Private Property Rights (Bert Harris Act)

Prioritize Community Needs - Do Not Create a Backdoor for Special Interests in the Bert Harris Act

BERT HARRISThe Florida League of Cities calls on the Florida Legislature to oppose substantive changes to the Bert J. Harris Jr. Property Rights Protection Act. Access Issue Brief

Key Points

  • Protect residents, not special interests. Special interest groups are attempting to manipulate the Bert J. Harris Jr. Property Rights Protection Act to bring about universal policy change for personal gain, leaving taxpayers to pay the bill. The Legislature should prioritize what communities need, not what special interests want.
  • The process is deliberate by design. Bert Harris claims purposefully follow a well-detailed process to ensure each claim meets the standards set forth in Florida law and does not adversely affect the property rights of other property owners. A variance is designed to be an exception to the rule with just cause, not become the rule itself.
  • Universal application of a variance has unintended consequences. If you apply a variance to all similarly situated properties, you run the risk of increased strain on supporting infrastructure, exacerbating environmental concerns and creating a knock-on effect on adjacent properties.
  • Changes to current law will hinder development. The Bert Harris Act currently provides a timeline for potential claims. This timeline allows cities to work with affected parties before commencing with a growth or redevelopment project contained in a community’s comprehensive plan. Changes to that timeline could dramatically impact the ability of a community to forge ahead with smart growth.
Click the image to the right to download the Talking Points Handout on this issue. 

Contact David Cruz with questions or for more information.