Land Development Regulations Update 2015
The Land Development Regulations include the Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code, and Public Works Standards Manual.
The current Manatee County Land Development Code (LDC) was adopted on July 25, 1990. The Land Development Code is enacted pursuant to Section 163.3202 of the Florida Statutes and its purpose is to implement the Comprehensive Plan of the County by establishing regulations, procedures, and standards for review and approval of all development and use of land in the unincorporated portions of the County.
Since 1990, the LDC has only been updated incrementally, never reviewed and updated holistically. The current LDC is a very large (900+ pages) and cumbersome to use and implement. It has not kept up with modern development and housing trends. Many subjects and key regulatory information are not logically organized.
Given the size and complex nature of the document, it was decided that a phased approach to any changes would make the rewrite easier to understand. This first phase of the LDC rewrite process is considered a major “housecleaning,” primarily targeted at reorganizing and better clarifying the language and regulations in the LDC.
This first phase also includes taking language out of the LDC that is not specifically zoning or land use related. For example, language that is specific engineering standards is moving to the appropriate Public Work Standards Manual (i.e., Highway and Traffic Standards Manual, Utility Standards Manual, and Stormwater Management Design Manual).
Proposed to be removed from the LDC are requirements pertaining to standards and procedures for maintenance of property and structures within the unincorporated area of the County. These requirements are proposed to be put into a Property Maintenance section of the County’s Code of Ordinances, similar to other jurisdictions. A Work Session with the Board of County Commission is scheduled for March 3, 2015 in Board Chambers of the Manatee County Administration Building to discuss the proposed Property Maintenance Code. Any questions or comments pertaining to the Property Maintenance Code should be directed to Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org or at (941) 748-2071, ext. 6854.
The second phase or future phases of the LDC update will be implementation of recommendations from the How Will We Grow? project. This will include the creation of a more urban code for the older and more established areas of Southwest County which has been called for by the Comprehensive Plan for many years. It will also include further stream-lining of the development review process, and updating the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
LDC Phase I Rewrite
To help assist staff with the LDC update, Manatee County retained the Littlejohn Engineering Associates in March 2011. Littlejohn staff are experienced experts in Land Development Code creation, updates and rewrites.
In March 2014, Littlejohn and County Staff conducted a multi-day work-session with the Board of County Commission and the Planning Commission to discuss the proposed changes to the LDC. Littlejohn, County Staff, and Board members reviewed the proposed edits for Phase I and identified revisions that were better suited to be dealt with in Phase II or future phases of the LDC rewrite. As already stated, Phase I is mainly a clean-up of the LDC and the more substantive changes will occur with later phases.
LDC Phase I Rewrite – Types of Changes
Phase I update consists of major “housecleaning” items, including:
1. Reorganization (moved, consolidated, deleted repetitive language).
2. Deleted some titles and added others for consistency purposes.
3. Updated LDC cross-references. Deleted cross-references where deemed unnecessary. Generalized where possible to avoid ending up with wrong cross-references in the future (e.g. as required in Chapter 5, instead of as required in Section 504.3.2).
4. Updated cross-references to Florida Statutes, Florida Administrative Code, and other documents.
5. References to departments and staff changed to “Department Director”, which is defined as County Administrator designee.
6. Made modifications to reflect current practice.
Staff anticipates May BOCC hearings for the LDC Phase I updates, but once final, dates will be posted and advertised. Copies of the proposed changes to the LDC will be posted shortly.