October 20, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2009                             CS for SB 2244
       
       
       
       By the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation;
       and Senator Altman
       
       
       
       592-04885-09                                          20092244c1
    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 conservation protection
    8         agreement; providing for the assessment and ad valorem
    9         taxation of real property within an area perpetually
   10         encumbered by a conservation easement or other
   11         instrument and which contains improvements; requiring
   12         land that is exempt from ad valorem taxation and used
   13         for agricultural or silvicultural purposes be managed
   14         pursuant to certain best-management practices;
   15         requiring an owner of land that is exempt from ad
   16         valorem taxation to take actions to preserve the
   17         perpetual effect of the conservation easement or other
   18         instrument; providing that land of less than a certain
   19         acreage does not qualify for the ad valorem tax
   20         exemption; providing exceptions; requiring the
   21         Department of Revenue to adopt rules; requiring the
   22         Department of Environmental Protection to adopt by
   23         rule a list of nonprofit entities that are qualified
   24         to enforce the provisions of a conservation easement
   25         or conservation protection agreement; amending s.
   26         193.501, F.S.; defining terms; providing for the
   27         assessment of lands used for conservation purposes;
   28         requiring that such lands be used for conservation
   29         purposes for at least 10 years; requiring a covenant
   30         or conservation protection agreement to be recorded in
   31         the official records; providing for the assessment of
   32         such land based on character or use; providing for the
   33         assessment of land if a conservation management plan
   34         extends for a specified period and the landowner has
   35         provided certain documentation to the property
   36         appraiser; requiring the filing of such plans with the
   37         Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a water
   38         management district under certain circumstances;
   39         requiring that the commission and the Department of
   40         Environmental Protection produce a guidance document
   41         establishing the form and content of a conservation
   42         management plan and establishing certain minimum
   43         standards for such plans; authorizing a property
   44         appraiser to require a signed application that
   45         includes certain statements by a landowner; requiring
   46         property appraisers to issue a report relating to the
   47         just value and classified use value of land used for
   48         conservation purposes; amending s. 195.073, F.S.;
   49         providing for the classification of lands used for
   50         conservation purposes for the purposes of ad valorem
   51         taxation; amending s. 196.011, F.S.; conforming a
   52         cross-reference; requiring an annual application for
   53         the exemption for land used for conservation purposes;
   54         requiring property owners to notify the property
   55         appraiser of changes in the use of exempt properties;
   56         providing penalties for failure to notify; creating s.
   57         218.125, F.S.; requiring the Legislature to
   58         appropriate moneys to replace the reductions in ad
   59         valorem tax revenue experienced by fiscally
   60         constrained counties; requiring each fiscally
   61         constrained county to apply to the Department of
   62         Revenue to participate in the distribution of the
   63         appropriation; specifying the documentation that must
   64         be provided to the department; providing a formula for
   65         calculating the reduction in ad valorem tax revenue;
   66         amending s. 704.06, F.S.; revising requirements for
   67         conservation easements and conservation protection
   68         agreements; authorizing the Department of Revenue to
   69         adopt emergency rules; providing for application of
   70         the act; providing an effective date.
   71  
   72  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   73  
   74         Section 1. Section 196.1962, Florida Statutes, is created
   75  to read:
   76         196.1962Exemption of real property dedicated in perpetuity
   77  for conservation purposes.—
   78         (1)Pursuant to s. 3(f), Art. VII of the State
   79  Constitution, real property that is dedicated in perpetuity for
   80  the conservation purposes specified in this section is exempt
   81  from ad valorem taxation.
   82         (a)Real property qualifying for the exemption must be
   83  perpetually encumbered by a valid and enforceable conservation
   84  easement or other conservation protection agreement that:
   85         1.Requires the property to serve a conservation purpose,
   86  as defined in 26 U.S.C. s. 170(h)(4)(A), which serves as the
   87  basis of a qualified conservation contribution under 26 U.S.C.
   88  s. 170(h); or
   89         2.a.Requires the perpetual retention of the substantial
   90  natural value of the property, including, but not limited to,
   91  woodlands, wetlands, water courses, ponds, streams, and natural
   92  open spaces or requires the restoration of the natural resources
   93  of the land;
   94         b.Requires the conservation of native wildlife habitat,
   95  water quality enhancement, or water quantity recharge;
   96         c.Prohibits subsurface excavation, billboards, trash,
   97  unlawful pollutants, new paved roads, or residential or
   98  commercial structures on the property and requires the property
   99  to be kept in essentially its natural state;
  100         d.Includes baseline documentation as to the natural values
  101  to be protected on the property and may include a management
  102  plan that details the management of the property so as to
  103  effectuate the conservation of natural resources on the
  104  property;
  105         e.Is enforceable by a federal or state agency, county,
  106  municipality, water management district, or nonprofit entity
  107  that is qualified to enforce the provisions of the easement or
  108  other conservation protection agreement;
  109         f.Allows for periodic review by any enforcing entity of
  110  the provisions of the easement or conservation protection
  111  agreement;
  112         g.Provides for the perpetual enforcement of the provisions
  113  of the easement or conservation protection agreement against any
  114  present or future owner of the property; and
  115         h.Provides that the conservation easement or other
  116  conservation protection agreement is perpetual and nonrevocable.
  117         (b)For purposes of this section, the term “conservation
  118  protection agreement” means a deed restriction, land use
  119  agreement, or covenant running with the land which dedicates the
  120  property for conservation purposes.
  121         (c)If property receiving the exemption under this section
  122  contains improvements, the portion of the property consisting of
  123  improvements and curtilage must be assessed separately pursuant
  124  to the provisions of chapter 193.
  125         (2)Real property that is exempt from ad valorem taxation
  126  pursuant to this section and is used for agricultural or
  127  silvicultural purposes must be maintained pursuant to the most
  128  recent best-management practices established by the Division of
  129  Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  130  or other entity designated by the department.
  131         (3)An owner of real property that is exempt from ad
  132  valorem taxation pursuant to this section shall abide by the
  133  requirements of the Florida Marketable Record Title Act, chapter
  134  712, or any other similar law or rule to preserve the effect of
  135  the qualifying conservation easement or other conservation
  136  protection agreement in perpetuity.
  137         (4)(a)Notwithstanding subsection (1), real property that
  138  is perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or other
  139  conservation protection agreement and that is less than 40
  140  contiguous acres is not entitled to the exemption under this
  141  section unless the property:
  142         1.Contains a natural sinkhole or a natural spring that
  143  serves a significant water recharge or water production
  144  function;
  145         2.Contains a unique geological feature;
  146         3.Provides habitat for a species that is listed as one of
  147  Florida’s endangered, threatened, or species of special concern
  148  or listed pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act or a
  149  successor law;
  150         4.Includes a shoreline adjacent to a beach on the Atlantic
  151  Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, Outstanding Florida Waters, an Estuary
  152  of National Significance, or an American Heritage River; or
  153         5.Is adjacent to public lands that are managed for
  154  conservation purposes or other private lands that are
  155  perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or other
  156  conservation protection agreement, and is at least 5 contiguous
  157  acres in size.
  158         (b)In order to qualify for the exemption under this
  159  section, real property that is less than 40 contiguous acres
  160  must have a management plan that is approved by the entity
  161  responsible for enforcing the easement or other conservation
  162  protection agreement.
  163         (5)The Department of Revenue shall adopt rules providing
  164  for the administration of this section.
  165         (6)The Department of Environmental Protection shall adopt
  166  by rule a list of nonprofit entities that are qualified to
  167  enforce the provisions of an easement or other conservation
  168  protection agreement.
  169         Section 2. Section 193.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  170  read:
  171         193.501 Assessment of lands used for conservation purposes
  172  subject to a conservation easement, environmentally endangered
  173  lands, or lands used for outdoor recreational or park purposes
  174  when land development rights have been conveyed or conservation
  175  restrictions have been covenanted.—
  176         (1)As used in this section and pursuant to s. 4(b), Art.
  177  VII of the State Constitution, the term:
  178         (a)“Lands used for conservation purposes” means:
  179         1.Lands designated as environmentally endangered lands by
  180  a formal resolution of the governing body of the local
  181  government within whose jurisdictional boundaries the land is
  182  located;
  183         2.Land designated as conservation land in a local
  184  comprehensive plan adopted by the appropriate local governing
  185  body pursuant to chapter 163;
  186         3.Lands used for outdoor recreational or park purposes if
  187  land development rights have been conveyed;
  188         4.Lands used for the conservation specified in s. 196.1962
  189  when a conservation easement or a conservation protection
  190  agreement has been executed pursuant to s. 704.06; or
  191         5.Land for which a conservation management plan has been
  192  filed with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a
  193  water management district and for which the activities and
  194  actions are being carried out according the conservation
  195  management plan.
  196         (b)“Board” means the governing board of any municipality
  197  county, or other public agency of the state, or the Board of
  198  Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
  199         (c)“Conservation easement” has the same meaning as
  200  provided in s. 704.06(1).
  201         (d)“Covenant” means a covenant running with the land.
  202         (e)“Deferred tax liability” means an amount equal to the
  203  difference between the total amount of taxes that would have
  204  been due in March in each of the previous years in which the
  205  conveyance or covenant was in effect if the property had been
  206  assessed under the provisions of s. 193.011 and the total amount
  207  of taxes actually paid in those years if the property was
  208  assessed as provided in this section, plus interest on that
  209  difference. The interest accrues at the rate of 1 percent per
  210  month beginning on the 21st day of the month following the month
  211  in which the full amount of tax based on an assessment pursuant
  212  to s. 193.011 would have been due.
  213         (f)“Development right” means the right of the owner of the
  214  fee interest in the land to change the use of the land.
  215         (g)“Outdoor recreational or park purposes” includes, but
  216  is not limited to, boating, golfing, camping, swimming,
  217  horseback riding, and archaeological, scenic, or scientific
  218  sites. The term applies only to activities on land that is open
  219  to the general public.
  220         (h)“Qualified as environmentally endangered” means:
  221         1.Land that has unique ecological characteristics, rare or
  222  limited combinations of geological formations, or features of a
  223  rare or limited nature constituting habitat suitable for fish,
  224  plants, or wildlife, and which, if subject to a development
  225  moratorium or one or more conservation easements or development
  226  restrictions appropriate to retaining such land or water areas
  227  predominantly in their natural state, would be consistent with
  228  the conservation, recreation, and open space and, if applicable,
  229  coastal protection elements of the comprehensive plan adopted by
  230  formal action of the local governing body pursuant to s.
  231  163.3161, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
  232  Development Regulation Act; or
  233         2.Surface waters and wetlands as determined by the
  234  methodology ratified by s. 373.4211.
  235         (i)“Conservation management plan” means a document filed
  236  with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a water
  237  management district specifying actions and activities to be
  238  undertaken on an annual basis for a period of at least 10 years
  239  to manage land for the benefit of native wildlife and habitat,
  240  native plant and animal communities, and natural water features.
  241         (2)(1) The owner or owners in fee of any land used for
  242  conservation subject to a conservation easement as described in
  243  s. 704.06(1); land qualified as environmentally endangered
  244  pursuant to paragraph (6)(i) and so designated by formal
  245  resolution of the governing board of the municipality or county
  246  within which such land is located; land designated as
  247  conservation land in a comprehensive plan adopted by the
  248  appropriate municipal or county governing body; or any land
  249  which is utilized for outdoor recreational or park purposes may,
  250  by appropriate instrument, for a term of at least not less than
  251  10 years:
  252         (a) Convey the development right of such land to the
  253  governing board of any public agency in this state within which
  254  the land is located, or to the Board of Trustees of the Internal
  255  Improvement Trust Fund, or to a charitable corporation or trust
  256  as described in s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3); or
  257         (b) Covenant with the governing board of any public agency
  258  in this state within which the land is located, or with the
  259  Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or
  260  with a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
  261  704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), that such land be subject to one or more
  262  of the prohibitions or limitations conservation restrictions
  263  provided in s. 704.06(1) or that not be used by the owner may
  264  not use the land for any purpose other than outdoor recreational
  265  or park purposes if development rights are conveyed. If land is
  266  covenanted and used for an outdoor recreational purpose, the
  267  normal use and maintenance of the land for that purpose,
  268  consistent with the covenant, shall not be restricted.
  269         (3)(2) The governing board of any public agency in this
  270  state, or the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement
  271  Trust Fund, or a charitable corporation or trust as described in
  272  s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), is authorized and empowered in its
  273  discretion to accept any and all instruments that convey
  274  conveying the development right of any such land or establish
  275  establishing a covenant for a term of at least 10 years.
  276  pursuant to subsection (1), and If accepted by the board or
  277  charitable corporation or trust, the instrument shall be
  278  promptly recorded in the official public records of the county
  279  in which the land is located filed with the appropriate officer
  280  for recording in the same manner as any other instrument
  281  affecting the title to real property.
  282         (4)(3) When, pursuant to subsections (1) and (2), the
  283  development right in real property has been conveyed to the
  284  governing board of any public agency of this state, to the Board
  285  of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or to a
  286  charitable corporation or trust as described in s. 704.06(3) s.
  287  704.06(2), or a covenant has been executed and accepted by the
  288  board or charitable corporation or trust, the lands which are
  289  the subject of such conveyance or covenant shall be thereafter
  290  assessed as provided herein:
  291         (a) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period of
  292  at least not less than 10 years following from January 1 in the
  293  year such assessment is made, the property appraiser, in valuing
  294  such land for tax purposes, shall assess the land solely on the
  295  basis of character or use consider no factors other than those
  296  relative to its value for the present use, as restricted by any
  297  conveyance or covenant under this section.
  298         (b) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period less
  299  than 10 years, the land shall be assessed under the provisions
  300  of s. 193.011, recognizing the nature and length thereof of any
  301  restriction placed on the use of the land under the provisions
  302  of subsection (1).
  303         (5)If a conservation management plan extends for a period
  304  of at least 10 years following January 1 in the year the plan is
  305  filed with the appropriate agency and the landowner has provided
  306  a current copy of the conservation management plan to the
  307  property appraiser along with a signed statement of the
  308  landowner’s good-faith intention to use the land only for
  309  conservation purposes before March 1 of the same year, the
  310  property appraiser shall assess the land solely on the basis of
  311  character of use.
  312         (a)Plans required by this subsection must be filed with
  313  the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if the primary
  314  conservation use is restoration or protection of native wildlife
  315  habitat or native plant and animal communities.
  316         (b)Plans required by this subsection must be filed with
  317  the water management district within the boundaries of which the
  318  land is located if the primary conservation use is restoration
  319  or protection of natural water features.
  320         (c)The commission and the Department of Environmental
  321  Protection shall produce a guidance document establishing the
  322  form and content of a conservation management plan and
  323  establishing minimum standards for such plans regarding
  324  restoration and protection of wildlife habitats, plant and
  325  animal communities, and natural water features; control of
  326  exotic species; use of prescribed fire; removal of diseased and
  327  damaged vegetation; and other activities as may be necessary to
  328  manage conservation land for the benefit of wildlife, plant and
  329  animal communities, and water resources.
  330         (d)The property appraiser may require a signed application
  331  that includes a statement of the landowner’s good-faith
  332  intention to use the land only for conservation purposes as
  333  described in this section, to keep such uses for a period of 10
  334  years after the date of the application, and, upon failure to
  335  carry out the conservation management plan, to pay the
  336  difference between the total amount of taxes assessed and the
  337  total amount that would have been due in March of the current
  338  year and each of the previous 10 years if the land had not been
  339  assessed solely on the basis of character or use as provided in
  340  this section.
  341         (6)(4) After conveying making a conveyance of the
  342  development right or executing a covenant or conservation
  343  protection agreement pursuant to this section, or conveying a
  344  conservation easement pursuant to this section and s. 704.06,
  345  the owner of the land shall not use the land in any manner not
  346  consistent with the development right voluntarily conveyed, or
  347  with the restrictions voluntarily imposed, or with the terms of
  348  the conservation easement or conservation protection agreement,
  349  or shall not change the use of the land from outdoor
  350  recreational or park purposes during the term of such conveyance
  351  or covenant without first obtaining a written instrument from
  352  the board or charitable corporation or trust, which must
  353  reconvey to the owner instrument reconveys all or part of the
  354  development right to the owner or which must release releases
  355  the owner from the terms of the covenant. The written instrument
  356  must be recorded in the official records of the county in which
  357  the property subject to the reconveyance or release is located
  358  and which instrument must be promptly recorded in the same
  359  manner as any other instrument affecting the title to real
  360  property. Upon obtaining approval for reconveyance or release
  361  from the board or the charitable organization or trust, the
  362  reconveyance or release shall be made to the owner upon payment
  363  of the deferred tax liability. Any payment of the deferred tax
  364  liability shall be payable to the county tax collector within 90
  365  days of the date of approval for reconveyance or release by the
  366  board or charitable corporation or trust of the reconveyance or
  367  release. The collector shall distribute the payment to each
  368  governmental unit in the proportion that its millage bears to
  369  the total millage levied on the parcel for the years in which
  370  such conveyance or covenant was in effect.
  371         (7)(5) The governing board of any public agency in this
  372  state or the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust
  373  Fund or a charitable corporation or trust which holds title to a
  374  development right pursuant to this section may not convey that
  375  development right to anyone other than the governing board of
  376  another public agency in this state or a charitable corporation
  377  or trust, as described in s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), or the
  378  record owner of the fee interest in the land to which the
  379  development right attaches. The conveyance from the governing
  380  board of a public agency or the Board of Trustees of the
  381  Internal Improvement Trust Fund to the owner of the fee shall be
  382  made only after a determination by the board that such
  383  conveyance would not adversely affect the interest of the
  384  public. Section 125.35 does not apply to such sales, but any
  385  public agency accepting any instrument conveying a development
  386  right pursuant to this section shall forthwith adopt appropriate
  387  regulations and procedures governing the disposition of same.
  388  These regulations and procedures must provide in part that the
  389  board may not convey a development right to the owner of the fee
  390  without first holding a public hearing and unless notice of the
  391  proposed conveyance and the time and place at which the public
  392  hearing is to be held is published once a week for at least 2
  393  weeks in some newspaper of general circulation in the county in
  394  which the property is located before involved prior to the
  395  hearing.
  396         (6)The following terms whenever used as referred to in
  397  this section have the following meanings unless a different
  398  meaning is clearly indicated by the context:
  399         (a)“Board” is the governing board of any city, county, or
  400  other public agency of the state or the Board of Trustees of the
  401  Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
  402         (b)“Conservation restriction” means a limitation on a
  403  right to the use of land for purposes of conserving or
  404  preserving land or water areas predominantly in their natural,
  405  scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition. The limitation
  406  on rights to the use of land may involve or pertain to any of
  407  the activities enumerated in s. 704.06(1).
  408         (c)“Conservation easement” means that property right
  409  described in s. 704.06.
  410         (d)“Covenant” is a covenant running with the land.
  411         (e)“Deferred tax liability” means an amount equal to the
  412  difference between the total amount of taxes that would have
  413  been due in March in each of the previous years in which the
  414  conveyance or covenant was in effect if the property had been
  415  assessed under the provisions of s. 193.011 and the total amount
  416  of taxes actually paid in those years when the property was
  417  assessed under the provisions of this section, plus interest on
  418  that difference computed as provided in s. 212.12(3).
  419         (f)“Development right” is the right of the owner of the
  420  fee interest in the land to change the use of the land.
  421         (g)“Outdoor recreational or park purposes” includes, but
  422  is not necessarily limited to, boating, golfing, camping,
  423  swimming, horseback riding, and archaeological, scenic, or
  424  scientific sites and applies only to land which is open to the
  425  general public.
  426         (h)“Present use” is the manner in which the land is
  427  utilized on January 1 of the year in which the assessment is
  428  made.
  429         (i)“Qualified as environmentally endangered” means land
  430  that has unique ecological characteristics, rare or limited
  431  combinations of geological formations, or features of a rare or
  432  limited nature constituting habitat suitable for fish, plants,
  433  or wildlife, and which, if subject to a development moratorium
  434  or one or more conservation easements or development
  435  restrictions appropriate to retaining such land or water areas
  436  predominantly in their natural state, would be consistent with
  437  the conservation, recreation and open space, and, if applicable,
  438  coastal protection elements of the comprehensive plan adopted by
  439  formal action of the local governing body pursuant to s.
  440  163.3161, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
  441  Development Regulation Act; or surface waters and wetlands, as
  442  determined by the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211.
  443         (8)(7)(a) The property appraiser shall report to the
  444  department showing the just value and the classified use value
  445  of lands used for property that is subject to a conservation
  446  purposes pursuant to this section easement under s. 704.06,
  447  property assessed as environmentally endangered land pursuant to
  448  this section, and property assessed as outdoor recreational or
  449  park land.
  450         (b) The tax collector shall annually report to the
  451  department the amount of deferred tax liability collected
  452  pursuant to this section.
  453         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 195.073, Florida
  454  Statutes, is amended to read:
  455         195.073 Classification of property.—All items required by
  456  law to be on the assessment rolls must receive a classification
  457  based upon the use of the property. The department shall
  458  promulgate uniform definitions for all classifications. The
  459  department may designate other subclassifications of property.
  460  No assessment roll may be approved by the department which does
  461  not show proper classifications.
  462         (1) Real property must be classified according to the
  463  assessment basis of the land into the following classes:
  464         (a) Residential, subclassified into categories, one
  465  category for homestead property and one for nonhomestead
  466  property:
  467         1. Single family.
  468         2. Mobile homes.
  469         3. Multifamily.
  470         4. Condominiums.
  471         5. Cooperatives.
  472         6. Retirement homes.
  473         (b) Commercial and industrial.
  474         (c) Agricultural.
  475         (d) Nonagricultural acreage.
  476         (e) High-water recharge.
  477         (f) Historic property used for commercial or certain
  478  nonprofit purposes.
  479         (g) Exempt, wholly or partially.
  480         (h) Centrally assessed.
  481         (i) Leasehold interests.
  482         (j) Time-share property.
  483         (k)Land used for conservation purposes under s. 193.501.
  484         (l)(k) Other.
  485         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and subsections
  486  (6) and (9) of section 196.011, Florida Statutes, are amended to
  487  read:
  488         196.011 Annual application required for exemption.—
  489         (1)
  490         (b) The form to apply for an exemption under s. 196.031, s.
  491  196.081, s. 196.091, s. 196.101, 196.1962, or s. 196.202 s.
  492  196.031, s. 196.081, s. 196.091, s. 196.101, or s. 196.202 must
  493  include a space for the applicant to list the social security
  494  number of the applicant and of the applicant’s spouse, if any.
  495  If an applicant files a timely and otherwise complete
  496  application, and omits the required social security numbers, the
  497  application is incomplete. In that event, the property appraiser
  498  shall contact the applicant, who may refile a complete
  499  application by April 1. Failure to file a complete application
  500  by that date constitutes a waiver of the exemption privilege for
  501  that year, except as provided in subsection (7) or subsection
  502  (8).
  503         (6)(a) Once an original application for tax exemption has
  504  been granted, in each succeeding year on or before February 1,
  505  the property appraiser shall mail a renewal application to the
  506  applicant, and the property appraiser shall accept from each
  507  such applicant a renewal application on a form to be prescribed
  508  by the Department of Revenue. Such renewal application shall be
  509  accepted as evidence of exemption by the property appraiser
  510  unless he or she denies the application. Upon denial, the
  511  property appraiser shall serve, on or before July 1 of each
  512  year, a notice setting forth the grounds for denial on the
  513  applicant by first-class mail. Any applicant objecting to such
  514  denial may file a petition as provided for in s. 194.011(3).
  515         (b)Once an original application for the tax exemption has
  516  been granted under s. 196.1962, in each succeeding year on or
  517  before February 1, the property appraiser shall mail a renewal
  518  application to the applicant on a form prescribed by the
  519  Department of Revenue. The applicant must certify on the form
  520  that the use of the property has not changed. The form shall
  521  include a statement that the exemption granted under s. 196.1962
  522  will not be renewed unless application is returned to the
  523  property appraiser.
  524         (9)(a) A county may, at the request of the property
  525  appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
  526  the requirement that an annual application or statement be made
  527  for exemption of property within the county after an initial
  528  application is made and the exemption granted. The waiver under
  529  this subsection of the annual application or statement
  530  requirement applies to all exemptions under this chapter except
  531  the exemption under s. 196.1995. Notwithstanding such waiver,
  532  refiling of an application or statement shall be required when
  533  any property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed
  534  of, when the ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant
  535  for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her
  536  homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to
  537  change the exempt status of the property. In its deliberations
  538  on whether to waive the annual application or statement
  539  requirement, the governing body shall consider the possibility
  540  of fraudulent exemption claims which may occur due to the waiver
  541  of the annual application requirement. It is The duty of the
  542  owner of any property granted an exemption who is not required
  543  to file an annual application or statement has a duty to notify
  544  the property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property
  545  or the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change
  546  the exempt status of the property. If any property owner fails
  547  to so notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser
  548  determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the owner
  549  was not entitled to receive such exemption, the owner of the
  550  property is subject to the taxes exempted as a result of such
  551  failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50
  552  percent of the taxes exempted. Except for homestead exemptions
  553  controlled by s. 196.161, it is the duty of the property
  554  appraiser making such determination has a duty to record in the
  555  public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
  556  property owned by that person or entity in the county, and such
  557  property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such
  558  property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties.
  559  Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in
  560  the notice of tax lien, owned by the person who illegally or
  561  improperly received the exemption. Should such person no longer
  562  own property in that county, but own property in some other
  563  county or counties in the state, it shall be the duty of the
  564  property appraiser has a duty to record a notice of tax lien in
  565  such other county or counties, identifying the property owned by
  566  such person or entity in such county or counties, and it shall
  567  become a lien against such property in such county or counties.
  568         (b)The owner of any property granted an exemption under s.
  569  196.1962 has a duty to notify the property appraiser promptly
  570  whenever the use of the property changes. If the property owner
  571  fails to so notify the property appraiser and the property
  572  appraiser determines that for any year within the preceding 10
  573  years the owner was not entitled to receive the exemption, the
  574  owner of the property is subject to taxes exempted as a result
  575  of the failure plus 18 percent interest per annum and a penalty
  576  of 100 percent of the taxes exempted. The provisions for tax
  577  liens in paragraph (a) apply to property granted an exemption
  578  under s. 196.1962.
  579         (c)(b) A county may, at the request of the property
  580  appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
  581  the requirement that an annual application be made for the
  582  veteran’s disability discount granted pursuant to s. 6(g), Art.
  583  VII of the State Constitution after an initial application is
  584  made and the discount granted. It is the duty of The disabled
  585  veteran receiving a discount for which annual application has
  586  been waived has a duty to notify the property appraiser promptly
  587  whenever the use of the property or the percentage of disability
  588  to which the veteran is entitled changes. If a disabled veteran
  589  fails to notify the property appraiser and the property
  590  appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years
  591  the veteran was not entitled to receive all or a portion of such
  592  discount, the penalties and processes in paragraph (a) relating
  593  to the failure to notify the property appraiser of ineligibility
  594  for an exemption shall apply.
  595         (d)(c) For any exemption under s. 196.101(2), the statement
  596  concerning gross income must be filed with the property
  597  appraiser not later than March 1 of every year.
  598         (e)(d) If an exemption for which the annual application is
  599  waived pursuant to this subsection will be denied by the
  600  property appraiser in the absence of the refiling of the
  601  application, notification of an intent to deny the exemption
  602  shall be mailed to the owner of the property prior to February
  603  1. If the property appraiser fails to timely mail such notice,
  604  the application deadline for such property owner pursuant to
  605  subsection (1) shall be extended to 28 days after the date on
  606  which the property appraiser mails such notice.
  607         Section 5. Section 218.125, Florida Statutes, is created to
  608  read:
  609         218.125Replacement for tax loss associated with certain
  610  constitutional amendments affecting fiscally constrained
  611  counties.—
  612         (1)Beginning in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Legislature
  613  shall appropriate moneys to replace the reductions in ad valorem
  614  tax revenue experienced by fiscally constrained counties, as
  615  defined in s. 218.67(1), which occur as a direct result of the
  616  implementation of revisions of ss. 3(f) and 4(b) of Art. VII of
  617  the State Constitution which were approved in the general
  618  election held in November 2008. The moneys appropriated for this
  619  purpose shall be distributed in January of each fiscal year
  620  among the fiscally constrained counties based on each county’s
  621  proportion of the total reduction in ad valorem tax revenue
  622  resulting from the implementation of the revisions.
  623         (2)On or before November 15 of each year, beginning in
  624  2010, each fiscally constrained county shall apply to the
  625  Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the
  626  appropriation and provide documentation supporting the county’s
  627  estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue in the form and
  628  manner prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The
  629  documentation must include an estimate of the reduction in
  630  taxable value directly attributable to revisions of Art. VII of
  631  the State Constitution for all county taxing jurisdictions
  632  within the county and shall be prepared by the property
  633  appraiser in each fiscally constrained county. The documentation
  634  must also include the county millage rates applicable in all
  635  such jurisdictions for the current year and the prior year,
  636  roll-back rates determined as provided in s. 200.065 for each
  637  county taxing jurisdiction, and maximum millage rates that could
  638  have been levied by majority vote pursuant to s. 200.185. For
  639  purposes of this section, each fiscally constrained county’s
  640  reduction in ad valorem tax revenue shall be calculated as 95
  641  percent of the estimated reduction in taxable value times the
  642  lesser of the 2009 applicable millage rate or the applicable
  643  millage rate for each county taxing jurisdiction in the prior
  644  year.
  645         Section 6. Section 704.06, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  646  read:
  647         704.06 Conservation easements and conservation protection
  648  agreements; creation; acquisition; enforcement.—
  649         (1) As used in this section, “conservation easement” means
  650  a transferrable right or interest in real property which may be
  651  perpetual or limited to a certain term, and which is appropriate
  652  to retaining land or water areas predominantly in their natural,
  653  scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition; retaining such
  654  areas as suitable habitat for fish, plants, or wildlife;
  655  retaining the structural integrity or physical appearance of
  656  sites or properties of historical, architectural,
  657  archaeological, or cultural significance; or maintaining
  658  existing land uses and which prohibits or limits any or all of
  659  the following:
  660         (a) Construction or placing of buildings, roads, signs,
  661  billboards or other advertising, utilities, or other structures
  662  on or above the ground.
  663         (b) Dumping or placing of soil or other substance or
  664  material as landfill or dumping or placing of trash, waste, or
  665  unsightly or offensive materials.
  666         (c) Removal or destruction of trees, shrubs, or other
  667  vegetation.
  668         (d) Excavation, dredging, or removal of loam, peat, gravel,
  669  soil, rock, or other material substance in such manner as to
  670  affect the surface.
  671         (e) Surface use except for purposes that permit the land or
  672  water area to remain predominantly in its natural condition.
  673         (f) Activities detrimental to drainage, flood control,
  674  water conservation, erosion control, soil conservation, or fish
  675  and wildlife habitat preservation.
  676         (g) Acts or uses detrimental to such retention of land or
  677  water areas.
  678         (h) Acts or uses detrimental to the preservation of the
  679  structural integrity or physical appearance of sites or
  680  properties of historical, architectural, archaeological, or
  681  cultural significance.
  682         (2)“Conservation protection agreement” has the same
  683  meaning as provided in s. 196.1962.
  684         (3)(2) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  685  agreements are perpetual, undivided interests in property and
  686  may be created or stated in the form of an a restriction,
  687  easement, covenant, or condition in any deed, will, or other
  688  instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the
  689  property, or in any order of taking. Such easements or
  690  agreements may be acquired in the same manner as other interests
  691  in property are acquired, except by condemnation or by other
  692  exercise of the power of eminent domain, and shall not be
  693  unassignable to other governmental bodies or agencies,
  694  charitable organizations, or trusts authorized to acquire such
  695  easements, for lack of benefit to a dominant estate.
  696         (4)(3) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  697  agreements may be acquired by any governmental body or agency or
  698  by a charitable corporation or trust whose purposes include
  699  protecting natural, scenic, or open space values of real
  700  property, assuring its availability for agricultural, forest,
  701  recreational, or open space use, protecting natural resources,
  702  maintaining or enhancing air or water quality, or preserving
  703  sites or properties of historical, architectural,
  704  archaeological, or cultural significance.
  705         (5)(4) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  706  agreements shall run with the land and be binding on all
  707  subsequent owners of the servient estate. Notwithstanding the
  708  provisions of s. 197.552, all provisions of a conservation
  709  easement or a conservation protection agreement shall survive
  710  and are enforceable after the issuance of a tax deed. No
  711  conservation easement shall be unenforceable on account of lack
  712  of privity of contract or lack of benefit to particular land or
  713  on account of the benefit being assignable. Conservation
  714  easements and conservation protection agreements may be enforced
  715  by injunction or proceeding in equity or at law, and shall
  716  entitle the holder to enter the land in a reasonable manner and
  717  at reasonable times to assure compliance. A conservation
  718  easement or a conservation protection agreement may be released
  719  by the holder of the easement or the agreement to the holder of
  720  the fee even though the holder of the fee may not be a
  721  governmental body or a charitable corporation or trust.
  722         (6)(5) All conservation easements and conservation
  723  protection agreements shall be recorded in the official records
  724  of the county in which the property subject to the easement or
  725  agreement is located and indexed in the same manner as any other
  726  instrument affecting the title to real property.
  727         (7)(6) The provisions of this section shall not be
  728  construed to imply that any restriction, easement, agreement,
  729  covenant, or condition which does not have the benefit of this
  730  section shall, on account of any provision hereof, be
  731  unenforceable.
  732         (8)(7) Recording of the conservation easement or
  733  conservation protection agreement shall be notice to the
  734  property appraiser and tax collector of the county of the
  735  conveyance of the conservation easement or conservation
  736  protection agreement.
  737         (9)(8) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  738  agreements may provide for a third-party right of enforcement.
  739  As used in this section, third-party right of enforcement means
  740  a right provided in a conservation easement or conservation
  741  protection agreement to enforce any of its terms granted to a
  742  governmental body, or charitable corporation or trust as
  743  described in subsection (4) (3), which although eligible to be a
  744  holder, is not a holder.
  745         (10)(9) An action affecting a conservation easement or a
  746  conservation protection agreement may be brought by:
  747         (a) An owner of an interest in the real property burdened
  748  by the easement or agreement;
  749         (b) A holder of the easement or agreement;
  750         (c) A person having a third-party right of enforcement; or
  751         (d) A person authorized by another law.
  752         (11)(10) The ownership or attempted enforcement of rights
  753  held by the holder of an easement or agreement does not subject
  754  the holder to any liability for any damage or injury that may be
  755  suffered by any person on the property or as a result of the
  756  condition of the property encumbered by a conservation easement
  757  or a conservation protection agreement.
  758         (12)(11)Nothing in This section or other provisions of law
  759  do not shall be construed to prohibit or limit the owner of
  760  land, or the owner of a conservation easement or conservation
  761  protection agreement over land, to voluntarily negotiate the
  762  sale or utilization of such lands or easement or agreement for
  763  the construction and operation of linear facilities, including
  764  electric transmission and distribution facilities,
  765  telecommunications transmission and distribution facilities,
  766  pipeline transmission and distribution facilities, public
  767  transportation corridors, and related appurtenances, nor shall
  768  this section prohibit the use of eminent domain for said
  769  purposes as established by law. In any legal proceeding to
  770  condemn land for the purpose of construction and operation of a
  771  linear facility as described above, the court shall consider the
  772  public benefit provided by the conservation easement or the
  773  conservation protection agreement and linear facilities in
  774  determining which lands may be taken and the compensation paid.
  775         Section 7. The Department of Revenue may adopt emergency
  776  rules to administer s. 196.1962, Florida Statutes. The emergency
  777  rules shall remain in effect for 6 months after adoption and may
  778  be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt rules
  779  addressing the subject of the emergency rules.
  780         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009, and
  781  applies to property tax assessment made on or after January 1,
  782  2009.

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