In a recent decision (Imhoff v. Walton County) Florida, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal upheld critical requirements of Florida’s Community Planning Act! This decision allows local residents to hold their local governments accountable for issuing development orders inconsistent with its entire comprehensive plan under Florida Statute §163.3215, and is a massive step in protecting proper growth management practices in Florida. This decision is now in conflict with a 2017, 2nd District Court of Appeals decision limiting the scope of a consistency challenge analysis under Florida Statute §163.3215 to only comprehensive plan components concerning land use, density, or intensity of use.  Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of Imhoff.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals also held that a local “watchdog group” Plaintiff, a non-profit corporation, had standing as an adverse party under §163.3215 because they bring attention to the local public regarding growth management issues. The Court held that because its activities showed an elevated degree of interest in the community than an average member of the public, it has standing to challenge consistency.

This was an amazing decision that will allow for greater citizen involvement and enforcement of land-use challenges! We are proud of our attorneys, Robert N. Hartsell and Heidi Mehaffey for their work on an Amicus Brief for our colleagues at 1000 Friends of Florida. A huge congratulations to all those involved. This decision is a significant step in maintaining appropriate growth patterns in Florida as well as protecting citizens’ rights to enforce growth management in our beautiful state.

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