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Florida Live Local Act 2024 (SB328) Signed Into Law: Executive Summary and Application Examples

Anthony De Yurre

Florida Governor DeSantis just signed into law Senate Bill 328 (“SB328”), the enhancement to last year’s Live Local Act (“LLA” or “SB102”). The amendments made to the Live Local Act by SB328 are significant in both benefits and qualifications. The new law paves the path for the submittal of new Live Local Act projects that were merely pending the signing of SB328 due to the important enhancements it provides to last year’s SB102. These enhancements will no doubt stimulate applications for workforce housing units in the coming weeks.  Another important recent development was recent publishing by Florida Housing Finance Corporation of its 2024 rent limits which reflect a 10% increase in 120% rents in every major MSA in Florida.   

After processing a number of zoning and tax exemption applications in various cities and counties, we find that each Live Local Act project possesses unique wrinkles of interpretation depending on the local municipality, the property appraiser and even the specific property.  Notwithstanding, some common points can be drawn from applications.  Included herein is an executive summary of the principal changes made by SB328 and their practical implications.

Zoning 2024 Live Local Act Benefits and Qualifications Graph

Tax 2024 Live Local Act Benefits and Qualifications Graph

As noted below, Florida Housing Finance Corporation recently published of its 2024 rent limits which reflect a 10% increase in 120% rents in every major MSA in Florida.   

2024 120% AMI Rent Limits Graph

Beyond the executive summary, below is a more detailed note on each of the new changes to the Live Local Act by SB328 and some examples of practical application for each of the changes.

Maximum Floor Area Ratio – In addition to SB102 permitting the maximum number of units in the municipality and the maximum height within 1-mile in the municipality, SB328 now also allows for a new maximum floor area ratio (“FAR”).  SB328 allows 150% of the “highest currently allowed floor area ratio” in the municipality.  

Practical Application: Live Local Act projects can now realize the potential of the max bonus units and max bonus height granted by last year’s SB102.

Missing Middle Tax Exemption Expanded – Value of the Missing Middle Tax Exemption expanded to include the proportionate share of the residential common areas and the land.  Missing Middle Property Tax Exemption now also applies to newly constructed projects in the Florida Keys with 11 or more qualifying units (as opposed to 71 qualifying units required anywhere else in Florida).

Practical Application: Effectively doubles ad valorem taxes exempted by SB102.

Single-Family Neighborhood Height Protections – Projects adjacent to, on at least two sides, a single-family zoned residential parcel with at least 25 contiguous single-family homes, restrict project height to either 150% of the tallest adjacent building, the tallest height on the property, or 3 stories.  Note, “adjacent to” is defined as sharing more than one point of a property line, but does not include properties separated by a public road.  

Practical Application: prohibits taller projects from encroaching on single family neighborhoods, but otherwise still permits bonus height from within 1-mile.

Development Bonuses Must be Administratively Approved – Live Local Act does not preclude a project from receiving local development bonuses for density, height or FAR.  Further, Live Local Act projects qualifying for such bonuses “must be approved administratively without further action”.  

Practical Application: Live Local Act projects now qualify administratively for development bonuses irrespective of prior public hearing requirements.

Transit Oriented Parking Reductions – Parking requirements are eliminated for mixed-use residential Live Local Act projects within a Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”) areas.  Parking requirements are also reduced by 20% for Live Local Act project within 1/2 mile of a major transportation hub.  “Major transportation hub” means “any transit station, whether bus, train or light rail, which is served by public transit with a mix of other transportation options.”  

Practical Application: Flexible parking requirements will promote critical infill TOD projects to connect communities through public transit instead of creating additional vehicular traffic.

For Sale Market Rate Units Permitted
– The word “rental” was removed from the required types of allowable multifamily developments to permit for sale market rate units.  Workforce units must still be rental at max 120% AMI.  

Practical Application: Creates opportunities for more mixed income, mixed-use and condo projects.

LLA Zoning Benefits Not Allowed in Airport Flight Paths or Noise Contours – Live Local Act zoning benefits are not permitted (a) in airport flight paths defined as areas extending 1/4 mile wide from each lateral side of the runway and extending 10,000 feet long from the end of the runway; (b) in airport noise zones; or, (c) for projects that exceed airport maximum height restrictions.  Note, this does not prohibit the use of Missing Middle Tax Exemption benefits of the Live Local Act for qualifying projects.  

Practical Application: Will prohibit zoning benefits in some of the most critical areas for workforce housing throughout Florida, and in particular, South Florida.

Conformity and Grandfathering – Provides Live Local Act projects must be treated as conforming uses even after the expiration of the affordability period (30 years), and provides the methodology to cure affordability violations.  

Practical Application: Provides comfort to lenders regarding long-term conformity with local land development regulations.  

Shimberg Study Tax Exemption “Opt-Out”
– The 2024 Florida Legislative Session’s tax package House Bill 7073 (HB7073), also signed into law this month, now permits a “taxing authority” to opt-out of the Middle Market Tax Exemption by a 2/3 vote of the governing body, if the most recently published Shimberg Center for Housing Studies Annual Report shows a surplus of affordable and available units for the category entitled “0-120 percent AMI”.

Practical Application: Early review and interpretation by the Florida Housing Coalition found that 50 of Florida’s 67 counties can opt-out based on the most recent Shimberg Study, including metropolitan statistical areas that include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando and Jacksonville. Notwithstanding, the Shimberg Study also shows a significant deficiency for all South Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe. We have discussed the ramifications of HB7073 on the Live Local Act Tax Exemption with several legislators and they have indicated that clarification is likely to be sought in the coming legislative session. 

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