October 14, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2009               CS for CS for CS for SB 2244
       
       
       
       By the Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means; the
       Committees on Finance and Tax; and Environmental Preservation
       and Conservation; and Senator Altman
       
       
       576-06098-09                                          20092244c3
    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; defining terms; providing for the
    9         assessment and ad valorem taxation of real property
   10         within an area perpetually encumbered by a
   11         conservation easement or other instrument and which
   12         contains improvements; requiring land that is exempt
   13         from ad valorem taxation and used for agricultural
   14         purposes be managed pursuant to certain best
   15         management practices; requiring an owner of land that
   16         is exempt from ad valorem taxation to take actions to
   17         preserve the perpetual effect of the conservation
   18         easement or other instrument; providing that land of
   19         less than a certain acreage does not qualify for the
   20         ad valorem tax exemption; providing exceptions;
   21         requiring the Department of Revenue to adopt rules;
   22         requiring the Department of Environmental Protection
   23         to adopt by rule a list of nonprofit entities that are
   24         qualified to enforce the provisions of a conservation
   25         easement or conservation protection agreement;
   26         amending s. 193.501, F.S.; defining terms; providing
   27         for the assessment of lands used for conservation
   28         purposes; requiring that such lands be used for
   29         conservation purposes for at least 10 years; requiring
   30         a covenant or conservation protection agreement to be
   31         recorded in the official records; providing for the
   32         assessment of such land based on character or use;
   33         requiring the owner of the land to annually apply to
   34         the property appraiser by a certain date for the
   35         assessment based on character or use; authorizing the
   36         value adjustment board to grant late applications for
   37         such assessments if extenuating circumstances are
   38         shown; providing for the assessment of land if a
   39         conservation management plan extends for a specified
   40         period and the landowner has provided certain
   41         documentation to the property appraiser; requiring the
   42         filing of such plans with the Fish and Wildlife
   43         Conservation Commission or a water management district
   44         under certain circumstances; requiring that the
   45         commission and the Department of Environmental
   46         Protection produce a guidance document establishing
   47         the form and content of a conservation management plan
   48         and establishing certain minimum standards for such
   49         plans; authorizing a property appraiser to require a
   50         signed application that includes certain statements by
   51         a landowner; requiring property appraisers to issue a
   52         report relating to the just value and classified use
   53         value of land used for conservation purposes; amending
   54         s. 195.073, F.S.; providing for the classification of
   55         lands used for conservation purposes for the purposes
   56         of ad valorem taxation; amending s. 196.011, F.S.;
   57         conforming a cross-reference; requiring an annual
   58         application for the exemption for land used for
   59         conservation purposes; requiring that a property owner
   60         notify the property appraiser when the use of the
   61         property no longer complies with the requirements for
   62         a conservation easement; providing penalties for
   63         failure to notify; creating s. 218.125, F.S.;
   64         requiring the Legislature to appropriate moneys to
   65         replace the reductions in ad valorem tax revenue
   66         experienced by fiscally constrained counties;
   67         requiring each fiscally constrained county to apply to
   68         the Department of Revenue to participate in the
   69         distribution of the appropriation; specifying the
   70         documentation that must be provided to the department;
   71         providing a formula for calculating the reduction in
   72         ad valorem tax revenue; amending s. 704.06, F.S.;
   73         revising requirements for conservation easements and
   74         conservation protection agreements; authorizing the
   75         Department of Revenue to adopt emergency rules;
   76         providing for application of the act; providing an
   77         effective date.
   78  
   79  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   80  
   81         Section 1. Section 196.1962, Florida Statutes, is created
   82  to read:
   83         196.1962Exemption of real property dedicated in perpetuity
   84  for conservation purposes.—
   85         (1)Pursuant to s. 3(f), Art. VII of the State
   86  Constitution, real property that is dedicated in perpetuity for
   87  the conservation purposes specified in this section is exempt
   88  from ad valorem taxation.
   89         (a)Real property qualifying for the exemption must be
   90  perpetually encumbered by a valid and enforceable conservation
   91  easement or other conservation protection agreement that:
   92         1.Requires the property to serve a conservation purpose,
   93  as defined in 26 U.S.C. s. 170(h)(4)(A), which serves as the
   94  basis of a qualified conservation contribution under 26 U.S.C.
   95  s. 170(h); or
   96         2.a.Requires the perpetual retention of the substantial
   97  natural value of the property, including, but not limited to,
   98  woodlands, wetlands, water courses, ponds, streams, and natural
   99  open spaces or requires the restoration of the natural resources
  100  of the land;
  101         b.Requires the conservation of native wildlife habitat,
  102  water quality enhancement, or water quantity recharge;
  103         c.Prohibits subsurface excavation, billboards, trash,
  104  unlawful pollutants, new paved roads, or residential or
  105  commercial structures on the property and requires the property
  106  to be kept in essentially its natural state;
  107         d.Includes baseline documentation as to the natural values
  108  to be protected on the property and may include a management
  109  plan that details the management of the property so as to
  110  effectuate the conservation of natural resources on the
  111  property;
  112         e.Is enforceable by a federal or state agency, county,
  113  municipality, water management district, or nonprofit entity
  114  that is qualified to enforce the provisions of the easement or
  115  other conservation protection agreement;
  116         f.Allows for periodic review by any enforcing entity of
  117  the provisions of the easement or conservation protection
  118  agreement;
  119         g.Provides for the perpetual enforcement of the provisions
  120  of the easement or conservation protection agreement against any
  121  present or future owner of the property; and
  122         h.Provides that the conservation easement or other
  123  conservation protection agreement is perpetual and nonrevocable.
  124         (b)For purposes of this section, the term:
  125         1.Conservation easement” has the same meaning as in s.
  126  704.06;
  127         2.Conservation protection agreement” means a deed
  128  restriction, land use agreement, or covenant running with the
  129  land which dedicates the property for conservation purposes.
  130         (c)If property receiving the exemption under this section
  131  contains improvements, the portion of the property consisting of
  132  improvements and curtilage must be assessed separately pursuant
  133  to the provisions of chapter 193.
  134         (2)Land that qualifies for the exemption provided in this
  135  section and whose allowed commercial purposes include
  136  agriculture must comply with the most recent best-management
  137  practices if adopted by rule by the Department of Agriculture
  138  and Consumer Services.
  139         (3)An owner of real property that is exempt from ad
  140  valorem taxation pursuant to this section shall abide by the
  141  requirements of the Florida Marketable Record Title Act, chapter
  142  712, or any other similar law or rule to preserve the effect of
  143  the qualifying conservation easement or other conservation
  144  protection agreement in perpetuity.
  145         (4)(a)Notwithstanding subsection (1), real property that
  146  is perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or other
  147  conservation protection agreement and that is less than 40
  148  contiguous acres is not entitled to the exemption under this
  149  section unless the property:
  150         1.Contains a natural sinkhole or a natural spring that
  151  serves a significant water recharge or water production
  152  function;
  153         2.Contains a unique geological feature;
  154         3.Provides habitat for a species that is listed as one of
  155  Florida’s endangered, threatened, or species of special concern
  156  or listed pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act or a
  157  successor law;
  158         4.Includes a shoreline adjacent to a beach on the Atlantic
  159  Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, Outstanding Florida Waters, an Estuary
  160  of National Significance, or an American Heritage River; or
  161         5.Is adjacent to public lands that are managed for
  162  conservation purposes or other private lands that are
  163  perpetually encumbered by a conservation easement or other
  164  conservation protection agreement, and is at least 5 contiguous
  165  acres in size.
  166         (b)In order to qualify for the exemption under this
  167  section, real property that is less than 40 contiguous acres
  168  must have a management plan that is approved by the entity
  169  responsible for enforcing the easement or other conservation
  170  protection agreement.
  171         (5)The Department of Revenue shall adopt rules providing
  172  for the administration of this section.
  173         (6)The Department of Environmental Protection shall adopt
  174  by rule a list of nonprofit entities that are qualified to
  175  enforce the provisions of an easement or other conservation
  176  protection agreement.
  177         Section 2. Section 193.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  178  read:
  179         193.501 Assessment of lands used for conservation purposes
  180  subject to a conservation easement, environmentally endangered
  181  lands, or lands used for outdoor recreational or park purposes
  182  when land development rights have been conveyed or conservation
  183  restrictions have been covenanted.—
  184         (1)As used in this section and pursuant to s. 4(b), Art.
  185  VII of the State Constitution, the term:
  186         (a)“Lands used for conservation purposes” means:
  187         1.Lands designated as environmentally endangered lands by
  188  a formal resolution of the governing body of the local
  189  government within whose jurisdictional boundaries the land is
  190  located;
  191         2.Land designated as conservation land in a local
  192  comprehensive plan adopted by the appropriate local governing
  193  body pursuant to chapter 163;
  194         3.Lands used for outdoor recreational or park purposes if
  195  land development rights have been conveyed;
  196         4.Lands used for the conservation purpose specified in s.
  197  196.1962 when a conservation easement or a conservation
  198  protection agreement has been executed pursuant to s. 704.06; or
  199         5.Land for which a conservation management plan has been
  200  filed with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a
  201  water management district and for which the activities and
  202  actions are being carried out according the conservation
  203  management plan.
  204         (b)“Board” means the governing board of any municipality
  205  county, or other public agency of the state, or the Board of
  206  Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
  207         (c)“Conservation easement” has the same meaning as
  208  provided in s. 704.06(1).
  209         (d)“Covenant” means a covenant running with the land.
  210         (e)“Deferred tax liability” means an amount equal to the
  211  difference between the total amount of taxes that would have
  212  been due in March in each of the previous years in which the
  213  conveyance or covenant was in effect if the property had been
  214  assessed under the provisions of s. 193.011 and the total amount
  215  of taxes actually paid in those years if the property was
  216  assessed as provided in this section, plus interest on that
  217  difference. The interest accrues at the rate of 1 percent per
  218  month beginning on the 21st day of the month following the month
  219  in which the full amount of tax based on an assessment pursuant
  220  to s. 193.011 would have been due.
  221         (f)“Development right” means the right of the owner of the
  222  fee interest in the land to change the use of the land.
  223         (g)“Outdoor recreational or park purposes” includes, but
  224  is not limited to, boating, golfing, camping, swimming,
  225  horseback riding, and archaeological, scenic, or scientific
  226  sites. The term applies only to activities on land that is open
  227  to the general public.
  228         (h)“Qualified as environmentally endangered” means:
  229         1.Land that has unique ecological characteristics, rare or
  230  limited combinations of geological formations, or features of a
  231  rare or limited nature constituting habitat suitable for fish,
  232  plants, or wildlife, and which, if subject to a development
  233  moratorium or one or more conservation easements or development
  234  restrictions appropriate to retaining such land or water areas
  235  predominantly in their natural state, would be consistent with
  236  the conservation, recreation, and open space and, if applicable,
  237  coastal protection elements of the comprehensive plan adopted by
  238  formal action of the local governing body pursuant to s.
  239  163.3161, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
  240  Development Regulation Act; or
  241         2.Surface waters and wetlands as determined by the
  242  methodology ratified by s. 373.4211.
  243         (i)“Conservation management plan” means a document filed
  244  with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a water
  245  management district specifying actions and activities to be
  246  undertaken on an annual basis for a period of at least 10 years
  247  to manage land for the benefit of native wildlife and habitat,
  248  native plant and animal communities, and natural water features.
  249         (2)(1) The owner or owners in fee of any land used for
  250  conservation subject to a conservation easement as described in
  251  s. 704.06(1); land qualified as environmentally endangered
  252  pursuant to paragraph (6)(i) and so designated by formal
  253  resolution of the governing board of the municipality or county
  254  within which such land is located; land designated as
  255  conservation land in a comprehensive plan adopted by the
  256  appropriate municipal or county governing body; or any land
  257  which is utilized for outdoor recreational or park purposes may,
  258  by appropriate instrument, for a term of at least not less than
  259  10 years:
  260         (a) Convey the development right of such land to the
  261  governing board of any public agency in this state within which
  262  the land is located, or to the Board of Trustees of the Internal
  263  Improvement Trust Fund, or to a charitable corporation or trust
  264  as described in s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3); or
  265         (b) Covenant with the governing board of any public agency
  266  in this state within which the land is located, or with the
  267  Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or
  268  with a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
  269  704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), that such land be subject to one or more
  270  of the prohibitions or limitations conservation restrictions
  271  provided in s. 704.06(1) or that not be used by the owner may
  272  not use the land for any purpose other than outdoor recreational
  273  or park purposes if development rights are conveyed. If land is
  274  covenanted and used for an outdoor recreational purpose, the
  275  normal use and maintenance of the land for that purpose,
  276  consistent with the covenant, shall not be restricted.
  277         (3)(2) The governing board of any public agency in this
  278  state, or the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement
  279  Trust Fund, or a charitable corporation or trust as described in
  280  s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), is authorized and empowered in its
  281  discretion to accept any and all instruments that convey
  282  conveying the development right of any such land or establish
  283  establishing a covenant for a term of at least 10 years.
  284  pursuant to subsection (1), and If accepted by the board or
  285  charitable corporation or trust, the instrument shall be
  286  promptly recorded in the official public records of the county
  287  in which the land is located filed with the appropriate officer
  288  for recording in the same manner as any other instrument
  289  affecting the title to real property.
  290         (4)(3) When, pursuant to subsections (1) and (2), the
  291  development right in real property has been conveyed to the
  292  governing board of any public agency of this state, to the Board
  293  of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or to a
  294  charitable corporation or trust as described in s. 704.06(3) s.
  295  704.06(2), or a covenant has been executed and accepted by the
  296  board or charitable corporation or trust, the lands which are
  297  the subject of such conveyance or covenant shall be thereafter
  298  assessed as provided herein:
  299         (a) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period of
  300  at least not less than 10 years following from January 1 in the
  301  year such assessment is made, the property appraiser, in valuing
  302  such land for tax purposes, shall assess the land solely on the
  303  basis of character or use consider no factors other than those
  304  relative to its value for the present use, as restricted by any
  305  conveyance or covenant under this section.
  306         (b) If the covenant or conveyance extends for a period less
  307  than 10 years, the land shall be assessed under the provisions
  308  of s. 193.011, recognizing the nature and length thereof of any
  309  restriction placed on the use of the land under the provisions
  310  of subsection (1).
  311         (5)A person or organization that, on January 1, has the
  312  legal title to land that is entitled by law to assessment under
  313  this section must, on or before March 1 of each year, file an
  314  application for assessment under this section with the county
  315  property appraiser. The application must identify the property
  316  for which assessment under this section is claimed. The initial
  317  application for assessment for any property must include a copy
  318  of the instrument by which the development right is conveyed or
  319  which establishes a covenant, or the conservation protection
  320  agreement or conservation management plan which establishes the
  321  conservation purposes for which the land is used. The Department
  322  of Revenue shall prescribe the forms upon which the application
  323  is made. The failure to file an application on or before March 1
  324  of any year constitutes a waiver of assessment under this
  325  section for that year. However, an applicant who is qualified to
  326  receive an assessment under this section, but fails to file an
  327  application by March 1, may file an application for the
  328  assessment and may file, pursuant to s. 194.011(3), a petition
  329  with the value adjustment board requesting that the
  330  classification be granted. The petition must be filed at any
  331  time during the taxable year on or before the 25th day following
  332  the mailing of the notice by the property appraiser pursuant to
  333  s. 194.011(1). Notwithstanding s. 194.013, the applicant must
  334  pay a nonrefundable fee of $15 upon filing the petition. Upon
  335  reviewing the petition, if the person is qualified to receive
  336  the assessment and demonstrates particular extenuating
  337  circumstances judged by the property appraiser or the value
  338  adjustment board to warrant granting the assessment, the
  339  property appraiser or the value adjustment board may grant the
  340  assessment. The owner of land that was assessed under this
  341  section in the previous year and whose ownership or use has not
  342  changed may reapply on a short form as provided by the
  343  department. A county may, at the request of the property
  344  appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
  345  the requirement that an annual application or statement be made
  346  for assessment of property within the county. Such waiver may be
  347  revoked by a majority vote of the governing body of the county.
  348         (6)If a conservation management plan extends for a period
  349  of at least 10 years following January 1 in the year the plan is
  350  filed with the appropriate agency and the landowner has provided
  351  a current copy of the conservation management plan to the
  352  property appraiser along with a signed statement of the
  353  landowner’s good-faith intention to use the land only for
  354  conservation purposes before March 1 of the same year, the
  355  property appraiser shall assess the land solely on the basis of
  356  character of use.
  357         (a)Plans required by this subsection must be filed with
  358  the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission if the primary
  359  conservation use is restoration or protection of native wildlife
  360  habitat or native plant and animal communities.
  361         (b)Plans required by this subsection must be filed with
  362  the water management district within the boundaries of which the
  363  land is located if the primary conservation use is restoration
  364  or protection of natural water features.
  365         (c)The commission and the Department of Environmental
  366  Protection shall produce a guidance document establishing the
  367  form and content of a conservation management plan and
  368  establishing minimum standards for such plans regarding
  369  restoration and protection of wildlife habitats, plant and
  370  animal communities, and natural water features; control of
  371  exotic species; use of prescribed fire; removal of diseased and
  372  damaged vegetation; and other activities as may be necessary to
  373  manage conservation land for the benefit of wildlife, plant and
  374  animal communities, and water resources.
  375         (d)The property appraiser may require a signed application
  376  that includes a statement of the landowner’s good faith
  377  intention to use the land only for conservation purposes as
  378  described in this section, to keep such uses for a period of 10
  379  years after the date of the application, and, upon failure to
  380  carry out the conservation management plan, to pay the
  381  difference between the total amount of taxes assessed and the
  382  total amount that would have been due in March of the current
  383  year and each of the previous 10 years if the land had not been
  384  assessed solely on the basis of character or use as provided in
  385  this section.
  386         (7)(4) After conveying making a conveyance of the
  387  development right or executing a covenant or conservation
  388  protection agreement pursuant to this section, or conveying a
  389  conservation easement pursuant to this section and s. 704.06,
  390  the owner of the land shall not use the land in any manner not
  391  consistent with the development right voluntarily conveyed, or
  392  with the restrictions voluntarily imposed, or with the terms of
  393  the conservation easement or conservation protection agreement,
  394  or shall not change the use of the land from outdoor
  395  recreational or park purposes during the term of such conveyance
  396  or covenant without first obtaining a written instrument from
  397  the board or charitable corporation or trust, which must
  398  reconvey to the owner instrument reconveys all or part of the
  399  development right to the owner or which must release releases
  400  the owner from the terms of the covenant. The written instrument
  401  must be recorded in the official records of the county in which
  402  the property subject to the reconveyance or release is located
  403  and which instrument must be promptly recorded in the same
  404  manner as any other instrument affecting the title to real
  405  property. Upon obtaining approval for reconveyance or release
  406  from the board or the charitable organization or trust, the
  407  reconveyance or release shall be made to the owner upon payment
  408  of the deferred tax liability. Any payment of the deferred tax
  409  liability shall be payable to the county tax collector within 90
  410  days of the date of approval for reconveyance or release by the
  411  board or charitable corporation or trust of the reconveyance or
  412  release. The collector shall distribute the payment to each
  413  governmental unit in the proportion that its millage bears to
  414  the total millage levied on the parcel for the years in which
  415  such conveyance or covenant was in effect.
  416         (8)(5) The governing board of any public agency in this
  417  state or the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust
  418  Fund or a charitable corporation or trust which holds title to a
  419  development right pursuant to this section may not convey that
  420  development right to anyone other than the governing board of
  421  another public agency in this state or a charitable corporation
  422  or trust, as described in s. 704.06(4) s. 704.06(3), or the
  423  record owner of the fee interest in the land to which the
  424  development right attaches. The conveyance from the governing
  425  board of a public agency or the Board of Trustees of the
  426  Internal Improvement Trust Fund to the owner of the fee shall be
  427  made only after a determination by the board that such
  428  conveyance would not adversely affect the interest of the
  429  public. Section 125.35 does not apply to such sales, but any
  430  public agency accepting any instrument conveying a development
  431  right pursuant to this section shall forthwith adopt appropriate
  432  regulations and procedures governing the disposition of same.
  433  These regulations and procedures must provide in part that the
  434  board may not convey a development right to the owner of the fee
  435  without first holding a public hearing and unless notice of the
  436  proposed conveyance and the time and place at which the public
  437  hearing is to be held is published once a week for at least 2
  438  weeks in some newspaper of general circulation in the county in
  439  which the property is located before involved prior to the
  440  hearing.
  441         (6)The following terms whenever used as referred to in
  442  this section have the following meanings unless a different
  443  meaning is clearly indicated by the context:
  444         (a)“Board” is the governing board of any city, county, or
  445  other public agency of the state or the Board of Trustees of the
  446  Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
  447         (b)“Conservation restriction” means a limitation on a
  448  right to the use of land for purposes of conserving or
  449  preserving land or water areas predominantly in their natural,
  450  scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition. The limitation
  451  on rights to the use of land may involve or pertain to any of
  452  the activities enumerated in s. 704.06(1).
  453         (c)“Conservation easement” means that property right
  454  described in s. 704.06.
  455         (d)“Covenant” is a covenant running with the land.
  456         (e)“Deferred tax liability” means an amount equal to the
  457  difference between the total amount of taxes that would have
  458  been due in March in each of the previous years in which the
  459  conveyance or covenant was in effect if the property had been
  460  assessed under the provisions of s. 193.011 and the total amount
  461  of taxes actually paid in those years when the property was
  462  assessed under the provisions of this section, plus interest on
  463  that difference computed as provided in s. 212.12(3).
  464         (f)“Development right” is the right of the owner of the
  465  fee interest in the land to change the use of the land.
  466         (g)“Outdoor recreational or park purposes” includes, but
  467  is not necessarily limited to, boating, golfing, camping,
  468  swimming, horseback riding, and archaeological, scenic, or
  469  scientific sites and applies only to land which is open to the
  470  general public.
  471         (h)“Present use” is the manner in which the land is
  472  utilized on January 1 of the year in which the assessment is
  473  made.
  474         (i)“Qualified as environmentally endangered” means land
  475  that has unique ecological characteristics, rare or limited
  476  combinations of geological formations, or features of a rare or
  477  limited nature constituting habitat suitable for fish, plants,
  478  or wildlife, and which, if subject to a development moratorium
  479  or one or more conservation easements or development
  480  restrictions appropriate to retaining such land or water areas
  481  predominantly in their natural state, would be consistent with
  482  the conservation, recreation and open space, and, if applicable,
  483  coastal protection elements of the comprehensive plan adopted by
  484  formal action of the local governing body pursuant to s.
  485  163.3161, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land
  486  Development Regulation Act; or surface waters and wetlands, as
  487  determined by the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211.
  488         (9)(7)(a) The property appraiser shall report to the
  489  department showing the just value and the classified use value
  490  of lands used for property that is subject to a conservation
  491  purposes pursuant to this section easement under s. 704.06,
  492  property assessed as environmentally endangered land pursuant to
  493  this section, and property assessed as outdoor recreational or
  494  park land.
  495         (b) The tax collector shall annually report to the
  496  department the amount of deferred tax liability collected
  497  pursuant to this section.
  498         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 195.073, Florida
  499  Statutes, is amended to read:
  500         195.073 Classification of property.—All items required by
  501  law to be on the assessment rolls must receive a classification
  502  based upon the use of the property. The department shall
  503  promulgate uniform definitions for all classifications. The
  504  department may designate other subclassifications of property.
  505  No assessment roll may be approved by the department which does
  506  not show proper classifications.
  507         (1) Real property must be classified according to the
  508  assessment basis of the land into the following classes:
  509         (a) Residential, subclassified into categories, one
  510  category for homestead property and one for nonhomestead
  511  property:
  512         1. Single family.
  513         2. Mobile homes.
  514         3. Multifamily.
  515         4. Condominiums.
  516         5. Cooperatives.
  517         6. Retirement homes.
  518         (b) Commercial and industrial.
  519         (c) Agricultural.
  520         (d) Nonagricultural acreage.
  521         (e) High-water recharge.
  522         (f) Historic property used for commercial or certain
  523  nonprofit purposes.
  524         (g) Exempt, wholly or partially.
  525         (h) Centrally assessed.
  526         (i) Leasehold interests.
  527         (j) Time-share property.
  528         (k)Land used for conservation purposes under s. 193.501.
  529         (l)(k) Other.
  530         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and subsections
  531  (6) and (9) of section 196.011, Florida Statutes, are amended to
  532  read:
  533         196.011 Annual application required for exemption.—
  534         (1)
  535         (b) The form to apply for an exemption under s. 196.031, s.
  536  196.081, s. 196.091, s. 196.101, 196.1962, or s. 196.202 s.
  537  196.031, s. 196.081, s. 196.091, s. 196.101, or s. 196.202 must
  538  include a space for the applicant to list the social security
  539  number of the applicant and of the applicant’s spouse, if any.
  540  If an applicant files a timely and otherwise complete
  541  application, and omits the required social security numbers, the
  542  application is incomplete. In that event, the property appraiser
  543  shall contact the applicant, who may refile a complete
  544  application by April 1. Failure to file a complete application
  545  by that date constitutes a waiver of the exemption privilege for
  546  that year, except as provided in subsection (7) or subsection
  547  (8).
  548         (6)(a) Once an original application for tax exemption has
  549  been granted, in each succeeding year on or before February 1,
  550  the property appraiser shall mail a renewal application to the
  551  applicant, and the property appraiser shall accept from each
  552  such applicant a renewal application on a form to be prescribed
  553  by the Department of Revenue. Such renewal application shall be
  554  accepted as evidence of exemption by the property appraiser
  555  unless he or she denies the application. Upon denial, the
  556  property appraiser shall serve, on or before July 1 of each
  557  year, a notice setting forth the grounds for denial on the
  558  applicant by first-class mail. Any applicant objecting to such
  559  denial may file a petition as provided for in s. 194.011(3).
  560         (b)Once an original application for the tax exemption has
  561  been granted under s. 196.1962, in each succeeding year on or
  562  before February 1, the property appraiser shall mail a renewal
  563  application to the applicant on a form prescribed by the
  564  Department of Revenue. The applicant must certify on the form
  565  that the use of the property complies with the restrictions and
  566  requirements of the conservation easement. The form shall
  567  include a statement that the exemption granted under s. 196.1962
  568  will not be renewed unless application is returned to the
  569  property appraiser.
  570         (9)(a) A county may, at the request of the property
  571  appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
  572  the requirement that an annual application or statement be made
  573  for exemption of property within the county after an initial
  574  application is made and the exemption granted. The waiver under
  575  this subsection of the annual application or statement
  576  requirement applies to all exemptions under this chapter except
  577  the exemption under s. 196.1995. Notwithstanding such waiver,
  578  refiling of an application or statement shall be required when
  579  any property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed
  580  of, when the ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant
  581  for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her
  582  homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to
  583  change the exempt status of the property. In its deliberations
  584  on whether to waive the annual application or statement
  585  requirement, the governing body shall consider the possibility
  586  of fraudulent exemption claims which may occur due to the waiver
  587  of the annual application requirement. It is The duty of the
  588  owner of any property granted an exemption who is not required
  589  to file an annual application or statement has a duty to notify
  590  the property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property
  591  or the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change
  592  the exempt status of the property. If any property owner fails
  593  to so notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser
  594  determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the owner
  595  was not entitled to receive such exemption, the owner of the
  596  property is subject to the taxes exempted as a result of such
  597  failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50
  598  percent of the taxes exempted. Except for homestead exemptions
  599  controlled by s. 196.161, it is the duty of the property
  600  appraiser making such determination has a duty to record in the
  601  public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
  602  property owned by that person or entity in the county, and such
  603  property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such
  604  property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties.
  605  Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in
  606  the notice of tax lien, owned by the person who illegally or
  607  improperly received the exemption. Should such person no longer
  608  own property in that county, but own property in some other
  609  county or counties in the state, it shall be the duty of the
  610  property appraiser has a duty to record a notice of tax lien in
  611  such other county or counties, identifying the property owned by
  612  such person or entity in such county or counties, and it shall
  613  become a lien against such property in such county or counties.
  614         (b)The owner of any property granted an exemption under s.
  615  196.1962 has a duty to notify the property appraiser promptly
  616  whenever the use of the property no longer complies with the
  617  restrictions and requirements of the conservation easement. If
  618  the property owner fails to so notify the property appraiser and
  619  the property appraiser determines that for any year within the
  620  preceding 10 years the owner was not entitled to receive the
  621  exemption, the owner of the property is subject to taxes
  622  exempted as a result of the failure plus 18 percent interest per
  623  annum and a penalty of 100 percent of the taxes exempted. The
  624  provisions for tax liens in paragraph (a) apply to property
  625  granted an exemption under s. 196.1962.
  626         (c)(b) A county may, at the request of the property
  627  appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
  628  the requirement that an annual application be made for the
  629  veteran’s disability discount granted pursuant to s. 6(g), Art.
  630  VII of the State Constitution after an initial application is
  631  made and the discount granted. It is the duty of The disabled
  632  veteran receiving a discount for which annual application has
  633  been waived has a duty to notify the property appraiser promptly
  634  whenever the use of the property or the percentage of disability
  635  to which the veteran is entitled changes. If a disabled veteran
  636  fails to notify the property appraiser and the property
  637  appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years
  638  the veteran was not entitled to receive all or a portion of such
  639  discount, the penalties and processes in paragraph (a) relating
  640  to the failure to notify the property appraiser of ineligibility
  641  for an exemption shall apply.
  642         (d)(c) For any exemption under s. 196.101(2), the statement
  643  concerning gross income must be filed with the property
  644  appraiser not later than March 1 of every year.
  645         (e)(d) If an exemption for which the annual application is
  646  waived pursuant to this subsection will be denied by the
  647  property appraiser in the absence of the refiling of the
  648  application, notification of an intent to deny the exemption
  649  shall be mailed to the owner of the property prior to February
  650  1. If the property appraiser fails to timely mail such notice,
  651  the application deadline for such property owner pursuant to
  652  subsection (1) shall be extended to 28 days after the date on
  653  which the property appraiser mails such notice.
  654         Section 5. Section 218.125, Florida Statutes, is created to
  655  read:
  656         218.125Replacement for tax loss associated with certain
  657  constitutional amendments affecting fiscally constrained
  658  counties.—
  659         (1)Beginning in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Legislature
  660  shall appropriate moneys to replace the reductions in ad valorem
  661  tax revenue experienced by fiscally constrained counties, as
  662  defined in s. 218.67(1), which occur as a direct result of the
  663  implementation of revisions of ss. 3(f) and 4(b) of Art. VII of
  664  the State Constitution which were approved in the general
  665  election held in November 2008. The moneys appropriated for this
  666  purpose shall be distributed in January of each fiscal year
  667  among the fiscally constrained counties based on each county’s
  668  proportion of the total reduction in ad valorem tax revenue
  669  resulting from the implementation of the revisions.
  670         (2)On or before November 15 of each year, beginning in
  671  2010, each fiscally constrained county shall apply to the
  672  Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the
  673  appropriation and provide documentation supporting the county’s
  674  estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue in the form and
  675  manner prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The
  676  documentation must include an estimate of the reduction in
  677  taxable value directly attributable to revisions of Art. VII of
  678  the State Constitution for all county taxing jurisdictions
  679  within the county and shall be prepared by the property
  680  appraiser in each fiscally constrained county. The documentation
  681  must also include the county millage rates applicable in all
  682  such jurisdictions for the current year and the prior year,
  683  roll-back rates determined as provided in s. 200.065 for each
  684  county taxing jurisdiction, and maximum millage rates that could
  685  have been levied by majority vote pursuant to s. 200.185. For
  686  purposes of this section, each fiscally constrained county’s
  687  reduction in ad valorem tax revenue shall be calculated as 95
  688  percent of the estimated reduction in taxable value times the
  689  lesser of the 2009 applicable millage rate or the applicable
  690  millage rate for each county taxing jurisdiction in the prior
  691  year.
  692         Section 6. Section 704.06, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  693  read:
  694         704.06 Conservation easements and conservation protection
  695  agreements; creation; acquisition; enforcement.—
  696         (1) As used in this section, “conservation easement” means
  697  a transferrable right or interest in real property which may be
  698  perpetual or limited to a certain term, and which is appropriate
  699  to retaining land or water areas predominantly in their natural,
  700  scenic, open, agricultural, or wooded condition; retaining such
  701  areas as suitable habitat for fish, plants, or wildlife;
  702  retaining the structural integrity or physical appearance of
  703  sites or properties of historical, architectural,
  704  archaeological, or cultural significance; or maintaining
  705  existing land uses and which prohibits or limits any or all of
  706  the following:
  707         (a) Construction or placing of buildings, roads, signs,
  708  billboards or other advertising, utilities, or other structures
  709  on or above the ground.
  710         (b) Dumping or placing of soil or other substance or
  711  material as landfill or dumping or placing of trash, waste, or
  712  unsightly or offensive materials.
  713         (c) Removal or destruction of trees, shrubs, or other
  714  vegetation.
  715         (d) Excavation, dredging, or removal of loam, peat, gravel,
  716  soil, rock, or other material substance in such manner as to
  717  affect the surface.
  718         (e) Surface use except for purposes that permit the land or
  719  water area to remain predominantly in its natural condition.
  720         (f) Activities detrimental to drainage, flood control,
  721  water conservation, erosion control, soil conservation, or fish
  722  and wildlife habitat preservation.
  723         (g) Acts or uses detrimental to such retention of land or
  724  water areas.
  725         (h) Acts or uses detrimental to the preservation of the
  726  structural integrity or physical appearance of sites or
  727  properties of historical, architectural, archaeological, or
  728  cultural significance.
  729         (2)“Conservation protection agreement” has the same
  730  meaning as provided in s. 196.1962.
  731         (3)(2) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  732  agreements are perpetual, undivided interests in property and
  733  may be created or stated in the form of an a restriction,
  734  easement, covenant, or condition in any deed, will, or other
  735  instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the
  736  property, or in any order of taking. Such easements or
  737  agreements may be acquired in the same manner as other interests
  738  in property are acquired, except by condemnation or by other
  739  exercise of the power of eminent domain, and shall not be
  740  unassignable to other governmental bodies or agencies,
  741  charitable organizations, or trusts authorized to acquire such
  742  easements, for lack of benefit to a dominant estate.
  743         (4)(3) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  744  agreements may be acquired by any governmental body or agency or
  745  by a charitable corporation or trust whose purposes include
  746  protecting natural, scenic, or open space values of real
  747  property, assuring its availability for agricultural, forest,
  748  recreational, or open space use, protecting natural resources,
  749  maintaining or enhancing air or water quality, or preserving
  750  sites or properties of historical, architectural,
  751  archaeological, or cultural significance.
  752         (5)(4) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  753  agreements shall run with the land and be binding on all
  754  subsequent owners of the servient estate. Notwithstanding the
  755  provisions of s. 197.552, all provisions of a conservation
  756  easement or a conservation protection agreement shall survive
  757  and are enforceable after the issuance of a tax deed. No
  758  conservation easement shall be unenforceable on account of lack
  759  of privity of contract or lack of benefit to particular land or
  760  on account of the benefit being assignable. Conservation
  761  easements and conservation protection agreements may be enforced
  762  by injunction or proceeding in equity or at law, and shall
  763  entitle the holder to enter the land in a reasonable manner and
  764  at reasonable times to assure compliance. A conservation
  765  easement or a conservation protection agreement may be released
  766  by the holder of the easement or the agreement to the holder of
  767  the fee even though the holder of the fee may not be a
  768  governmental body or a charitable corporation or trust.
  769         (6)(5) All conservation easements and conservation
  770  protection agreements shall be recorded in the official records
  771  of the county in which the property subject to the easement or
  772  agreement is located and indexed in the same manner as any other
  773  instrument affecting the title to real property.
  774         (7)(6) The provisions of this section shall not be
  775  construed to imply that any restriction, easement, agreement,
  776  covenant, or condition which does not have the benefit of this
  777  section shall, on account of any provision hereof, be
  778  unenforceable.
  779         (8)(7) Recording of the conservation easement or
  780  conservation protection agreement shall be notice to the
  781  property appraiser and tax collector of the county of the
  782  conveyance of the conservation easement or conservation
  783  protection agreement.
  784         (9)(8) Conservation easements and conservation protection
  785  agreements may provide for a third-party right of enforcement.
  786  As used in this section, third-party right of enforcement means
  787  a right provided in a conservation easement or conservation
  788  protection agreement to enforce any of its terms granted to a
  789  governmental body, or charitable corporation or trust as
  790  described in subsection (4) (3), which although eligible to be a
  791  holder, is not a holder.
  792         (10)(9) An action affecting a conservation easement or a
  793  conservation protection agreement may be brought by:
  794         (a) An owner of an interest in the real property burdened
  795  by the easement or agreement;
  796         (b) A holder of the easement or agreement;
  797         (c) A person having a third-party right of enforcement; or
  798         (d) A person authorized by another law.
  799         (11)(10) The ownership or attempted enforcement of rights
  800  held by the holder of an easement or agreement does not subject
  801  the holder to any liability for any damage or injury that may be
  802  suffered by any person on the property or as a result of the
  803  condition of the property encumbered by a conservation easement
  804  or a conservation protection agreement.
  805         (12)(11)Nothing in This section or other provisions of law
  806  do not shall be construed to prohibit or limit the owner of
  807  land, or the owner of a conservation easement or conservation
  808  protection agreement over land, to voluntarily negotiate the
  809  sale or utilization of such lands or easement or agreement for
  810  the construction and operation of linear facilities, including
  811  electric transmission and distribution facilities,
  812  telecommunications transmission and distribution facilities,
  813  pipeline transmission and distribution facilities, public
  814  transportation corridors, and related appurtenances, nor shall
  815  this section prohibit the use of eminent domain for said
  816  purposes as established by law. In any legal proceeding to
  817  condemn land for the purpose of construction and operation of a
  818  linear facility as described above, the court shall consider the
  819  public benefit provided by the conservation easement or the
  820  conservation protection agreement and linear facilities in
  821  determining which lands may be taken and the compensation paid.
  822         Section 7. The Department of Revenue may adopt emergency
  823  rules to administer s. 196.1962, Florida Statutes. The emergency
  824  rules shall remain in effect for 6 months after adoption and may
  825  be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt rules
  826  addressing the subject of the emergency rules.
  827         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2009, and
  828  applies to property tax assessment made on or after January 1,
  829  2010.

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