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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 1126
       By Senator Altman
       24-00934-10                                           20101126__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to permitting; amending s. 403.973,
    3         F.S.; removing the authority of the Office of Tourism,
    4         Trade, and Economic Development to approve expedited
    5         permitting and comprehensive plan amendments;
    6         providing such authority to the Secretary of
    7         Environmental Protection; revising criteria for
    8         businesses submitting permit applications or local
    9         comprehensive plan amendments; providing that permit
   10         applications and local comprehensive plan amendments
   11         for specified biofuel and renewable energy projects
   12         are eligible for the expedited permitting process;
   13         providing for the establishment of regional permit
   14         action teams through the execution of memoranda of
   15         agreement developed by permit applicants and the
   16         secretary; providing for the appeal of a local
   17         government’s approval of an expedited permit or
   18         comprehensive plan amendment; requiring such appeals
   19         to be consolidated with challenges to state agency
   20         actions; specifying the form of the memoranda of
   21         agreement developed by the secretary; revising the
   22         deadline by which certain final orders must be issued;
   23         specifying additional requirements for recommended
   24         orders; providing for challenges to state agency
   25         action related to expedited permitting for specified
   26         renewable energy projects; revising provisions
   27         relating to the review of sites proposed for the
   28         location of facilities eligible for the Innovation
   29         Incentive Program; providing that certain electrical
   30         power projects are ineligible for expedited review;
   31         providing an effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 403.973, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   36  read:
   37         403.973 Expedited permitting; amendments to comprehensive
   38  plans plan amendments.—
   39         (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage and
   40  facilitate the location and expansion of those types of economic
   41  development projects which offer job creation and high wages,
   42  strengthen and diversify the state’s economy, and have been
   43  thoughtfully planned to take into consideration the protection
   44  of the state’s environment. It is also the intent of the
   45  Legislature to provide for an expedited permitting and
   46  comprehensive plan amendment process for such projects.
   47         (2) As used in this section, the term:
   48         (a) “Duly noticed” means publication in a newspaper of
   49  general circulation in the municipality or county with
   50  jurisdiction. The notice shall appear on at least 2 separate
   51  days, one of which shall be at least 7 days before the meeting.
   52  The notice shall state the date, time, and place of the meeting
   53  scheduled to discuss or enact the memorandum of agreement, and
   54  the places within the municipality or county where such proposed
   55  memorandum of agreement may be inspected by the public. The
   56  notice must be one-eighth of a page in size and must be
   57  published in a portion of the paper other than the legal notices
   58  section. The notice shall also advise that interested parties
   59  may appear at the meeting and be heard with respect to the
   60  memorandum of agreement.
   61         (b) “Jobs” means permanent, full-time equivalent positions
   62  not including construction jobs.
   63         (c)“Office” means the Office of Tourism, Trade, and
   64  Economic Development.
   65         (c)(d) “Permit applications” means state permits and
   66  licenses, and at the option of a participating local government,
   67  local development permits or orders.
   68         (d) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Environmental
   69  Protection or his or her designee.
   70         (3)(a) The secretary Governor, through the office, shall
   71  direct the creation of regional permit action teams, for the
   72  purpose of expediting review of permit applications and local
   73  comprehensive plan amendments submitted by:
   74         1. Businesses creating at least 50 100 jobs;, or
   75         2. Businesses creating at least 25 50 jobs if the project
   76  is located in an enterprise zone, or in a county having a
   77  population of fewer less than 75,000 or in a county having a
   78  population of fewer less than 100,000 which is contiguous to a
   79  county having a population of fewer less than 75,000, as
   80  determined by the most recent decennial census, residing in
   81  incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county., or
   82         (b) On a case-by-case basis and at the request of a county
   83  or municipal government, the secretary office may certify as
   84  eligible for expedited review a project not meeting the minimum
   85  job creation thresholds but creating a minimum of 10 jobs. The
   86  recommendation from the governing body of the county or
   87  municipality in which the project may be located is required in
   88  order for the secretary office to certify that any project is
   89  eligible for expedited review under this paragraph. When
   90  considering projects that do not meet the minimum job creation
   91  thresholds but that are recommended by the governing body in
   92  which the project may be located, the secretary office shall
   93  consider economic impact factors that include, but are not
   94  limited to:
   95         1. The proposed wage and skill levels relative to those
   96  existing in the area in which the project may be located;
   97         2. The project’s potential to diversify and strengthen the
   98  area’s economy;
   99         3. The amount of capital investment; and
  100         4. The number of jobs that will be made available for
  101  persons served by the welfare transition program.
  102         (c) At the request of a county or municipal government, the
  103  secretary office or a Quick Permitting County may certify
  104  projects located in counties where the ratio of new jobs per
  105  participant in the welfare transition program, as determined by
  106  Workforce Florida, Inc., is less than one or otherwise critical,
  107  as eligible for the expedited permitting process. Such projects
  108  must meet the numerical job creation criteria of this
  109  subsection, but the jobs created by the project do not have to
  110  be high-wage jobs that diversify the state’s economy.
  111         (d) Projects located in a designated brownfield area are
  112  eligible for the expedited permitting process.
  113         (e) Projects that are part of the state-of-the-art
  114  biomedical research institution and campus to be established in
  115  this state by the grantee under s. 288.955 are eligible for the
  116  expedited permitting process, if the projects are designated as
  117  part of the institution or campus by the board of county
  118  commissioners of the county in which the institution and campus
  119  are established.
  120         (f) Projects resulting in the production of biofuels
  121  cultivated on lands that are 1,000 acres or more or the
  122  construction of a biofuel or biodiesel processing facility or a
  123  facility generating renewable energy as defined in s.
  124  366.91(2)(d) are eligible for the expedited permitting process.
  125         (4) The regional teams shall be established through the
  126  execution of memoranda of agreement developed by the applicant
  127  and between the secretary, with input solicited from office and
  128  the respective heads of the Department of Environmental
  129  Protection, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department
  130  of Transportation and its district offices, the Department of
  131  Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Fish and Wildlife
  132  Conservation Commission, appropriate regional planning councils,
  133  appropriate water management districts, and voluntarily
  134  participating municipalities and counties. The memoranda of
  135  agreement should also accommodate participation in this
  136  expedited process by other local governments and federal
  137  agencies as circumstances warrant.
  138         (5) In order to facilitate local government’s option to
  139  participate in this expedited review process, the secretary
  140  office shall, in cooperation with local governments and
  141  participating state agencies, create a standard form memorandum
  142  of agreement. A local government shall hold a duly noticed
  143  public workshop to review and explain to the public the
  144  expedited permitting process and the terms and conditions of the
  145  standard form memorandum of agreement.
  146         (6) The local government shall hold a duly noticed public
  147  hearing to execute a memorandum of agreement for each qualified
  148  project. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and at the
  149  option of the local government, the workshop provided for in
  150  subsection (5) may be conducted on the same date as the public
  151  hearing held under this subsection. The memorandum of agreement
  152  that a local government signs shall include a provision
  153  identifying necessary local government procedures and time
  154  limits that will be modified to allow for the local government
  155  decision on the project within 90 days. The memorandum of
  156  agreement applies to projects, on a case-by-case basis, that
  157  qualify for special review and approval as specified in this
  158  section. The memorandum of agreement must make it clear that
  159  this expedited permitting and review process does not modify,
  160  qualify, or otherwise alter existing local government
  161  nonprocedural standards for permit applications, unless
  162  expressly authorized by law.
  163         (7) At the option of the participating local government,
  164  Appeals of local government approvals its final approval for a
  165  project shall may be pursuant to the summary hearing provisions
  166  of s. 120.574, pursuant to subsection (14), and consolidated
  167  with the challenge of any applicable state agency actions or
  168  pursuant to other appellate processes available to the local
  169  government. The local government’s decision to enter into a
  170  summary hearing must be made as provided in s. 120.574 or in the
  171  memorandum of agreement.
  172         (8) Each memorandum of agreement shall include a process
  173  for final agency action on permit applications and local
  174  comprehensive plan amendment approvals within 90 days after
  175  receipt of a completed application, unless the applicant agrees
  176  to a longer time period or the secretary office determines that
  177  unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances preclude final agency
  178  action within the 90-day timeframe. Permit applications governed
  179  by federally delegated or approved permitting programs whose
  180  requirements would prohibit or be inconsistent with the 90-day
  181  timeframe are exempt from this provision, but must be processed
  182  by the agency with federally delegated or approved program
  183  responsibility as expeditiously as possible.
  184         (9) The secretary office shall inform the Legislature by
  185  October 1 of each year which agencies have not entered into or
  186  implemented an agreement and identify any barriers to achieving
  187  success of the program.
  188         (10) The memoranda of agreement may provide for the waiver
  189  or modification of procedural rules prescribing forms, fees,
  190  procedures, or time limits for the review or processing of
  191  permit applications under the jurisdiction of those agencies
  192  that are party to the memoranda of agreement. Notwithstanding
  193  any other provision of law to the contrary, a memorandum of
  194  agreement must to the extent feasible provide for proceedings
  195  and hearings otherwise held separately by the parties to the
  196  memorandum of agreement to be combined into one proceeding or
  197  held jointly and at one location. Such waivers or modifications
  198  shall not be available for permit applications governed by
  199  federally delegated or approved permitting programs, the
  200  requirements of which would prohibit, or be inconsistent with,
  201  such a waiver or modification.
  202         (11) The standard form for memoranda of agreement shall
  203  include guidelines to be used in working with state, regional,
  204  and local permitting authorities. Guidelines may include, but
  205  are not limited to, the following:
  206         (a) A central contact point for filing permit applications
  207  and local comprehensive plan amendments and for obtaining
  208  information on permit and local comprehensive plan amendment
  209  requirements;
  210         (b) Identification of the individual or individuals within
  211  each respective agency who will be responsible for processing
  212  the expedited permit application or local comprehensive plan
  213  amendment for that agency;
  214         (c) A mandatory preapplication review process to reduce
  215  permitting conflicts by providing guidance to applicants
  216  regarding the permits needed from each agency and governmental
  217  entity, site planning and development, site suitability and
  218  limitations, facility design, and steps the applicant can take
  219  to ensure expeditious permit application and local comprehensive
  220  plan amendment review. As a part of this process, the first
  221  interagency meeting to discuss a project shall be held within 14
  222  days after the secretary’s office’s determination that the
  223  project is eligible for expedited review. Subsequent interagency
  224  meetings may be scheduled to accommodate the needs of
  225  participating local governments that are unable to meet public
  226  notice requirements for executing a memorandum of agreement
  227  within this timeframe. This accommodation may not exceed 45 days
  228  from the secretary’s office’s determination that the project is
  229  eligible for expedited review;
  230         (d) The preparation of a single coordinated project
  231  description form and checklist and an agreement by state and
  232  regional agencies to reduce the burden on an applicant to
  233  provide duplicate information to multiple agencies;
  234         (e) Establishment of a process for the adoption and review
  235  of any comprehensive plan amendment needed by any certified
  236  project within 90 days after the submission of an application
  237  for a comprehensive plan amendment. However, the memorandum of
  238  agreement may not prevent affected persons as defined in s.
  239  163.3184 from appealing or participating in this expedited plan
  240  amendment process and any review or appeals of decisions made
  241  under this paragraph; and
  242         (f) Additional incentives for an applicant who proposes a
  243  project that provides a net ecosystem benefit.
  244         (12) The applicant, the regional permit action team, and
  245  participating local governments may agree to incorporate into a
  246  single document the permits, licenses, and approvals that are
  247  obtained through the expedited permit process. This consolidated
  248  permit is subject to the summary hearing provisions set forth in
  249  subsection (14).
  250         (13) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law:
  251         (a) Local comprehensive plan amendments for projects
  252  qualified under this section are exempt from the twice-a-year
  253  limits provision in s. 163.3187; and
  254         (b) Projects qualified under this section are not subject
  255  to interstate highway level-of-service standards adopted by the
  256  Department of Transportation for concurrency purposes. The
  257  memorandum of agreement specified in subsection (5) must include
  258  a process by which the applicant will be assessed a fair share
  259  of the cost of mitigating the project’s significant traffic
  260  impacts, as defined in chapter 380 and related rules. The
  261  agreement must also specify whether the significant traffic
  262  impacts on the interstate system will be mitigated through the
  263  implementation of a project or payment of funds to the
  264  Department of Transportation. Where funds are paid, the
  265  Department of Transportation must include in the 5-year work
  266  program transportation projects or project phases, in an amount
  267  equal to the funds received, to mitigate the traffic impacts
  268  associated with the proposed project.
  269         (14)(a) Challenges to state agency action in the expedited
  270  permitting process for projects processed under this section are
  271  subject to the summary hearing provisions of s. 120.574, except
  272  that the administrative law judge’s decision, as provided in s.
  273  120.574(2)(f), shall be in the form of a recommended order and
  274  shall not constitute the final action of the state agency. In
  275  those proceedings where the action of only one agency of the
  276  state, other than the Department of Environmental Protection, is
  277  challenged, the agency of the state shall issue the final order
  278  within 45 10 working days after of receipt of the administrative
  279  law judge’s recommended order. The recommended order shall
  280  inform the parties of their right to file exceptions or
  281  responses to the recommended order in accordance with the Rules
  282  of Administrative Procedure. In those proceedings where the
  283  actions of more than one agency of the state are challenged, the
  284  Governor shall issue the final order within 45 10 working days
  285  after of receipt of the administrative law judge’s recommended
  286  order. The recommended order shall inform the parties of their
  287  right to file exceptions or responses to the recommended order
  288  in accordance with the Rules of Administrative Procedure. This
  289  paragraph does not apply to the issuance of department licenses
  290  required under any federally delegated or approved permit
  291  program. In such instances, the department shall enter the final
  292  order. The participating agencies of the state may opt at the
  293  preliminary hearing conference to allow the administrative law
  294  judge’s decision to constitute the final agency action. If a
  295  participating local government agrees to participate in the
  296  summary hearing provisions of s. 120.574 for purposes of review
  297  of local government comprehensive plan amendments, s.
  298  163.3184(9) and (10) apply.
  299         (b) Projects identified in paragraph (3)(f) or challenges
  300  to state agency action in the expedited permitting process for
  301  establishment of a state-of-the-art biomedical research
  302  institution and campus in this state by the grantee under s.
  303  288.955 are subject to the same requirements as challenges
  304  brought under paragraph (a), except that, notwithstanding s.
  305  120.574, summary proceedings must be conducted within 30 days
  306  after a party files the motion for summary hearing, regardless
  307  of whether the parties agree to the summary proceeding.
  308         (15) The secretary office, working with the agencies
  309  providing cooperative assistance and input regarding
  310  participating in the memoranda of agreement, shall review sites
  311  proposed for the location of facilities eligible for the
  312  Innovation Incentive Program under s. 288.1089. Within 20 days
  313  after the request for the review by the secretary office, the
  314  agencies shall provide to the secretary office a statement as to
  315  each site’s necessary permits under local, state, and federal
  316  law and an identification of significant permitting issues,
  317  which if unresolved, may result in the denial of an agency
  318  permit or approval or any significant delay caused by the
  319  permitting process.
  320         (16) This expedited permitting process shall not modify,
  321  qualify, or otherwise alter existing agency nonprocedural
  322  standards for permit applications or local comprehensive plan
  323  amendments, unless expressly authorized by law. If it is
  324  determined that the applicant is not eligible to use this
  325  process, the applicant may apply for permitting of the project
  326  through the normal permitting processes.
  327         (17) The secretary office shall be responsible for
  328  certifying a business as eligible for undergoing expedited
  329  review under this section. Enterprise Florida, Inc., a county or
  330  municipal government, or the Rural Economic Development
  331  Initiative may recommend to the secretary Office of Tourism,
  332  Trade, and Economic Development that a project meeting the
  333  minimum job creation threshold undergo expedited review.
  334         (18) The secretary office, working with the Rural Economic
  335  Development Initiative and the agencies participating in the
  336  memoranda of agreement, shall provide technical assistance in
  337  preparing permit applications and local comprehensive plan
  338  amendments for counties having a population of less than 75,000
  339  residents, or counties having fewer than 100,000 residents which
  340  are contiguous to counties having fewer than 75,000 residents.
  341  Additional assistance may include, but not be limited to,
  342  guidance in land development regulations and permitting
  343  processes, working cooperatively with state, regional, and local
  344  entities to identify areas within these counties which may be
  345  suitable or adaptable for preclearance review of specified types
  346  of land uses and other activities requiring permits.
  347         (19) The following projects are ineligible for review under
  348  this part:
  349         (a) A project funded and operated by a local government, as
  350  defined in s. 377.709, and located within that government’s
  351  jurisdiction.
  352         (b) A project, the primary purpose of which is to:
  353         1. Effect the final disposal of solid waste, biomedical
  354  waste, or hazardous waste in this state.
  355         2. Produce electrical power, unless the production of
  356  electricity is incidental and not the primary function of the
  357  project or the electrical power is derived from a fuel source
  358  for renewable energy as defined in s. 366.91(2)(d).
  359         3. Extract natural resources.
  360         4. Produce oil.
  361         5. Construct, maintain, or operate an oil, petroleum,
  362  natural gas, or sewage pipeline.
  363         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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