2012 Florida Statutes
TITLE XXVI — PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Chapter 338 — LIMITED ACCESS AND TOLL FACILITIES
338.250 — Central Florida Beltway Mitigation.
338.250 Central Florida Beltway Mitigation.—
(1) The Central Florida Beltway, consisting of the Western Beltway, the Eastern Beltway in Seminole County, the Southern Connector, the Turnpike/Southern Connector Interchange, and the Southern Connector Extension, is of regional transportation benefit. It is the intent of the Legislature that any adverse environmental effects of the beltway, or portions thereof, be mitigated through the acquisition of lands and through environmental restoration or creation of projects of corresponding regional environmental benefit. The Legislature finds that the creation and enhancement of wetlands and acquisition of such lands is reasonably necessary for and constitutes appropriate mitigation for securing applicable environmental permits.
(2) Environmental mitigation required as a result of construction of the beltway, or portions thereof, shall be satisfied in the following manner:
(a) For those projects which the Department of Transportation is authorized to construct, funds for environmental mitigation shall be deposited in the Central Florida Beltway Trust Fund created within the department at the time bonds for the specific project are sold. If a road building authority other than the department is authorized to construct the project, funds for environmental mitigation shall be deposited in a mitigation fund account established in the construction fund for the bond issues. Said account shall be established at the time bond proceeds are deposited into the construction fund for the specific project. These funds shall be provided from bond proceeds, and the use of such funds from bond proceeds for mitigation shall be deemed a public purpose. The amount to be provided for mitigation for the Eastern Beltway in Seminole County shall be up to $4 million, the amount to be provided for mitigation for the Western Beltway shall be up to $30.5 million, the amount to be provided for mitigation for the Southern Connector shall be up to $14.28 million, the amount to be provided for mitigation for the Turnpike/Southern Connector Interchange shall be up to $1.46 million, and the amount to be provided for mitigation for the Southern Connector Extension shall be in proportion to the amount provided for the Southern Connector based upon the amount of wetlands displaced. To the extent allowed by law, the interest on said funds as earned, after deposit into the Central Florida Beltway Trust Fund, or in a mitigation fund account shall accrue and be paid to the agency responsible for the construction of the appropriate project. Where feasible, mitigation funds shall be used in coordination with funds from the Conservation and Recreation Lands Trust Fund, Save Our Rivers Land Acquisition Program, or from other appropriate sources.
(b) The appropriate road building authority shall prepare and submit to the St. Johns River Water Management District an inventory of wetland resources to be impacted by its plan of construction for the Western Beltway, the Southern Connector, the Turnpike/Southern Connector Interchange, or the Southern Connector Extension. The appropriate road building authority shall prepare and submit to the South Florida Water Management District an inventory of wetland resources within and near the preliminary right-of-way limits that could be impacted by its plan of construction for the Western Beltway. A copy of each plan shall also be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection. Said inventory shall list the acreage type and location of the wetlands to be potentially impacted as well as an assessment of the functions presently served by wetlands to potentially be impacted within and near the preliminary right-of-way limits of the beltway project. In the design of the project, wetland impacts which are reasonably avoidable should be avoided.
(c) Immediately upon receipt of the wetland inventory by the St. Johns River Water Management District and the South Florida Water Management District, as appropriate, in consultation with the Central Florida Beltway Project Environmental Advisory Group, shall develop a conceptual plan for the mitigation of such wetland impacts as are shown in the wetland inventory submitted in accordance with paragraph (b) above. Separate mitigation plans, identifying a variety of appropriate mitigation options shall be prepared for each of the segments of the beltway project identified in subsection (1) above. The St. Johns River Water Management District will prepare a plan for that portion of the mitigation activities which will occur within its boundaries, as shown in paragraph (d) below, and the South Florida Water Management District will prepare the plan for that portion of the mitigation which will occur within its boundaries. The conceptual plan shall identify and propose for acquisition for purposes of preservation, restoration or enhancement lands located in those areas identified in paragraph (d) below and shall be consistent with the criteria outlined therein. Said plan shall identify as many alternative mitigation sites and projects as are practicable, together with a reasonable estimate of the cost of each alternative. The affected district shall give strong consideration to the county in which wetland impacts occur in identifying mitigation locations. The conceptual plan must be completed and approved by the governing board of the appropriate water management district within 90 days of receipt of the wetland inventory required by paragraph (b) above by the water management district. Preference shall be given in the selection of mitigation sites to locations where other entities contribute funding toward acquisition. The water management districts shall be reimbursed for the actual cost of preparation of the mitigation plans from the mitigation funds derived from the sale of bonds only when and if the funds are transferred to the water management district in accordance with this section.
(d) With regard to the Western Beltway, the Southern Connector, the Turnpike/Southern Connector Interchange, and the Southern Connector Extension, where feasible, the mitigation plan shall propose for acquisition lands located within the Wekiva River hydrologic basin, the Lake Apopka hydrologic basin, and the Econlockhatchee River hydrologic basin, and only to the extent provided in paragraph (i), the Upper Kissimmee chain-of-lakes hydrologic basin, Shingle Creek, Boggy Creek, or Reedy Creek. The lands identified for acquisition shall be or have the potential to be of regional environmental importance, taking account of their proximity to water bodies and other publicly held lands, the extent and diversity of wildlife on the property, recreational benefits available on the property as well as environmental enhancement, recreation, and wetland creation potential.
(e) Immediately upon approval of the conceptual mitigation plan by the appropriate water management district governing board, the plan shall be sent to the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection for review. Within 30 days of receipt of the plan, the department shall take final action either approving the conceptual plan or referring the plan back to the appropriate water management district with directions as to what portions of the plan are unacceptable and how they may be corrected. Approval of the conceptual mitigation plan shall create a presumption in favor of approval of any wetland mitigation proposed in any permit applications submitted to the department pursuant to paragraph (g) below, provided the wetland impacts proposed are not inconsistent with those reflected in the wetlands inventory submitted in accordance with paragraph (b) above and provided impacts to waters of the state which are reasonably avoidable have been avoided in the design of the project. If the mitigation plan is referred back to a water management district by the department, the water management district shall modify those portions deemed unacceptable by the department and resubmit the plan to the secretary within 30 days of referral. The department shall then have 30 days to take action on the modified mitigation plan.
(f) Upon approval of the conceptual mitigation plans submitted by the water management districts, the Department of Environmental Protection shall forward such information and comments to any appropriate federal agencies which also require permitting or approval of wetland mitigation, as is necessary for the appropriate road building authority to obtain such permits or approvals. The department shall seek to obtain formal concurrence of the approved mitigation plan from the federal agencies.
(g) The appropriate road building authority shall make its permit application to the Department of Environmental Protection which shall be solely responsible for review and final action on such application required by chapter 373 or chapter 403. No local environmental permits shall be required for construction of the project. Copies of any permit applications filed by an expressway authority shall be provided by that expressway authority to any county government where construction shall take place. Such affected county government shall have 30 days from the date of its receipt of said permit application to make written comments for same to the department. In reviewing any permit applications submitted pursuant to chapter 373, the department shall utilize the rule criteria adopted by the water management district in which the construction is proposed. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (d), (e), and (i), should any federal permitting authority require modification of a mitigation plan approved by the department in order to gain approval of the mitigation plan by said federal authority, or as the result of phased construction of the beltway project sufficient funds are not available at the time of permitting for the appropriate water management district to carry out the required mitigation, the department shall have the authority to make appropriate modifications, insofar as the total funding amount provided in this legislation would permit, to allow said mitigation funds to be applied within any of the hydrologic basins described in paragraphs (d) and (i) herein.
(h) Should the Department of Environmental Protection or any federal agency require modification to the beltway project plans, the cost of implementing those modifications shall not be funded from the moneys provided for wetland mitigation. However, to the extent the required modifications decrease dredge and fill activities, the moneys herein required to be provided for wetland mitigation shall be reduced in the same proportion as the acreage of impacted wetlands are reduced in an amount to be determined by the department. No water management district shall be required to expend funds for mitigation in excess of those provided in paragraph (a).
(i) Mitigation funds derived from the Western Beltway in the amount of $7 million and mitigation funds derived from the Southern Connector in the amount of $3 million shall be used to supplement the acquisition of land within the Upper Kissimmee chain-of-lakes hydrologic basin, Shingle Creek, Boggy Creek, or Reedy Creek. The South Florida Water Management District shall consult with the Central Florida Beltway Environmental Advisory Group in selecting those lands to be acquired under this paragraph.
(j) A decision by the Seminole County Expressway Authority to enter into the Central Florida Beltway Mitigation program established in this section shall be at the sole discretion of the Seminole County Expressway Authority. If the authority elects this participation, the selection of mitigation lands shall be made pursuant to paragraph (c), and contracts to purchase or the filing of declarations of taking pursuant to chapter 73 or chapter 74 shall take place within 15 months after the effective date of project authorization. The St. Johns River Water Management District, in consultation with the Seminole County Expressway Authority and affected water management districts, shall select lands within the Lake Jessup/St. Johns River or Econlockhatchee River hydrologic basins. The lands selected shall be of regional environmental importance based upon criteria which include proximity to water bodies and other publicly held lands, wildlife and endangered species value, recreational benefits, and the potential for wetlands creation and enhancement.
(k) The affected water management district shall serve as acquisition agent in acquiring lands necessary to implement the mitigation plan once it is approved. The affected water management district may contract with, or otherwise enter into agreements with, the agency responsible for the right-of-way acquisition of the beltway for the provision of appraisals of mitigation projects. Such appraisals may be made by the agency responsible for the right-of-way acquisition of the beltway either in conjunction with, or separate from, appraisals of property necessary for right-of-way acquisition. Title to lands which are acquired by a water management district as mitigation lands shall be held by the affected water management district and may be transferred, if appropriate for management purposes, to any other public or governmental agency.
(l) Management plans for mitigation lands shall be conditions of the permit and shall be prepared and implemented by the agency holding title to the lands in consultation with the Environmental Advisory Group to the Central Florida Beltway Project. The management plan shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection for final approval.
(m) Approval of the mitigation plan by the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management district and approval and issuance of any necessary permits by the Department of Environmental Protection and by the United States Corps of Engineers must occur prior to the commencement of the construction of the project. Upon the issuance of the permits, the trustee of the Central Florida Beltway Trust Fund or the applicable road building authority shall transfer to the appropriate water management district the moneys provided for in paragraph (a) above in accordance with the schedule of payments mutually adopted by both parties. The appropriate water management district shall be responsible for the implementation of the mitigation plan. All bond proceeds disbursed to the water management district shall be invested and disbursed by said district in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws and in accordance with the terms of the trust indenture or bond resolutions for the bond issue from which such proceeds were obtained.
(n) The St. Johns River Water Management District and the South Florida Water Management District shall have full authority to acquire those lands and implement those projects identified in the mitigation plan prepared by the appropriate water management district. This authority shall be in addition to that conferred under s. 373.139.
(o) All funds deposited in the Central Florida Beltway Trust Fund or in a mitigation fund account shall be disbursed and invested in accordance with applicable state and federal law and in accordance with the terms of the trust indenture or bond resolutions for the bond issue from which such proceeds were obtained.
(p) In the event that the applicable water management district and the Department of Environmental Protection fail to timely adopt the conceptual mitigation plans as herein contemplated, or in the event that such plans are not approved by the appropriate federal agencies, a road building authority on any of the Central Florida Beltway projects as herein defined may then make application for necessary permits to the appropriate agencies which may be accompanied by conventional mitigation plans, and proceed as if this act did not exist.
(q) Nothing in this act shall, in any way, prevent a road building authority from electing not to build a project of the Central Florida Beltway and thereby using the bond proceeds in accordance with the applicable trust indenture or bond resolutions. In such event, if moneys have been deposited in the Central Florida Beltway Trust Fund, the trustee shall forthwith disburse the moneys together with all accrued interest to the appropriate road building authority for use in accordance with the trust indenture or bond resolutions.
History.—s. 19, ch. 90-136; s. 1, ch. 90-227; s. 150, ch. 92-152; s. 169, ch. 94-356.
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