1st DCA sides with 2009 Legislature on impact fees

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Florida lawmakers were within their authority in 2009 to require cities, counties and school boards to bear the burden of proof when residents or businesses challenge impact fees, the First District Court of Appeal ruled Monday in an opinion dismissing a challenge by local government groups against Legislative leaders, reports the News Service of Florida. In a four-page ruling, the appellate court reversed a Second Circuit Court order denying a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by attorneys for Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, who inherited the lawsuit from their predecessors. Arguing thta it was an unfunded mandate, Cities and counties filed suit saying the Senate in 2009 did not pass the impact fee bill (HB 527) by the necessary two-thirds vote. The appellate court? ruling was muted significantly last month as lawmakers re-enacted the controversial law with a similar measure (SB 410) by the necessary margins in both chambers. Cragin Mosteller, spokeswoman for the Florida Association of Counties, said the group is looking at Monday? ruling and seeing how it dovetails with the newly enacted impact fee provisions and whether the association will proceed with its challenge.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.