of the resource values in the river area as provided in this section.
12. Review and regulation, by Sarasota County and the City of North Port under their respective authorities, of activities within the wild and scenic protection zone; and subsequent prohibition, or approval with or without conditions, of such activities in order to minimize potential adverse physical and visual impacts on resource values in the river area and to minimize adverse impacts on private landowners’ use of land for residential purposes.
(d) To the extent not inconsistent with this section, the proposed management plan may also include any other provisions deemed by the department to be necessary or advisable for the permanent protection of the river as a component of the Florida Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
(6) AMENDMENT OF REGULATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE PLANS.—
(a) Sarasota County and the City of North Port shall amend their comprehensive plans so that the parts of such plans that affect the wild and scenic protection zone conform to, or are more stringent than, this section, the river management plan, and management guidelines and performance standards to be developed and contained within agreements to be adopted by the department, the Department of Community Affairs, and the city and county. The guidelines and performance standards must be used by the department and the Department of Community Affairs to review and monitor the regulation of activities by the city and county in the wild and scenic protection zone. Amendments to those comprehensive plans must include specific policies and guidelines for minimizing adverse impacts on resources in the river area and for managing the wild and scenic protection zone in conformance with this section, the river management plan, and the agreement. Such comprehensive plans must be amended within 1 year after the adoption date of the agreement, and thereafter, within 6 months following an amendment to this section, the river management plan, or the agreement, as may be necessary. For the purposes established in this subsection, such amendments need not conform to statutory or local ordinance limitations on the frequency of consideration of amendments to local comprehensive plans.
(b) Sarasota County and the City of North Port shall adopt or amend, within 1 year after the department and the Department of Community Affairs adopt with the city and with the county agreements for regulating activities in the wild and scenic protection zone, any necessary ordinances and land development regulations so that those ordinances and regulations conform to the purposes of this section, the river management plan, and the agreement. Thereafter, following any amendment to this section, the river management plan, or the agreement, the city and county must amend or adopt, within 1 year, appropriate ordinances and land development regulations to maintain such local ordinances and regulations in conformance with this section, the river management plan, and the agreement. Those ordinances and regulations must provide that activities must be prohibited, or must undergo review and either be denied or permitted with or without conditions, so as to minimize potential adverse physical and visual impacts on resource values in the river area and to minimize adverse impacts on private landowners’ use of land for residential purposes. The resource values of concern are those identified in this section and by the coordinating council in the river management plan. Activities which may be prohibited, subject to the agreement, include, but are not limited to, landfills, clear cuttings, major new infrastructure facilities, major activities that would alter historic water or flood flows, multifamily residential construction, commercial and industrial development, and mining and major excavations. However, appurtenant structures for these activities may be permitted if such structures do not have adverse visual or measurable adverse environmental impacts to resource values in the river area.
(c) If the Department of Community Affairs determines that the local comprehensive plan or land development regulations, as amended or supplemented by the local government, are not in conformance with the purposes of this section, the river management plan, and the agreement, the Department of Community Affairs shall issue a notice of intent to find the plan not in compliance and such plan shall be subject to the administrative proceedings in accordance with s. 163.3184.
(7) MANAGEMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL.—
(a) Upon designation, the department shall create a permanent council to provide interagency and intergovernmental coordination in the management of the river. The coordinating council shall be composed of one representative appointed from each of the following: the department, the Department of Transportation, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Community Affairs, the Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Charlotte County, the City of Sarasota, the City of North Port, agricultural interests, environmental organizations, and any others deemed advisable by the department.
(b) The coordinating council shall review and make recommendations on all proposals for amendments or modifications to this section and to the permanent management plan, as well as on other matters which may be brought before the council by the department, any local government, or any member of the council, and shall render its nonbinding advisory opinion to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the department, and affected local governments.
(c) The Myakka River Management Coordinating Council shall prepare a report concerning the potential expansion of the Florida Wild and Scenic River designation to include the entire Myakka River. At a minimum, the report shall include a description of the extent of the Myakka River area that may be covered under the expanded designation and any recommendations or concerns of affected parties or other interests. During the development of the report, at least one public hearing shall be held in each of the affected areas of Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties. The report shall be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than January 1, 2008.
(d) The council may adopt bylaws to provide for election of such officers as it deems necessary, removal of officers for just cause, meetings, quorum, procedures, and other such matters as its members may deem advisable in the conduct of its business. Such bylaws shall be approved by the department.
(e) Such professional staff as the coordinating council may require shall be provided by the department.
(8) PRESERVATION OF EXISTING GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY.—
(a) Nothing contained in this section shall operate to divest any agency, water management district, municipality, county, or special district of any authority or jurisdiction in existence on January 1, 1986.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), Sarasota County and the City of North Port must, in exercising their authority and jurisdiction over any part of the wild and scenic protection zone, act in conformance with this section, the management plan, and the agreements entered into pursuant to this section.
(9) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—
(a) The department is authorized to adopt rules to regulate activities within the river area which have adverse impact on resource values as adopted by the coordinating council within the river area.
(b) The department shall coordinate all activities related to rule adoption and enforcement with the regulatory and management programs of other agencies in order to avoid to the maximum extent possible any conflicts or duplication arising therefrom.
(c) The department and the Department of Community Affairs must enter into agreements with the City of North Port and Sarasota County that provide for guiding and monitoring the regulation of activities by the city and county, in accordance with subsection (6). Such agreements shall include guidelines and performance standards for regulating proposed activities so as to minimize adverse environmental and visual impacts of such activities on the resource values in the river area, and to minimize adverse impacts to landowners’ use of land for residential purposes.
(10) PERMITTING AUTHORITY.—
(a) No person or entity shall conduct any activity within the river area which will or may have an adverse impact on any resource value in the river area without first having received a permit from the department.
(b) A permit may be granted only after a finding by the department that the activity for which a permit has been requested will not have an adverse impact on resource values in the river area.
(c) The department may adopt an application fee schedule providing for payment of reasonable fees to defray the cost of processing applications.
(11) NOTIFICATION BY REGULATORY AGENCIES.—All state, regional, and local regulatory agencies shall provide to the department notification of applications received by the agency for approval to conduct activities in the river area and protection zone.
(12) LEGAL STATUS OF COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENTS.—It is the intent of this section that the city and county amend their comprehensive plans, land development regulations, and other appropriate ordinances and regulations to be in conformance with this section, the river management plan, and guidelines and performance standards to be developed and adopted by agreement pursuant to this section. Such amendments shall have legal status as provided under s. 163.3194 and must be implemented through appropriate local regulations in accordance with s. 163.3201.
(13) STANDING TO ENFORCE AMENDED COMPREHENSIVE PLANS.—It is the intent of this section that any aggrieved or adversely affected person may maintain an action for injunction or other relief against the city or county to prevent any such local government from taking action in regulating activities not consistent with the comprehensive plan, land development regulations, and other appropriate ordinances and regulations, as amended, pursuant to this section and s. 163.3215.
(14) PERMITTED ACTIVITIES.—
(a) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or regulate any activity taking place outside the river area and the wild and scenic protection zone for which necessary permits and licenses are obtained as required by other provisions of federal, state, or local law.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit or limit public utilities from improving, maintaining, modifying, or expanding existing facilities or constructing new facilities in the river area or the wild and scenic protection zone, provided the necessary federal, state, and local permits and licenses are obtained.
(15) PROHIBITED ACTIVITY.—Airboats are prohibited from operating in the river area north of U.S. Highway 41 (State Road 45), except for uses officially allowed by government agencies.
(16) ENFORCEMENT.—Officers of the department shall have full authority to enforce any rule adopted by the department under this section with the same police powers given them by law to enforce the rules of state parks and the rules pertaining to saltwater areas under the jurisdiction of the Florida Marine Patrol.
(17) PENALTIES.—Violation of this section or of any rule adopted under this section constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Continuing violation after notice constitutes a separate violation for each day so continued.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, ch. 85-363; s. 30, ch. 86-163; s. 1, ch. 90-173; s. 101, ch. 94-356; s. 79, ch. 99-245; s. 1, ch. 2007-186.