United States: New Legislation Gives Florida Local Governments Sole Authority To Review DRIs

Last Updated: April 12 2018
Article by Nancy G. Linnan and Aaron C. Dunlap

For over 40 years, Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) have been a staple of large-scale real estate development in Florida, necessitating state and regional review to approve even the smallest changes to the 700-plus still-active DRIs throughout the state. On April 6, Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 1151 into law as Chapter 2018-158, Laws of Florida, returning local control of large-scale development review to municipalities and counties.

These changes to the DRI process continue the evolution of large-scale development review and growth management in Florida from a time-intensive, multi-layered state and regional process to a more streamlined local government one. This shift began in 2011 with the creation of the Growth Management Act, and continued in 2015 when the approval process for new DRIs was given exclusively to local governments through the state-coordinated comprehensive plan amendment process. 

Now, DRIs will be treated like any other local development order, giving local governments the ability to change, amend, and even rescind DRIs through the same process they use for any other development within their borders. Removing the state and regional review and reporting components enables local governments to now process DRI amendments and rescissions more expeditiously. This lets developers quickly, efficiently, and more cost-effectively adapt their projects to meet local development demand by working exclusively with local governments on any necessary DRI amendments.

These statutory changes could necessitate amendments to local comprehensive plans or land development regulations. They will likely require a collaborative approach, working with local government staff to educate elected officials and the public on the new process in order to maximize the potential of the new DRI amendment legislation.

While a brief outline of the new DRI legislation is set forth below, Carlton Fields' Government and Consulting Practice Group is ready to answer any questions real estate developers or property owners may have on how this legislation affects their development and  how local governments may address their new responsibility. 

2018 DRI Bill CS/HB 1151
Chapter 2018-158, Laws of Florida


  • State and regional review of existing DRIs. 
  • No new Florida Quality Developments (FQDs) and DEO will not be involved in DO amendments to existing FQD if the developer notifies both RPC and DEO that it will seek local government approval of new local DO to supersede FQD DO. 
  • Criteria for aggregation. 
  • Criteria for substantial deviations in statutes and DEO rules and other changes under former §380.06(19) F.S., such as changes pursuant to e2 amendments. 
  • DRI challenges to Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission (FLWAC). FLWAC will continue to hear challenges to DRI abandonments and challenges to DOs under Areas of Critical State Concern (ACSC). 
  • DRI and FQD rules in Chapter 73C, FAC and Administration Commission rules related to DRI aggregation. 
  • DEO rules for proposed changes to a DRI. 
  • Requirement for a developer to submit DRI report to locals, RPC or DEO, and all affected agencies unless required to do so by the local government. In most cases, you will see local governments requiring a report only to themselves. 
  • As result of the above, HB1151 transfers responsibility for implementation and amendments to DRI DOs to local governments, which will then follow a local procedural process (similar to how e2 amendments were previously handled) and, with exceptions set out in the statute, be judged on consistency with the local government's land development code and comprehensive plan.


  • Standards and guidelines in §380.0651, F.S.
  • New DRI-sized projects, unless the proposed project is located in exempt area or subject to a partial exemption, must apply for state-coordinated review of a comprehensive plan, pursuant to §163.3184, F.S. If the proposed development already has all appropriate land uses in the comprehensive plan, state-coordinated review is not applicable. If portions of development were already approved, whether the proposed development meets a DRI threshold is analyzed against the additional change of development in the comprehensive plan amendment and whether this additional increment triggers DRI review, not the total project.
  • DRI exemptions still include:

    • Dense Urban Land Areas
    • Urban Service Areas
    • Sector Plans
    • development within a Rural Land Stewardship Area created under §163.3248, F.S establishment and relocation and expansion of military bases
    • proposed hospitals
    • electrical transmission lines or electrical power plants
    • proposed additions to existing sports facility complex meeting certain characteristics (look up) or conditions
    • certain expansion to port harbors, port transportation facilities and intermodal transportation facilities
    • the storage of any petroleum product or any expansion of an existing facility
    • renovation or redevelopment within the same land parcel which does not change land use or increase density or intensity of use
    • Rural Land Stewardship Areas
    • Military installation as defined in §163.3175, F.S.
  • Preserves existing DRI letters, development orders, agreements and vested rights such as:

    • existing binding letters
    • clearance letter on whether a proposed development is subject to DRI review
    • capital contribution front-ending agreements between local governments and developer as part of DRI DO to give credits for voluntary contributions in excess of its fair share
    • any previously granted extensions of time for DRI DOs (includes emergency declaration extensions if notified to local governments)
    • agreements previously entered into by a developer, RPC and a local government concerning a project that includes 2 or more DRIs
    • Approvals of an authorized developer for an area-wide DRI


  • Except for a few requirements set out in 4, below, local governments will handle amendments under local process and follow their land development code and comprehensive plan. Additionally, local governments now have specific authority to amend a binding letter of vested rights based on standards and procedures in the local land development code and comprehensive plan. 
  • If the local government rescinds a DRI DO under the existing rescission statute, the bill authorizes developer to record notice of rescission.


  • An amendment to a DRI DO by a local development order may NOT amend to an earlier date than the date currently agreed to by the local government to impose rezoning, unit density reduction or intensity reduction of the development. The dates do not change from what is in the existing DRI DO unless the developer seeks such an amendment. 
  • An amendment to a DRI DO by a local development order may NOT otherwise alter any credits for a development order exaction against impact fees, mobility fees, or exactions based upon the developer's contribution of land for a public facility. 
  • If a change to a DRI has the effect of reducing originally approved height, density, or intensity of development, and if the revised development would have been consistent with the comprehensive plan in effect when originally approved, the local government MAY approve the change.


  • Abandonment of a DRI. Abandonment will be effective when the local government files the abandonment notice with the county clerk. If requested by the owner, developer or local government, the DRI DO must be abandoned by the local government if all mitigation related to the amount of development which existed on the date of abandonment will be completed under an existing permit or authorization enforceable through an administrative or judicial remedy. 
  • The bill transfers the full and partial DRI exemptions found in §380.06, F.S. to §380.0651, F.S., which will contain statewide standards for determining when a proposed development is a DRI-sized development subject to the state-coordinated review process. 
  • Because of new provisions in the federal tax code (26 USC 118), HB 1151 defines "master development plan" or "master plan" to mean a planning document that integrates plans, orders, and other documents used to guide development, including authorized land uses, the amount of horizontal and vertical development, and public facilities such as local and regional water storage for water quality and water supply. This definition will alleviate tax implications because the federal tax code treats funds received by a corporation from a government entity as taxable income unless payments are part of a "master development plan" approved by the governmental entity before December 22, 2017. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions