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Local Land Use Code Changes

It is time to be vigiliant and watch your county government for land use code changes.  Pasco County Florida has made a change to the land use code for wetland setbacks on what they define as significant wetlands (Category 1).  Currently the wetland setback is 25 feet which is also a state criteria for wetland setbacks.  Until the end of 2011 a variance of this setback could be granted.  Next year only minor encroachments will be allowed, e.g. stormwater outfall structures.  The important take home message here is to review any proposed changes in your county.  It is not unusual that we see more strict rules or code changes during a recession.  This is not the time for any county to make it more difficult to fit a project on a difficult piece of property.  It does not make sense to pass a law or rule that does not allow for some variance/flexibility or way to mitigate the impacts.  Wetlands are not uniform and properties were not parceled years ago to include wetland setbacks.

Perhaps make it a monthly task to check the agenda in the planning and growth management departments for rule changes and let your local government know what you think.  One size does not fit all.