2024 Updates The Live Local Act

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2024 Updates The Live Local Act

Short Summary:

The Live Local Act, effective from July 1, 2023, is undergoing potential amendments to enhance affordable housing strategies. Key proposals include narrowing qualifying properties to commercial and mixed-use, adjusting floor area ratios, modifying height restrictions, and refining parking requirements. Senate Bill No. 328 and House Bill No. 1239 aim to fine-tune the Act’s provisions, with updates pending legislative approval. These changes seek to optimize the Act’s impact on Florida’s affordable housing landscape.

Overview:

In a move to refine affordable housing strategies, the Florida Legislature is currently reviewing potential amendments to The Live Local Act, which was enacted on July 1, 2023. These proposed adjustments are encapsulated in Senate Bill No. 328 and House Bill No. 1239.

The Live Local Act, known for its provisions that override local zoning laws to support multifamily rental projects with affordable housing components, is under scrutiny for possible enhancements. For a comprehensive understanding of the Act’s framework and its implications on affordable housing and rent control, refer to our previous coverage, “Live Local Act Provides Affordable Housing Incentives, Bans Rent Control.”

The proposed amendments, focused on Florida Statutes 125.01055 and 166.04151, seek to refine the scope and operational parameters of affordable housing projects. Here’s a breakdown of the significant changes being considered:

Qualifying Properties

  • Current Law: Administrative approval under the Act is available for properties zoned commercial, industrial, or mixed use.
  • Proposed Change: Eligibility would be narrowed to commercial and mixed-use properties only.
  • Current Law: In municipalities with less than 20% of land area designated as commercial or industrial, multifamily developments must include mixed-use residential.
  • Proposed Change: The 20% land area requirement would solely apply to commercial-zoned properties.

Addition of Floor Area Ratio

  • Proposal: Local governments would be prohibited from limiting the floor area ratio of affordable housing projects below the maximum ratio permitted by existing local regulations.

Adjustment to Maximum Height

  • Current Law: The height of developments under the Act cannot be capped below the tallest allowable height for commercial or residential buildings within a mile or three stories, whichever is greater.
  • Proposed Changes: The benchmark distance for comparing building heights is reduced to a quarter mile. Furthermore, adjacent property building heights could influence the maximum height of new developments to 135% of the tallest adjacent building or three stories, whichever is higher.

Treatment as Conforming Use

  • Proposal: Developments approved under the Act would be permanently recognized as conforming uses, even beyond the administrative approval and mandatory 30-year affordability period.

Right to Cure

  • Proposal: Developers would have the opportunity to rectify any violations of the 30-year affordability requirement before being designated as a nonconforming use.

Parking

  • Current Law vs. Proposed Changes:
    • Reduction in the distance for reduced parking consideration from a half-mile to a quarter-mile from major transit stops.
    • Mandatory reduction of parking requirements for developments near major transportation hubs.
    • Elimination of parking requirements for mixed-use residential developments in areas designated for transit-oriented development.

Live Local Act Transparency

  • Proposal: Local governments must clearly outline the procedures and expectations for administrative approval under the Act on their websites.

As of now, these proposals remain under consideration and have yet to be adopted into law. Senate Bill No. 328 was presented to the State Affairs Committee on January 13, 2024, and House Bill No. 1239 saw its first reading on January 9, 2024. Montague Law will keep our readers informed about the progress of this significant legislation and its implications for affordable housing in Florida.

Legal Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The content presented is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, tax, or financial advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. Readers are encouraged to consult with their own attorney, CPA, and tax advisors to obtain specific guidance and advice tailored to their individual circumstances. No responsibility is assumed for any inaccuracies or errors in the information contained herein, and John Montague and Montague Law expressly disclaim any liability for any actions taken or not taken based on the information provided in this article.

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