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					RURAL LAND STEWARDSHIP
IN FLORIDA
A Preliminary Evaluation
Project Description
   Tim Chapin and Harrison Higgins
     Evan   Rosenberg
        Jake   Cremer, Gabe Matthews, Rachel Sparling
   Engaged by the Florida Department of Community
    Affairs
     Report Status to the Florida Legislature
     Develop Evaluation Criteria

     Evaluate two RLS Cases
RLS Overview

   Describe RLS in Florida
     Program  outline
     Economic and Policy Context

   Program History
What is RLS?
   One of several local government, incentive-based
    large scale planning processes
   Based on “innovative” and flexible planning and
    development strategies
   Seeks to conserve ag land and natural resources on
    ag land
     by providing incentives to direct growth in a manner
      compatible with the rural character and rural economies.
Agriculture in Florida

The Good News…                The Other News…

   Florida’s second             Loss of agricultural land
    largest industry             Competition for water
   Tenth largest                 resources
    agriculture economy in       Competition with global
    US                            producers
   Overall economic             Anti-immigration
    impact of $87.6 billion       sentiment
    annually                     Disease
Problem
   2.8 million acres of farm land converted to non-
    agricultural uses between 1974 and 2002.
     Florida population  growth
     Preferences for low density living

     “Ability” of coastal area infrastructure to accommodate
      more development
Policy Shortcomings
   Absence of rural policy in FL
   Persistent emphasis in FL on policy compliance rather
    than land use and infrastructure design
   Early failure to establish (rural) density and intensity
    standards
       or the establishment of problematic standards over large
        areas
   Chilling effect of takings legislation on redistribution
    strategies
   Failure to fund concurrency requirements
Planning Context
   Home Town Democracy
   Obstacles present in other large scale planning
    strategies and RLS regulatory incentives
     Private   consultant marketing
   FDOT Heartland Corridor Plan
FDOT Heartland Corridor Plan
Illustration: Collier County
   1997 DCA rejection of Collier County Comprehensive
    Plan amendments
   FL Administrative Law Courts ruled in favor of DCA and
    several environmental organizations
       Collier County had failed to implement its existing policies
        for protection of natural resources and protection of
        environmentally sensitive lands.
   County proposed down-zoning all rural lands from
    1du/5ac to 1du/20ac and environmentally sensitive lands
    from 1du/40ac
   Agricultural landowners invoked Bert Harris Act
   Six landowners holding 168,000 acres formed the
    Eastern Collier Property Owners to pursue litigation
    against the county
Early Policy Overtures
   2000 Governor’s Growth Management Study
    Commission
       recommended guiding 6 principles for rural land
        development
         Restoration and maintenance of the economic value of rural land;
         Control of urban sprawl;
         Identification and protection of ecosystems, habitats, and natural
          resources;
         Promotion of rural economic activity;
         Maintenance of the viability of Florida's agricultural economy;
          and
         Protection of the character of rural areas of Florida.
Florida’s Rural Policy
 “The fundamental basis of the State’s rural policy
 should be
    the restoration of rural land values,

    enhancement of the ability of land owners to obtain
    economic value from their property,

    and protection of private property rights.”
Legislative History
   2001
       Legislature authorized five pilot projects; minimum of 50,000 acres per
        project
   2004
       Removed pilot status; authorized DCA to approve more than five areas;
        streamlined the application process
   2004
       Decreased minimum size from 50,000 to 10,000 acres
   2004
       Exempted RLS twice per year comp plan amendment limit
   2005
     Exempted development within RLSA from DRI review (except for
      transportation under certain circumstances)
   2007
     Rule making commences
Status
   Collier County pre-RLSA statutory program
   Enabling law enacted on July 1, 2001 with codification
    of 163.3177(11)(d)
   Largely Based on Governor’s Growth Management
    Study Commission recommendations
   Legislation has been twice amended
   DCA is considering a series of administrative law
    changes that seek to “fix” the program
   8 local governments in various stages of implementing
    RLS
       Involving approximately 780,000 acres
RLS by FL County
Specific RLS Proposals
RLS Entitlement Context
RLS Overview
   Incentive-based
       Rewards property owners for protection with higher densities and intensities of
        development elsewhere
   Voluntary and non-regulatory
       Landowners for voluntarily agreeing to conservation through permanent
        stewardship easements
   Decidedly Local
       Assigns values to important resources and landscapes
       Mode of implementation
   Potentially Regional
       Innovation trumps jurisdictional divides
   Well planned (non-sprawl), compatible development ought achieve
    program’s intent
   Competing emphases remain among value-restoration, ag preservation,
    and natural resource conservation
Mechanics: Establishing the RLSA
   Designation of a Rural Land Stewardship Area in County Comprehensive Plan
       Prior to written notice of intent filed with DCA
           Per DCA administrative guidance, filing is followed by
           Pre-transmittal conference with DCA and local public workshop


   Should a local government decide to proceed
      Minimum 10,000 acres (down from 50K , max is 250K) all located outside incorporated areas
       and UGBs. Goals, objectives, and policies setting forth the innovative planning and development
       strategies to be applied within rural land stewardship areas.

   Written notice filed with DCA
       Accompanied by evidence describing the extent to which the RLSA
           enhances rural land values, controls urban sprawl, provides necessary open space for agriculture and
            protection of the natural environment, promotes rural economic activity, and maintains rural character and
            the economic viability of agriculture.
           Goals, Objectives and Policies for the RLSA
                  Provide for a functional mix of land uses, including adequate available workforce housing, including low, very-low
                   and moderate income housing
                  Complies with local long-term vision for development
                  Are implemented through revisions to the LDRs
Mechanics: Establishing Sending and
Receiving Areas
   After creating a RLSA in comp plan, establish method for transfer of “stewardship credits”
       Total number of stewardship credits within a RLSA should accommodate 25-year or more of population
        growth
   Credits are transferred between one or more sending and receiving areas in the RLSA.
       Not required to be determined at the time of the comprehensive plan amendment
   Sending Area where stewardship credits are generated
       Conveying credits to sending areas reduces future development densities and intensities through the
        application of covenants or restrictive easements.
   Densities and intensities are increased in receiving area by transferring stewardship credits
   Receiving areas must
       contain adequate suitable land to accommodate development and avoid conflict with environmental
        resources
       Provide for density transitions
       Delineated by limitations in public service extensions
       Must be designed to be separate from one another yet connected through rural corridors
RLS Implementation
   Two cases
     Collier County (pre-statute)
     St. Lucie County (2006)
Collier County Case
   Pre-statutory program in responding to
    Administration Commission Final Order
   Involves 195,465 acres with multiple landowners
    but one primary owner
   Original goal of conservation/ development lands
    ratio of 9 to 1
Collier County Case
   Within the RLSA land owners can petition to be
    designated either SSAs or SRAs
   Land not designated SSAs or SRAs retain their
    underlying residential 1 DU/5 acre entitlements
     Some land use entitlements removed (mining)
     Resource protection policies added
Collier County SSAs
   Landowners encumber property in perpetuity through stewardship
    easements.
   Stewardship Credits are “commoditized”
       Legally valid entitlements to development according to both the state
        and the county
       No restrictions on their sale, ownership, or holding period
       Value remains difficult to discern
   Credits are allocated in a worksheet based upon the characteristics
    of the property in square acre units
       Two primary factors: land use layers and the natural resource index.
           Intensity of “potential” land uses to be removed from property
            The comparative value of resources
       Additional credits available for early adopters and resource restoration
Collier County SRAs
   Must obtain the appropriate number of credits
       Standard conversion rate
         Eight (8) stewardship credits per net acre
         Rate without regard to SRA size, land uses, intensity

       Meant to encourage compact development
           Incentive to use land intensively
   Land designated as a FSA, HSA, WRA, or SSA cannot
    be an SRA
   Must be located near a county collector or arterial
    road
       or the developer must provide equivalent access
Collier County SRA Types

    Town
      1,000-4,000 acres
      Diverse land uses with town center
      Urban services.

    Villages
      100-1,000 acres
      Less diversity of land uses and fewer public services
    Hamlets
      40-100 acres
      Residential with limited services.
    Compact rural developments (CRDs)
        Commercial land use promoting rural economic development
First SRA
   Town of Ave Maria
       Initially 960 acre for Ave Maria University
           6,000 student Catholic institution
       In June 2005 BOCC expanded SRA; approved the Town of Ave Maria
        DRI
           Expanded to 5,027 acres
           11,000 dwelling units
           690,000 square feet of retail/service uses
           510,000 square feet of office uses
           35,000 square feet of medical facilities
           148,500 square feet of civic uses
           400 hotel rooms and various private school uses.
           Build-out population of about 30,000, including students.
       17,050 acres have been preserved within SSA
           conservation/ development lands ratio of 3 to 1
Potential Second SRA
   Town of Big Cypress
     One  new town
     Six villages

     25,000 residential units

     8,000 of 35,000 acres planned for development
       conservation/ development lands   ratio of 3 to 1
     30-year   build-out population of 60,000
Collier Case Findings
   At its essence a new town and natural resource preservation
    scheme
       Lands with high environmental values have high credit values
           As many as 48,000 acres of high value natural resources conserved
       Active agriculture have low credit values that discourage continued
        cultivation or husbandry
           Most receiving areas were formerly under cultivation, including many of the
            most productive ag lands

   Urbanism is not “rural”
       Typical suburban densities
       Potential for sprawl given the maintenance of “farmette” densities

   Of questionable value to agricultural or “rural” preservation
Collier Case Findings
   Methodology is complex and very expensive to
    implement
       Difficult to quantify the total potential amount of
        development within the RLSA
            Estimated between 200,000 to 400,000 residents
       Not suited to low capacity governments
       Requires on-going documentation and monitoring
       The scoring rationale is subjective and disputable and
        sometimes mysterious
            The bottom line is difficult to determine
St. Lucie Case
   RLSA was adopted an overlay on the Future Land
    Use Map in 2006 with Ordinance 06-031
     22,384  acres
     Divided between two properties located about four
      miles apart
       16,466  on active cattle operation of Adams Ranch, the SSA
       5,918 on cankered citrus groves of Cloud Grove, the SRA
St. Lucie Case
   SSA credits are allocated and transacted in a
    manner similar to Collier County
   But
           are non-contiguous each under single ownership
     Tracts

     Development allowed on both tracts
       But no   residual areas not in SRAs or SSAs
     Significant   existing potential for development
       3,000 dwelling units
Difference in credit allocation schemes

     Table 1. Maximum credit generation per acre by county
     Credit type                                             Collier   St. Lucie
     Natural resource credits                                  3.0        2.51
     Restoration credits                                       8.0        3.0
     Early entry bonus credits                                 1.0        x
     Cultural heritage stewardship credits                     x          0.5
     Agriculture stewardship credits                           x          1.0
     Wildlife corridor credits                                 x          0.5
     Maximum potential credits                                12.0        7.5
St. Lucie Case Findings
   Stronger incentives than in Collier County to preserve ag
    land
   Conservation/development lands ratio of 3 to 1 to 4 to 1
   Non-contiguity raises several questions
       About rural character
       Sprawl prevention
       Protection against fragmentation
       Spillover in areas adjacent to Cloud Grove
       Existing transportation network is conduit for development
Evaluation
   Absence of a defined set of agricultural and natural resources values of concern to
    define SSAs
       Legislation provided little guidance on SSAs
           What types, amounts, and location of development are compatible with what types of agricultural
            activity?
           Does landscape preservation matter? What can be done to preventing the fragmentation of
            important ecosystems and habitats or the fragmentation of agricultural lands?
   Absence of a definition of “rural character” to describe development in the SRAs
       Development densities of new towns and land use mixes are distinctly suburban
       Little in the way of urban controls to secure right-to-farm
   Process incentives appear inadequate or are not trusted
       Continued reliance on the DRI for entitlement
   Naïve or at least very limited in its understanding of how to support rural economies
       Failure to connect ag preservation and resource preservation through environmental
        service provision
       Failure to acknowledge that providing a location for agriculture may not be enough
DCA’s Objections to RLS as
Implemented
   Based on Secretary Pelham’s interpretation of the
    legislature’s intent
    A  process to obtain approval for specific
      development projects
     A process to increase the permitted
      density/intensity for urban development proposals
     A process to replace agriculture and rural land
      with urban development
        “Ifthese are the goals, then some other entitlement
         option should be used”
RLSA Proposed Rule
   Provides two options
     the   standard option
       RLSA <   50K acres
     special   option
       RLSA >  50K acres
       Establishes 1:10 ratio
       No more than 4 development areas
       Development prohibited in the conservation areas
Proposed Rule Making for All RLSAs
   Sets rural sustainability standards
       Large and contiguous
           Will not disturb rural character or adversely impact agricultural and
            environmentally sensitive lands to be conserved.
       Attempt to ensure a minimum development footprint
       Limits number of development areas (SRAs)
       Compact urban form, separated by greenbelts, connected by
        limited access corridors
       Limits development in residual (“Agricultural”) areas
       Places more emphasis on establishing rural character and rural
        economic impacts
       Sets standards for New Town and Rural Activity Centers
           Requires New Town Master Plan, service area boundaries, and work
            force housing provision
For RLSAs > 50K acres
   Establishes 1:10 ratio of   non-ag to ag and
    conservation land
   No more than 4 development areas per 50K
    acre area
   Development prohibited in the conservation
    areas
   Residual areas must be in Agricultural Areas
   Development areas must be separated from
    one another
And the Florida Legislature?
   In 2004 Legislature created
     10,805-acre Ave Maria Stewardship District
     21,701-acre Big Cypress Stewardship District

   Function as independent special districts
     fundinfrastructure improvements for new town in Collier
      County
Where does this leave us?
   The good                            The remaining challenges
       Proposed rule making                Struggle over legislative
        arguably does a better job           intent
        of ag preservation                  Retain flexibility and market
       Sets broad urban form                responsiveness
        characteristics                     Resolve the tensions
       Attempts to address sprawl           between resource
        issues                               preservation and ag
       Seeks to get a bigger bang           conservation
        for the buck                        Reduce complexity for low
                                             capacity rural governments

				
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