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Building Design Measure Supported In Florida House

The Florida House of Representatives chamber
The Florida House of Representatives chamber

With the sponsor saying the proposal would help hold down housing costs, a House panel Wednesday approved a bill that would reduce the authority of local governments to place design restrictions on new homes. The House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee voted 12-6 along party lines to approve the bill (HB 55), sponsored by Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Palm City.

The bill would prevent local governments from placing restrictions on a variety of design issues on new single-family and two-family residences in what Overdorf described as “open lots.” As examples, it would prevent local restrictions on building colors, locations of garages and locations of windows and doors, according to a House staff analysis.

Overdorf said it would not affect homes built in areas such as historic districts, community redevelopment areas and planned unit developments. He said the bill is designed to help address affordable-housing issues, as design requirements increase costs.

But Jane West, policy and planning director for the group 1000 Friends of Florida, said the bill would reduce home-rule powers of local governments.

“This bill takes that away at a micro level,” West said.

The bill would be ready to go to the full House if it passes the House Commerce Committee. Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, has filed a similar bill (SB 284) in the Senate.