Last week, we shared a call to action to ask Governor Ron DeSantis to veto HB 7103. Later that day, the Governor chose to sign the bill into law, cutting growth management laws and restricting affordable housing all over Florida. As before, we stand with 1000 Friends of Florida in their disappointment and concern for what HB 7103 means to our local and statewide communities.
Originally Released by 1000 Friends of Florida
1000 Friends of Florida is deeply disappointed that Gov. DeSantis has chosen to sign House Bill 7103. This legislation could deal a mortal blow to growth management in Florida. With our state adding nearly 1,000 new residents a day, the timing couldn’t be worse.
There are several bad provisions in HB 7103, but the worst will force Floridians who challenge a development order and lose to pay the legal fees of the winners.
These challenges from citizens are the only enforcement mechanism left to ensure that proposed developments are consistent with local comprehensive plans, the blueprints for growth in our communities in Florida. It’s critical that communities abide by their comprehensive plans to protect our environment, economy and quality of life amid our state’s rapid growth. But the risk of getting slapped with the legal fees for both sides will scare most citizens away from exercising their right to go to court to challenge development orders and enforce comprehensive plans.
There is no need for this provision; state law already gives judges the authority to require citizens who file frivolous consistency challenges to pay the other sides’ legal fees. So HB 7103 really targets citizens with legitimate complaints about development orders.
It will undermine, instead of support, the governor’s emphasis on environmental protection.
And this provision was added in the final days of this year’s legislative session in a floor amendment that was never introduced or debated by legislators in committee, or subjected to public testimony, or analyzed by staff. There was never a meaningful discussion of its ruinous consequences.
Now that HB 7103 has become law, a future of poor planning and development decisions looms in Florida.
Unless legislators have the good sense to fix this terrible mistake and resurrect growth management in the 2020 session.
Read 1000 Friends of Florida’s veto request letter to learn more about the detrimental effects of HB 7103.
Spread the word by sharing with your friends, family, and neighbors.