October 14, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2009                                    SB 2244
       
       
       
       By Senator Altman
       
       
       
       
       24-01006B-09                                          20092244__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to land used for conservation
    3         purposes; creating s. 196.1962, F.S.; specifying
    4         conservation purposes for which land must be used in
    5         order to qualify for an ad valorem tax exemption;
    6         requiring that such land be perpetually encumbered by
    7         a conservation easement or other instrument; providing
    8         for the assessment and ad valorem taxation of real
    9         property within an area perpetually encumbered by a
   10         conservation easement or other instrument which
   11         contains a paved road, residence, commercial
   12         structure, or other improvement; requiring land that
   13         is exempt from ad valorem taxation and used for
   14         agricultural or silvicultural purposes be managed
   15         pursuant to certain best-management practices;
   16         requiring an owner of land that is exempt from ad
   17         valorem taxation to take actions to preserve the
   18         perpetual effect of the conservation easement or other
   19         instrument; providing that land less than a certain
   20         acreage does not qualify for the ad valorem tax
   21         exemption; providing exceptions; requiring the
   22         Department of Revenue to adopt rules; amending s.
   23         193.011, F.S.; requiring a property appraiser to
   24         consider the use of property for conservation purposes
   25         in determining the just value of the property;
   26         amending s. 193.501, F.S.; providing for the
   27         assessment of certain land used for conservation
   28         purposes; defining the term “conservation purpose”;
   29         providing an effective date.
   30  
   31  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   32  
   33         Section 1. Section 196.1962, Florida Statutes, is created
   34  to read:
   35         196.1962Exemption of real property dedicated in perpetuity
   36  for conservation purposes.—
   37         (1)Pursuant to s. 3(f), Art. VII of the State
   38  Constitution, real property that is dedicated in perpetuity for
   39  the conservation purposes specified in this section is exempt
   40  from ad valorem taxation.
   41         (a)Real property qualifying for the exemption shall be
   42  perpetually encumbered by a valid and enforceable conservation
   43  easement or other instrument that:
   44         1.Requires the property to serve a conservation purpose,
   45  as defined in 26 U.S.C. s. 170(h)(4)(A), which serves as the
   46  basis of a qualified conservation contribution under 26 U.S.C.
   47  s. 170(h); or
   48         2.a.Requires the perpetual retention of the substantial
   49  natural value of the property, including, but not limited to,
   50  woodlands, wetlands, water courses, ponds, streams, and natural
   51  open spaces or requires the restoration of the natural resources
   52  of the land;
   53         b.Requires the conservation of native wildlife habitat,
   54  water quality enhancement, or water quantity recharge;
   55         c.Prohibits subsurface excavation, billboards, trash,
   56  unlawful pollutants, new paved roads, or residential or
   57  commercial structures on the property and requires the property
   58  to be kept in essentially its natural state;
   59         d.Includes baseline documentation as to the natural values
   60  to be protected on the property and may include a management
   61  plan that details the management of the property so as to
   62  effectuate the conservation of natural resources on the
   63  property;
   64         e.Is enforceable by a federal or state agency, county,
   65  municipality, or water management district, or a federal or
   66  state agency or nonprofit corporation designated by such
   67  entities;
   68         f.Allows for periodic review by any enforcing entity of
   69  the provisions of the easement or instrument;
   70         g.Provides for the perpetual enforcement of the provisions
   71  of the easement or instrument against any present or future
   72  owner of the property; and
   73         h.Provides that the conservation easement or other
   74  instrument is perpetual and nonrevocable.
   75         (b)If real property that is perpetually encumbered by a
   76  conservation easement or other instrument contains a paved road,
   77  residence, commercial structure, or other improvement, but
   78  otherwise satisfies the requirements of paragraph (a):
   79         1.The use of the real property for a residence, commercial
   80  structure, or other improvement, is not a conservation purpose.
   81  Each structure, together with 1 acre of land on which the
   82  structure is located is subject to ad valorem taxation as if the
   83  conservation easement or other instrument does not exist.
   84         2.The use of the real property for a paved road is not a
   85  conservation purpose. The paved road is subject to ad valorem
   86  taxation as if the conservation easement or other instrument
   87  does not exist.
   88  
   89  The balance of the property that does not contain a paved road,
   90  residence, commercial structure, or other improvement is exempt
   91  from ad valorem taxation.
   92         (2)Real property that is exempt from ad valorem taxation
   93  pursuant to this section and is used for agricultural or
   94  silvicultural purposes must be maintained pursuant to the most
   95  recent best-management practices established by the Division of
   96  Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
   97  or other entity designated by the department.
   98         (3)An owner of real property that is exempt from ad
   99  valorem taxation pursuant to this section shall abide by the
  100  requirements of the Florida Marketable Record Title Act, chapter
  101  712, or any other similar law or rule to preserve the effect of
  102  the qualifying conservation easement or other instrument in
  103  perpetuity.
  104         (4)(a)Notwithstanding subsection (1), real property that
  105  is less than 40 contiguous acres is not large enough to serve a
  106  conservation purpose that is sufficient to entitle the property
  107  to the exemption unless the property:
  108         1.Contains a natural sinkhole or a natural spring that
  109  serves a significant water recharge or water production
  110  function;
  111         2.Contains a unique geological, archaeological,
  112  historical, or cultural feature;
  113         3.Provides habitat for a species that is listed as one of
  114  Florida's endangered, threatened, or species of special concern
  115  or listed pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act or a
  116  successor law;
  117         4.Is perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or
  118  other instrument that protects a shoreline adjacent to
  119  Outstanding Florida Waters, an Estuary of National Significance,
  120  or an American Heritage River; or
  121         5.Is perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or
  122  other instrument that protects lands adjacent to public lands
  123  that are managed for conservation purposes or other private
  124  lands that are perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement
  125  or other instrument.
  126         (b)The Department of Revenue shall adopt rules providing
  127  for the administration of this subsection.
  128         Section 2. Section 193.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  129  read:
  130         193.011 Factors to consider in deriving just valuation.—In
  131  arriving at just valuation as required under s. 4, Art. VII of
  132  the State Constitution, the property appraiser shall take into
  133  consideration the following factors:
  134         (1) The present cash value of the property, which is the
  135  amount a willing purchaser would pay a willing seller, exclusive
  136  of reasonable fees and costs of purchase, in cash or the
  137  immediate equivalent thereof in a transaction at arm’s length;
  138         (2) The highest and best use to which the property can be
  139  expected to be put in the immediate future and the present use
  140  of the property, taking into consideration the legally
  141  permissible use of the property, including any applicable
  142  judicial limitation, local or state land use regulation, or
  143  historic preservation ordinance, and any zoning changes,
  144  concurrency requirements, and permits necessary to achieve the
  145  highest and best use, the use of the property for conservation
  146  purposes, and considering any moratorium imposed by executive
  147  order, law, ordinance, regulation, resolution, or proclamation
  148  adopted by any governmental body or agency or the Governor when
  149  the moratorium or judicial limitation prohibits or restricts the
  150  development or improvement of property as otherwise authorized
  151  by applicable law. The applicable governmental body or agency or
  152  the Governor shall notify the property appraiser in writing of
  153  any executive order, ordinance, regulation, resolution, or
  154  proclamation it adopts imposing any such limitation, regulation,
  155  or moratorium;
  156         (3) The location of said property;
  157         (4) The quantity or size of said property;
  158         (5) The cost of said property and the present replacement
  159  value of any improvements thereon;
  160         (6) The condition of said property;
  161         (7) The income from said property; and
  162         (8) The net proceeds of the sale of the property, as
  163  received by the seller, after deduction of all of the usual and
  164  reasonable fees and costs of the sale, including the costs and
  165  expenses of financing, and allowance for unconventional or
  166  atypical terms of financing arrangements. When the net proceeds
  167  of the sale of any property are utilized, directly or
  168  indirectly, in the determination of just valuation of realty of
  169  the sold parcel or any other parcel under the provisions of this
  170  section, the property appraiser, for the purposes of such
  171  determination, shall exclude any portion of such net proceeds
  172  attributable to payments for household furnishings or other
  173  items of personal property.
  174         Section 3. Section 193.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  175  read:
  176         193.501 Assessment of lands used for conservation purposes
  177  subject to a conservation easement, environmentally endangered
  178  lands, or lands used for outdoor recreational or park purposes
  179  when land development rights have been conveyed or conservation
  180  restrictions have been covenanted.—
  181         (1) The owner or owners in fee of any land subject to a
  182  conservation easement as described in s. 704.06(1), which is not
  183  exempt from ad valorem taxation pursuant to s. 196.1962; land
  184  covenanted for conservation purposes pursuant to paragraph (b);
  185  land qualified as environmentally endangered pursuant to
  186  paragraph (6)(i) and so designated by formal resolution of the
  187  governing board of the municipality or county within which such
  188  land is located; land designated as conservation land in a
  189  comprehensive plan adopted by the appropriate municipal or
  190  county governing body; or any land which is used utilized for
  191  outdoor recreational or park purposes may, by appropriate
  192  instrument, for a term of not less than 10 years:
  193         (a) Convey the development right of such land to the
  194  governing board of any public agency in this state within which
  195  the land is located, or to the Board of Trustees of the Internal
  196  Improvement Trust Fund, or to a charitable corporation or trust
  197  as described in s. 704.06(3); or
  198         (b) Covenant with the governing board of any public agency
  199  in this state within which the land is located, or with the
  200  Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or
  201  with a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
  202  704.06(3), that such land be used for subject to one or more of
  203  the conservation purposes or restrictions provided in s.
  204  704.06(1) or not be used by the owner for any purpose other than
  205  outdoor recreational or park purposes. If land is covenanted and
  206  used for an outdoor recreational purpose, the normal use and
  207  maintenance of the land for that purpose, consistent with the
  208  covenant, shall not be restricted. Covenants requiring land to
  209  be used for conservation purposes may prohibit the use of the
  210  land for:
  211         1.Construction or placing of buildings, roads, signs,
  212  billboards or other advertising, utilities, or other structures
  213  on or above the ground.
  214         2.Dumping or placing of soil or other substance or
  215  material as landfill or dumping or placing of trash, waste, or
  216  unsightly or offensive materials.
  217         3.Removal or destruction of trees, shrubs, or other
  218  vegetation.
  219         4.Excavation, dredging, or removal of loam, peat, gravel,
  220  soil, rock, or other material substance in such manner as to
  221  affect the surface.
  222         5.Surface use except for purposes that permit the land or
  223  water area to remain predominantly in its natural condition.
  224         6.Activities detrimental to drainage, flood control, water
  225  conservation, erosion control, soil conservation, or fish and
  226  wildlife habitat preservation.
  227         7.Acts or uses detrimental to such retention of land or
  228  water areas.
  229         8.Acts or uses detrimental to the preservation of the
  230  structural integrity or physical appearance of sites or
  231  properties of historical, architectural, archaeological, or
  232  cultural significance.
  233         (2) The governing board of any public agency in this state,
  234  or the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund,
  235  or a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
  236  704.06(3), is authorized and empowered in its discretion to
  237  accept any and all instruments conveying the development right
  238  of any such land or establishing a covenant to use the land for
  239  conservation purposes pursuant to subsection (1), and if
  240  accepted by the board or charitable corporation or trust, the
  241  instrument shall be promptly filed with the appropriate officer
  242  for recording in the same manner as any other instrument
  243  affecting the title to real property.
  244         (3) When, pursuant to subsections (1) and (2), the
  245  development right in real property has been conveyed to the
  246  governing board of any public agency of this state, to the Board
  247  of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or to a
  248  charitable corporation or trust as described in s. 704.06(2), or
  249  a covenant has been executed and accepted by the board or
  250  charitable corporation or trust, the lands which are the subject
  251  of such conveyance or covenant shall be thereafter assessed as
  252  provided herein:
  253         (a) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period of
  254  not less than 10 years from January 1 in the year such
  255  assessment is made, the property appraiser, in valuing such land
  256  for tax purposes, shall consider no factors other than those
  257  relative to its value for the present use, as restricted by any
  258  conveyance or covenant under this section.
  259         (b) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period less
  260  than 10 years, the land shall be assessed under the provisions
  261  of s. 193.011, recognizing the nature and length thereof of any
  262  restriction placed on the use of the land under the provisions
  263  of subsection (1).
  264         (4) After making a conveyance of the development right or
  265  executing a covenant pursuant to this section, or conveying a
  266  conservation easement pursuant to this section and s. 704.06,
  267  the owner of the land shall not use the land in any manner not
  268  consistent with the development right voluntarily conveyed, or
  269  with the restrictions voluntarily imposed, or with the terms of
  270  the conservation easement or shall not change the use of the
  271  land from outdoor recreational or park purposes during the term
  272  of such conveyance or covenant without first obtaining a written
  273  instrument from the board or charitable corporation or trust,
  274  which instrument reconveys all or part of the development right
  275  to the owner or releases the owner from the terms of the
  276  covenant and which instrument must be promptly recorded in the
  277  same manner as any other instrument affecting the title to real
  278  property. Upon obtaining approval for reconveyance or release,
  279  the reconveyance or release shall be made to the owner upon
  280  payment of the deferred tax liability. Any payment of the
  281  deferred tax liability shall be payable to the county tax
  282  collector within 90 days of the date of approval by the board or
  283  charitable corporation or trust of the reconveyance or release.
  284  The collector shall distribute the payment to each governmental
  285  unit in the proportion that its millage bears to the total
  286  millage levied on the parcel for the years in which such
  287  conveyance or covenant was in effect.
  288         (5) The governing board of any public agency or the Board
  289  of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund or a
  290  charitable corporation or trust which holds title to a
  291  development right pursuant to this section may not convey that
  292  development right to anyone other than the governing board of
  293  another public agency or a charitable corporation or trust, as
  294  described in s. 704.06(3), or the record owner of the fee
  295  interest in the land to which the development right attaches.
  296  The conveyance from the governing board of a public agency or
  297  the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund to
  298  the owner of the fee shall be made only after a determination by
  299  the board that such conveyance would not adversely affect the
  300  interest of the public. Section 125.35 does not apply to such
  301  sales, but any public agency accepting any instrument conveying
  302  a development right pursuant to this section shall forthwith
  303  adopt appropriate regulations and procedures governing the
  304  disposition of same. These regulations and procedures must
  305  provide in part that the board may not convey a development
  306  right to the owner of the fee without first holding a public
  307  hearing and unless notice of the proposed conveyance and the
  308  time and place at which the public hearing is to be held is
  309  published once a week for at least 2 weeks in some newspaper of
  310  general circulation in the county involved prior to the hearing.
  311         (6) The following terms whenever used as referred to in
  312  this section have the following meanings unless a different
  313  meaning is clearly indicated by the context:
  314         (a) “Board” is the governing board of any city, county, or
  315  other public agency of the state or the Board of Trustees of the
  316  Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
  317         (b) “Conservation purpose restriction” means protecting the
  318  natural, scenic, or open space values of real property; ensuring
  319  the availability of real property for wildlife habitat and
  320  recreational or open space use, including scenic enjoyment;
  321  protecting natural resources; maintaining or enhancing air or
  322  water quality or wetlands; or preserving sites or properties of
  323  a historical, archaeological, or cultural significance a
  324  limitation on a right to the use of land for purposes of
  325  conserving or preserving land or water areas predominantly in
  326  their natural, scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition.
  327  The limitation on rights to the use of land may involve or
  328  pertain to any of the activities enumerated in s. 704.06(1).
  329         (c) “Conservation easement” means that property right
  330  described in s. 704.06.
  331         (d) “Covenant” is a covenant running with the land.
  332         (e) “Deferred tax liability” means an amount equal to the
  333  difference between the total amount of taxes that would have
  334  been due in March in each of the previous years in which the
  335  conveyance or covenant was in effect if the property had been
  336  assessed under the provisions of s. 193.011 and the total amount
  337  of taxes actually paid in those years when the property was
  338  assessed under the provisions of this section, plus interest on
  339  that difference computed as provided in s. 212.12(3).
  340         (f) “Development right” is the right of the owner of the
  341  fee interest in the land to change the use of the land.
  342         (g) “Outdoor recreational or park purposes” includes, but
  343  is not necessarily limited to, boating, golfing, camping,
  344  swimming, horseback riding, and archaeological, scenic, or
  345  scientific sites and applies only to land which is open to the
  346  general public.
  347         (h) “Present use” is the manner in which the land is
  348  utilized on January 1 of the year in which the assessment is
  349  made.
  350         (i) “Qualified as environmentally endangered” means land
  351  that has unique ecological characteristics, rare or limited
  352  combinations of geological formations, or features of a rare or
  353  limited nature constituting habitat suitable for fish, plants,
  354  or wildlife, and which, if subject to a development moratorium
  355  or one or more conservation easements or development
  356  restrictions appropriate to retaining such land or water areas
  357  predominantly in their natural state, would be consistent with
  358  the conservation, recreation and open space, and, if applicable,
  359  coastal protection elements of the comprehensive plan adopted by
  360  formal action of the local governing body pursuant to s.
  361  163.3161, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
  362  Development Regulation Act; or surface waters and wetlands, as
  363  determined by the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211.
  364         (7)(a) The property appraiser shall report to the
  365  department showing the just value and the classified use value
  366  of property that is subject to a conservation easement under s.
  367  704.06, property assessed as environmentally endangered land
  368  pursuant to this section, and property assessed as outdoor
  369  recreational or park land.
  370         (b) The tax collector shall annually report to the
  371  department the amount of deferred tax liability collected
  372  pursuant to this section.
  373         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009, and
  374  applies to property tax assessments made on or after January 1,
  375  2010.

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