Board of County Commissioners
Leon County, Florida

www.leoncountyfl.gov

Agenda Item
Executive Summary


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Title:
Second and Final Public Hearing for Consideration of an Ordinance Amending the Land Development Code Regarding the Eligibility Criteria for Family-Heir 2.1.9 Subdivision

Staff:
Parwez Alam, County Administrator
Vincent S. Long, Deputy County Administrator
David McDevitt, Growth and Environmental Management Director


Issue Briefing:

 

This agenda item requests the Board conduct the second and final public hearing amending the Land Development Code to modify the eligibility criteria to apply for family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision for the purpose of correcting improperly subdivided property (Attachment #1).  Eligibility would also be conferred on any zoning district outside the Urban Service Area (USA).  Currently, a property is only eligible for 2.1.9 subdivision if it falls within the following three zoning districts:  Rural (R), Urban Fringe (UF), and Lake Talquin Recreational/Urban Fringe (LTR/UF). 

 

The intent of the amendment is to resolve an omission in the previous drafting of the 2.1.9 subdivision regulations that failed to provide for the ability to re-assemble improperly subdivided property under a single ownership and thereafter, subdivide the property properly, pursuant to the procedures and standards appertaining to the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision process.  In addition, another intent of the amendment is to allow the family heir 2.1.9 subdivision process within all zoning districts located outside of the Urban Service Area.

 

Fiscal Impact:

 

This item has no fiscal impact to the County.

 

Staff Recommendation: 

Option #1:        Conduct the second and final Public Hearing and adopt the proposed Ordinance amending the Land Development Code regarding eligibility criteria for Family-Heir 2.1.9 Subdivisions. 

 


Report and Discussion

Background:

Recent amendments to the Land Development Code revised Section 10-7.202, Residential development pursuant to Comprehensive Plan Land Use Element Policy 2.1.9, to sunset the “non-family heir” 2.1.9 subdivision process (effective February, 2010) and to make other modifications to “family-heir” 2.1.9 subdivision process.  During the drafting of the amendments, the eligibility requirements for family-heir 2.1.9 were cast in such a manner as to reduce the ability to use the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision process to cure or resolve improperly subdivided properties.  Staff believes that this modification was not intended and further, that it is detrimental. 

 

In addition, the current eligibility requirements limiting the 2.1.9 process to parcels with a zoning designation of Rural (R), Urban Fringe (UF), and Lake Talquin Recreational/Urban Fringe (LTR/UF) are too onerous.  There are many instances where family members have held title to property for generations, yet are unable to use the 2.1.9 subdivision process even though their land is outside of the Urban Service Area, because they are in a different zoning district than the ones mentioned previously.  Therefore, staff is recommending that any property outside of the Urban Service Area (USA) be eligible for subdivision through the family heir 2.1.9 process, provided all of the other criteria found in the Land Development Code are met. 

 

The Board considered a related issue at its March 19, 2009 meeting, wherein the Lewis Family sought changes to the Comprehensive Plan to expand the ability to utilize the 2.1.9 subdivision process within the Woodville Rural Community Future Land Use Category.  It was decided that a change to the Land Development Code would be a more appropriate policy change to allow parties in such circumstances as the Lewis family to resolve their improperly subdivided lands.

 

The Planning Commission reviewed an agenda item surrounding these issues on April 7, 2009.  Although the proposed 2.1.9 code revisions were conceptually consistent with the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission directed staff to revise the proposal in easier-to-understand text.  The revised text was provided to the Planning Commission for its May 5, 2009 Public Hearing.  At that meeting, the Planning Commission determined the Ordinance to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. 

 

The Board conducted the first of two required Public Hearings on the proposed Ordinance at its May 12, 2009, meeting.  No speakers provided testimony at the Hearing.  The Board scheduled the second and final Public Hearing on the Ordinance for the June 9, 2009 meeting.

 

Analysis:

Department of Growth and Environmental Management (GEM) staff has used the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision process as a way to resolve some improper subdivisions of property.  It has been an effective tool for this purpose when the affected property was held by family members, reconstituted as a unified parcel, and thereafter, application made by a single individual who met the eligibility standards for the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision. 

Although many improper subdivisions cannot be resolved through this technique due to a variety of issues, such as the inability to qualify for 2.1.9 subdivision eligibility, lack of agreement among family members, transference of property outside of family, inability to create lots of sufficient size, or inadequate access, etc., the family heir 2.1.9 subdivision process remains a valuable tool that could be used in some instances.  Notably, staff has initiated attempts to resolve two long-standing improper subdivision issues using the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision process:  that of the Lewis Family, in the Woodville area, and that of the Rollins Family, near Lake Jackson. 

The problem preventing further use of the 2.1.9 subdivision regulations to cure improperly subdivided property lies in the recently-revised criteria for eligibility for family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision.  Section 10-7.202.2 establishes criteria for eligibility to subdivide property via family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision; part (b) of that subsection sets out the following criterion:

The parcel to be subdivided has existed in its present configuration since
February 1, 1990; or, the parcel was created, subsequent to February 1, 1990, through subdivision pursuant to the family heir provision of Policy 2.1.9 of the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan and conveyed to an originally intended heir, as defined herein, and the applicant is an originally intended heir or an heir through successive generations of that property owner.  Any subdivision or conveyance [italicized for emphasis] of the parcel after February 1, 1990, shall thereafter void the eligibility to subdivide the parcel under this section for use as a homestead by a family member, unless such subdivision or conveyance was undertaken pursuant to the family heir provision of Policy 2.1.9 of the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan.

This criterion voids eligibility when the property has been subdivided after 1990, or conveyed after 1990.  Staff does not believe that, concerning improper subdivisions, the property has been subdivided, as pursuant to the Land Development Code no subdivision is officially recognized.  The problem lies in the issue of conveyance, as most (but not all) improperly subdivided property has been conveyed to multiple persons (as opposed to being held by an individual).  So while the property can be reconstituted through the unity of title process (and to reiterate, the property has not been officially recognized as having been subdivided), the act of conveyance, as the regulations are presently written, forever voids the ability to utilize the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision process.

In response, staff proposes an Ordinance that would amend the Land Development Code to delete the conveyance criterion from the family-heir 2.1.9 subdivision eligibility criteria; thereby, the scope of eligibility to resolve improper subdivisions when all other eligibility criteria are met. 

Notice of the Public Hearing on the proposed Ordinance was timely advertised in the Tallahassee Democrat (Attachment #2).

 

Options:

1.  Conduct the second and final Public Hearing and adopt the Ordinance amending the Land Development Code regarding Eligibility Criteria for Family-Heir 2.1.9 Subdivisions.   

 

2.  Conduct the second and final Public Hearing and do not adopt the Ordinance amending the Land Development Code regarding Eligibility Criteria for Family-Heir 2.1.9 Subdivisions.

 

3.  Board Direction.


Recommendation:

Option #1.

 

Attachments:

  1. Proposed 2.1.9 Ordinance
  2. Public Notice