After several years of debating the merits of the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) program, the committee adopted a new statement that calls for improving the intergovernmental coordination process for all land development proposals – both DRI and sub-DRI projects.  In effect, the committee’s policy reflects the elimination of the DRI program but calls for, in its place, strengthening the requirement that extra-jurisdictional impacts be mitigated by the approving local government.  The committee also approved a policy that calls for amending the Bert Harris Act to include a narrow exemption to protect counties that adopt FEMA flood maps in order to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.  A Florida county has recently been subject to several Bert Harris Act claims after it adopted new flood maps that covered properties that were previously not in a flood zone. 

In the Environmental arena, the committee discussed the implementation of Amendment 1, and adopted policies supporting a balanced distribution of funds for land acquisition and water projects irrespective of project locations or their urban or coastal nature.  The committee also supported land acquisitions of less than fee simple interest and local government involvement in priority assessments and impacts. It also supported continued funding of the Water Management Lands Trust fund and annual reserve for payments in lieu of taxes (PILT), with increases in property value reflected in those payments.   The committee adopted new policies regarding beach renourishment, supporting an increase in statutory funding levels and the revision of project ranking criteria.   In addition, new policy statements were adopted relating to the land application of septage waste (recognizing the challenges and supporting the funding of alternative disposal methods); utility certification (supporting PSC consideration of local comprehensive plans and demonstrations of need); and community resiliency (supporting the funding of prevention and recovery planning and infrastructure projects). 

The committee ultimately selected the following items as 2015 priorities:

* Amendment 1 Implementation

* Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

* Beach Renourishment

For more information on any GMAE policy statements or related issues, please contact Eric Poole or Stephen James