(1) The Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, shall implement an Energy Economic Zone Pilot Program for the purpose of developing a model to help communities cultivate green economic development, encourage renewable electric energy generation, manufacture products that contribute to energy conservation and green jobs, and further implement chapter 2008-191, Laws of Florida, relative to discouraging sprawl and developing energy-efficient land use patterns and greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development and the Florida Energy and Climate Commission shall provide technical assistance to the departments in developing and administering the program.
(2)(a) The application for a pilot project shall:
1. Identify the proposed location of the energy economic zone, which must be within an adopted urban service area and may include a county landfill outside the urban service boundary;
2. Present a proposed strategic plan for development and redevelopment in the energy economic zone;
3. Demonstrate consistency of the strategic plan with the local comprehensive plan or include proposed plan amendments necessary to achieve consistency; and
4. Identify comprehensive plan amendments that will be proposed to implement chapter 2008-191, Laws of Florida.
(b) The strategic plan under subparagraph (a)1. must include mixed-use and form-based standards that integrate multimodal transportation facilities with land use and development patterns to reduce reliance on automobiles, encourage certified green building developments and renewable energy systems, encourage creation of green jobs, and demonstrate how local financial and regulatory incentives will be used in the energy economic zone.
(c) The Department of Community Affairs shall grant at least one application if the application meets the requirements of this subsection and the community has demonstrated a prior commitment to energy conservation, carbon reduction, green building, and economic development. The Department of Community Affairs and the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development shall provide the pilot community, including businesses within the energy economic zone, with technical assistance in identifying and qualifying for eligible grants and credits in job creation, energy, and other areas.
(3) The Department of Community Affairs, with the assistance of the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, shall submit an interim report by February 15, 2010, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding the status of the pilot program. The report shall contain any recommendations deemed appropriate by the department for statutory changes to accomplish the goals of the pilot program community, including whether it would be beneficial to provide financial incentives similar to those offered to an enterprise zone.
(4) If the pilot project is ongoing, the Department of Community Affairs, with the assistance of the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by February 15, 2012, evaluating whether the pilot program has demonstrated success. The report shall contain recommendations with regard to whether the program should be expanded for use by other local governments and whether state policies should be revised to encourage the goals of the program.