School Concurrency Impacts Residential Development in Miami-Dade County

by Akerman LLP

[authors: Neisen Kasdin and Steven Wernick]

With increased international investment, Miami-Dade County has seen a rebound in the real estate market, particularly with regard to residential projects in high-density areas in Miami's urban core and bayfront and beachfront communities. After several years of stagnation, developers now face new challenges related to school concurrency as public schools across Miami-Dade County reach capacity.

In 2005, the Florida Legislature made school concurrency mandatory – requiring local governments to adopt school concurrency regulations that ensured that any residential projects that triggered a deficiency in levels of service or worsened an existing deficiency provide a proportionate share contribution to the local school board prior to receiving a certificate of occupancy or its functional equivalent. The Miami-Dade County School Board and local jurisdictions in Miami-Dade County implement school concurrency through the Interlocal Agreement for Public School Facility Planning in Miami-Dade County (ILA), adopted in December 2007. While school concurrency has since been made optional by the State Legislature, projects in Miami-Dade County continue to be subject to school concurrency under the ILA.

Generally, the ILA requires sufficient capacity in public schools concurrent with new development. When sufficient capacity is not available to meet some or all of the impacts created by a new residential development, the ILA provides the developer, the School Board, and the applicable local jurisdiction to agree on a Proportionate Share Mitigation Option to fund a project within the development's concurrency service area (CSA) or an adjacent CSA. Options for satisfying school concurrency include donation of land, construction of a school, advancing a project within the School Board's 5-Year Plan, or the renovation or remodeling of a school. The School Board requires that any proportionate share mitigation create at least 1 classroom at the level in which there is a deficiency. Proportionate share costs are based on an amount per student station that ranges upwards of $21,000 for elementary schools, $23,000 for middle schools, and $30,000 for high schools.

Because the School Board requires a minimum project of one classroom, even projects that fail by less than the required minimum project may be faced with significant funding obligations. Several public schools in older neighborhoods east of Biscayne Bay, including in the City of Miami Beach, and in high-growth western suburbs, including in the City of Doral, have reached or are reaching capacity. Any new residential projects in a CSA that is reaching capacity may require mitigation prior to issuance of a development order.

If you are developing or are contemplating a development with residential uses or are expanding residential uses in an existing building within Miami-Dade County, you will need to satisfy school concurrency requirements. Development in many areas around Miami-Dade County may be impacted by failures in school concurrency. Please contact Akerman if you have any questions or concerns about whether your project may be impacted by school concurrency and alternative mitigation strategies.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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