[author: Ellen Avery-Smith]
Chapter 2011-139, Laws of Florida, also amended Section 380.06(19)(c)(2) by extending all development of regional impact (DRI) commencement, phase, buildout and expiration dates for four (4) years, regardless of any previous extension, at the option of the developer. In order to avail itself of the four-year extension, the developer must provide notice of its intent to obtain the extension to the local government that issued the DRI development order by December 31, 2011.
Regardless of any extension of DRI build-out or termination dates pursuant to the 2011 legislation, developers may abandon a DRI which was approved by a local government but never gained market traction or may request that an older DRI in which most of the approved units and square footage have been constructed be deemed essentially built out. Section 380.06(26), Florida Statutes, allows a developer to abandon a DRI and its related development order (DO) obligations, with the permission of the local government that approved the DRI and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO). In the abandonment order, the developer will be required to satisfy all applicable conditions of the DO and adequately mitigate for the impacts of any development that has occurred or is projected to occur within the DRI boundaries. If no development has occurred, the developer will not be required to contribute any land, funds or public facilities as a condition of the abandonment order.
Developers of older DRIs have the right to have their developments determined essentially built out, pursuant to Section 380.06(15)(g), Florida Statutes. The determination that a DRI is essentially built out can occur in four different ways, including a clearance letter from FDEO and the approval of an essentially built-out agreement among the developer, the local government that approved the DRI and FDEO. In all cases, the developer must, at a minimum, have satisfied all DO obligations triggered by development and must be in compliance with applicable terms of the DO.