Government Affairs Updates
February 21, 2018
Several bills being discussed in the Florida Legislature such as HB 17-Community Redevelopment Agencies, HB 521-Tree Trimming, and HB 773-Vacation Rentals, may impact quality of life and business operations in our city. Municipal and county governments are more responsive than state government to the varying needs of local communities. Home rule gives each community the ability to decide through their local elected officials what is important for their community, which is one of the main reasons cities exist. Without home rule, the Legislature can apply one-size-fits-all statewide rules that may or may not be in our best interest.
HB 773/SB1400 Vacation Rentals (Representative La Rosa/Senator Steube): The Short Term Rentals bill’s intent is to protect private property rights of vacation rental owners who have been targeted by a growing number of local regulations. This bill would prohibit cities from establishing ordinances specific to short-term vacation rentals such as VRBO and Airbnb. Residents and business owners may face inadequate parking, increased noise, and strangers in neighborhoods with the passage of this bill. This bill would preempt the city’s ability to regulate these type of short-term rentals.
HB 521/ SB 574 Tree, Timber, and Vegetation Trimming and Removal (Representative Edwards-Walpole/Senator Steube): The Tree Trimming bill provides that when a governmental entity has a duty to maintain any right-of-way, no municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state may prohibit, restrict, condition, or require a permit, fee, or mitigation for the trimming or removal of trees or vegetation to protect the public. The bill would impair the city’s ability to regulate trees near power lines. It would also shift the responsibility for electric utility storm repair costs, even those outside our electric service area, from other electric providers to the city to pay.
HB 17/SB 432 Community Redevelopment Agencies (Representative Raburn/Senator Lee): This bill provides that the creation of new Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) after October 1, 2018 may only originate through special act by the Legislature. The bill phases out a CRA if it is not reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body that created the CRA. The Winter Park CRA was created in the mid 1990’s and has been the catalyst for the transformation of the Hannibal Square commercial area, Park Avenue streetscape, Orange Avenue streetscape, Morse Boulevard streetscape, construction of the Winter Park Community Center, numerous affordable housing projects, after school programs, housing rehab programs, and various other community improvements. These projects and programs would not have been feasible without the CRA.
Contact information for Winter Park's local state Senator and Representatives:
Senator Linda Stewart, District 13
email@example.com | 407-893-2422
Representative Mike Miller, District 47
firstname.lastname@example.org | 407-245-0588
Representative Robert “Bob” Cortes, District 30
email@example.com | 407-262-7420
Here is where you can find a listing of all Florida’s Senators and Representatives:
Florida Senate: flsenate.gov/Senators/
Florida House of Representatives: flhouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx