(1)(a) Within 5 days after the filing of a petition for a hearing on land use pursuant to s. 403.50665, the designated administrative law judge shall schedule a land use hearing to be conducted in the county of the proposed site or associated facility that is not exempt from the requirements of land use plans and zoning ordinances under chapter 163 and s. 380.04(3), as applicable, as expeditiously as possible but not later than 30 days after the designated administrative law judge’s receipt of the petition. The place of such hearing shall be as close as possible to the proposed site or associated facility. If a petition is filed, the hearing shall be held regardless of the status of the completeness of the application. (b) Notice of the land use hearing shall be published in accordance with the requirements of s. 403.5115.
(c) The sole issue for determination at the land use hearing shall be whether or not the proposed site or nonexempt associated facility is consistent and in compliance with existing land use plans and zoning ordinances. If the administrative law judge concludes that the proposed site or nonexempt associated facility is not consistent or in compliance with existing land use plans and zoning ordinances, the administrative law judge shall receive at the hearing evidence on, and address in the recommended order any changes to or approvals or variances under, the applicable land use plans or zoning ordinances which will render the proposed site or nonexempt associated facility consistent and in compliance with the local land use plans and zoning ordinances.
(d) The designated administrative law judge’s recommended order shall be issued within 30 days after completion of the hearing and shall be reviewed by the board within 60 days after receipt of the recommended order by the board.
(e) If it is determined by the board that the proposed site or nonexempt associated facility does conform with existing land use plans and zoning ordinances in effect as of the date of the application, or as otherwise provided by this act, the responsible zoning or planning authority shall not thereafter change such land use plans or zoning ordinances so as to foreclose construction and operation of the proposed electrical power plant on the proposed site or associated facilities unless certification is subsequently denied or withdrawn.
(f) If it is determined by the board that the proposed site or nonexempt associated facility does not conform with existing land use plans and zoning ordinances, the board may, if it determines after notice and hearing and upon consideration of the recommended order on land use and zoning issues that it is in the public interest to authorize the use of the land for a site or associated facility, authorize a variance or other necessary approval to the adopted land use plan and zoning ordinances required to render the proposed site or associated facility consistent with local land use plans and zoning ordinances. The board’s action shall not be controlled by any other procedural requirements of law. In the event a variance or other approval is denied by the board, it shall be the responsibility of the applicant to make the necessary application for any approvals determined by the board as required to make the proposed site or associated facility consistent and in compliance with local land use plans and zoning ordinances. No further action may be taken on the complete application until the proposed site or associated facility conforms to the adopted land use plan or zoning ordinances or the board grants relief as provided under this act.
(2)(a) A certification hearing shall be held by the designated administrative law judge no later than 265 days after the application is filed with the department. The certification hearing shall be held at a location in proximity to the proposed site.
(b) Notice of the certification hearing and notice of the deadline for filing of notice of intent to be a party shall be made in accordance with the requirements of s. 403.5115. (3)(a) Parties to the proceeding shall include:
1. The applicant.
2. The Public Service Commission.
3. The Department of Community Affairs.
4. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
5. The water management district.
6. The department.
7. The regional planning council.
8. The local government.
9. The Department of Transportation.
(b) Any party listed in paragraph (a) other than the department or the applicant may waive its right to participate in these proceedings. If such listed party fails to file a notice of its intent to be a party on or before the 90th day prior to the certification hearing, such party shall be deemed to have waived its right to be a party.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 120, upon the filing with the administrative law judge of a notice of intent to be a party no later than 75 days after the application is filed, the following shall also be parties to the proceeding:
1. Any agency not listed in paragraph (a) as to matters within its jurisdiction.
2. Any domestic nonprofit corporation or association formed, in whole or in part, to promote conservation or natural beauty; to protect the environment, personal health, or other biological values; to preserve historical sites; to promote consumer interests; to represent labor, commercial, or industrial groups; or to promote comprehensive planning or orderly development of the area in which the proposed electrical power plant is to be located.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (e), failure of an agency described in subparagraph (c)1. to file a notice of intent to be a party within the time provided herein shall constitute a waiver of the right of that agency to participate as a party in the proceeding.
(e) Other parties may include any person, including those persons enumerated in paragraph (c) who have failed to timely file a notice of intent to be a party, whose substantial interests are affected and being determined by the proceeding and who timely file a motion to intervene pursuant to chapter 120 and applicable rules. Intervention pursuant to this paragraph may be granted at the discretion of the designated administrative law judge and upon such conditions as he or she may prescribe any time prior to 30 days before the commencement of the certification hearing.
(f) Any agency, including those whose properties or works are being affected pursuant to s. 403.509(5), shall be made a party upon the request of the department or the applicant. (4)(a) The order of presentation at the certification hearing, unless otherwise changed by the administrative law judge to ensure the orderly presentation of witnesses and evidence, shall be:
1. The applicant.
2. The department.
3. State agencies.
4. Regional agencies, including regional planning councils and water management districts.
5. Local governments.
6. Other parties.
(b) When appropriate, any person may be given an opportunity to present oral or written communications to the designated administrative law judge. If the designated administrative law judge proposes to consider such communications, then all parties shall be given an opportunity to cross-examine or challenge or rebut such communications.
(5) At the conclusion of the certification hearing, the designated administrative law judge shall, after consideration of all evidence of record, submit to the board a recommended order no later than 45 days after the filing of the hearing transcript.
(6)(a) No earlier than 29 days prior to the conduct of the certification hearing, the department or the applicant may request that the administrative law judge cancel the certification hearing and relinquish jurisdiction to the department if all parties to the proceeding stipulate that there are no disputed issues of fact or law to be raised at the certification hearing, and if sufficient time remains for the applicant and the department to publish public notices of the cancellation of the hearing at least 3 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing.
(b) The administrative law judge shall issue an order granting or denying the request within 5 days after receipt of the request.
(c) If the administrative law judge grants the request, the department and the applicant shall publish notices of the cancellation of the certification hearing, in accordance with s. 403.5115. (d)1. If the administrative law judge grants the request, the department shall prepare and issue a final order in accordance with s. 403.509(1)(a).
2. Parties may submit proposed recommended orders to the department no later than 10 days after the administrative law judge issues an order relinquishing jurisdiction.
(7) The applicant shall pay those expenses and costs associated with the conduct of the hearings and the recording and transcription of the proceedings.
(8) In issuing permits under the federally approved new source review or prevention of significant deterioration permit program, the department shall observe the procedures specified under the federally approved state implementation plan, including public notice, public comment, public hearing, and notice of applications and amendments to federal, state, and local agencies, to assure that all such permits issued in coordination with the certification of a power plant under this act are federally enforceable and are issued after opportunity for informed public participation regarding the terms and conditions thereof. When possible, any hearing on a federally approved or delegated program permit such as new source review, prevention of significant deterioration permit, or NPDES permit shall be conducted in conjunction with the certification hearing held under this act. It is the intent of the Legislature that the review, processing, and issuance of such federally delegated or approved permits be closely coordinated with the certification process established under this part. In the event of a conflict between the certification process and federally required procedures, the applicable federal requirements shall control.