Section 419.001, Florida Statutes 2003
419.001 Site selection of community residential homes.--
(1) For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) "Community residential home" means a dwelling unit licensed to serve clients of the Department of Children and Family Services, which provides a living environment for 7 to 14 unrelated residents who operate as the functional equivalent of a family, including such supervision and care by supportive staff as may be necessary to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of the residents.
(b) "Department" means the Department of Children and Family Services.
(c) "Local government" means a county as set forth in chapter 7 or a municipality incorporated under the provisions of chapter 165.
(d) "Resident" means any of the following: a frail elder as defined in s. 400.618; a physically disabled or handicapped person as defined in s. 760.22(7)(a); a developmentally disabled person as defined in s. 393.063(12); a nondangerous mentally ill person as defined in s. 394.455(18); or a child as defined in s. 39.01(14), s. 984.03(9) or (12), or s. 985.03(8).
(e) "Sponsoring agency" means an agency or unit of government, a profit or nonprofit agency, or any other person or organization which intends to establish or operate a community residential home.
(2) Homes of six or fewer residents which otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home shall be deemed a single-family unit and a noncommercial, residential use for the purpose of local laws and ordinances. Homes of six or fewer residents which otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home shall be allowed in single-family or multifamily zoning without approval by the local government, provided that such homes shall not be located within a radius of 1,000 feet of another existing such home with six or fewer residents. Such homes with six or fewer residents shall not be required to comply with the notification provisions of this section; provided, however, that the sponsoring agency or the department notifies the local government at the time of home occupancy that the home is licensed by the department.
(3)(a) When a site for a community residential home has been selected by a sponsoring agency in an area zoned for multifamily, the agency shall notify the chief executive officer of the local government in writing and include in such notice the specific address of the site, the residential licensing category, the number of residents, and the community support requirements of the program. Such notice shall also contain a statement from the district administrator of the department indicating the need for and the licensing status of the proposed community residential home and specifying how the home meets applicable licensing criteria for the safe care and supervision of the clients in the home. The district administrator shall also provide to the local government the most recently published data compiled that identifies all community residential homes in the district in which the proposed site is to be located. The local government shall review the notification of the sponsoring agency in accordance with the zoning ordinance of the jurisdiction.
(b) Pursuant to such review, the local government may:
1. Determine that the siting of the community residential home is in accordance with local zoning and approve the siting. If the siting is approved, the sponsoring agency may establish the home at the site selected.
2. Fail to respond within 60 days. If the local government fails to respond within such time, the sponsoring agency may establish the home at the site selected.
3. Deny the siting of the home.
(c) The local government shall not deny the siting of a community residential home unless the local government establishes that the siting of the home at the site selected:
1. Does not otherwise conform to existing zoning regulations applicable to other multifamily uses in the area.
2. Does not meet applicable licensing criteria established and determined by the department, including requirements that the home be located to assure the safe care and supervision of all clients in the home.
3. Would result in such a concentration of community residential homes in the area in proximity to the site selected, or would result in a combination of such homes with other residences in the community, such that the nature and character of the area would be substantially altered. A home that is located within a radius of 1,200 feet of another existing community residential home in a multifamily zone shall be an overconcentration of such homes that substantially alters the nature and character of the area. A home that is located within a radius of 500 feet of an area of single-family zoning substantially alters the nature and character of the area.
(4) All distance requirements in this section shall be measured from the nearest point of the existing home or area of single-family zoning to the nearest point of the proposed home.
(5) If agreed to by both the local government and the sponsoring agency, a conflict may be resolved through informal mediation. The local government shall arrange for the services of an independent mediator or may utilize the dispute resolution process established by a regional planning council pursuant to s. 186.509. Mediation shall be concluded within 45 days of a request therefor. The resolution of any issue through the mediation process shall not alter any person's right to a judicial determination of any issue if that person is entitled to such a determination under statutory or common law.
(6) The department shall not issue a license to a sponsoring agency for operation of a community residential home if the sponsoring agency does not notify the local government of its intention to establish a program, as required by subsection (3). A license issued without compliance with the provisions of this section shall be considered null and void, and continued operation of the home may be enjoined.
(7) A dwelling unit housing a community residential home established pursuant to this section shall be subject to the same local laws and ordinances applicable to other noncommercial, residential family units in the area in which it is established.
(8) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect the authority of any community residential home lawfully established prior to October 1, 1989, to continue to operate.
(9) Nothing in this section shall permit persons to occupy a community residential home who would constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of other persons or whose residency would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.
(10) The siting of community residential homes in areas zoned for single family shall be governed by local zoning ordinances. Nothing in this section prohibits a local government from authorizing the development of community residential homes in areas zoned for single family.
(11) Nothing in this section requires any local government to adopt a new ordinance if it has in place an ordinance governing the placement of community residential homes that meet the criteria of this section. State law on community residential homes controls over local ordinances, but nothing in this section prohibits a local government from adopting more liberal standards for siting such homes.
History.--s. 1, ch. 89-372; s. 1, ch. 90-192; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 36, ch. 93-206; s. 6, ch. 95-152; s. 42, ch. 96-169; s. 222, ch. 97-101; s. 46, ch. 98-280; s. 14, ch. 98-338; s. 53, ch. 99-193; s. 23, ch. 99-284; s. 7, ch. 2000-135.