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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XIII
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Chapter 189
UNIFORM SPECIAL DISTRICT ACCOUNTABILITY ACT
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F.S. 189.041
189.041 Elections; special requirements and procedures for districts with governing bodies elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section:
(a) “Qualified elector” means any person at least 18 years of age who is a citizen of the United States, a permanent resident of Florida, and a freeholder or freeholder’s spouse and resident of the district who registers with the supervisor of elections of a county within which the district lands are located when the registration books are open.
(b) “Urban area” means a contiguous developed and inhabited urban area within a district with a minimum average resident population density of at least 1.5 persons per acre as defined by the latest official census, special census, or population estimate or a minimum density of one single-family home per 2.5 acres with access to improved roads or a minimum density of one single-family home per 5 acres within a recorded plat subdivision. Urban areas shall be designated by the governing body of the district with the assistance of all local general-purpose governments having jurisdiction over the area within the district.
(c) “Governing body member” means any duly elected member of the governing body of a special district elected pursuant to this section, provided that a member elected by popular vote shall be a qualified district elector and a member elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall meet the requirements of s. 298.11 for election to the governing body.
(d) “Contiguous developed urban area” means any reasonably compact urban area located entirely within a special district. The separation of urban areas by a publicly owned park, right-of-way, highway, road, railroad, canal, utility, body of water, watercourse, or other minor geographical division of a similar nature shall not prevent such areas from being defined as urban areas.
(2) POPULAR ELECTIONS; REFERENDUM; DESIGNATION OF URBAN AREAS.
(a) Referendum.
1. A referendum shall be called by the governing body of a special district where the governing body is elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis on the question of whether certain members of a district governing body should be elected by qualified electors, provided each of the following conditions has been satisfied at least 60 days before the general or special election at which the referendum is to be held:
a. The district shall have a total population, according to the latest official state census, a special census, or a population estimate, of at least 500 qualified electors.
b. A petition signed by 10 percent of the qualified electors of the district shall have been filed with the governing body of the district. The petition shall be submitted to the supervisor of elections of the county or counties in which the lands are located. The supervisor shall, within 30 days after the receipt of the petitions, certify to the governing body the number of signatures of qualified electors contained on the petition.
2. Upon verification by the supervisor or supervisors of elections of the county or counties within which district lands are located that 10 percent of the qualified electors of the district have petitioned the governing body, a referendum election shall be called by the governing body at the next regularly scheduled election of governing body members occurring at least 30 days after verification of the petition or within 6 months of verification, whichever is earlier.
3. If the qualified electors approve the election procedure described in this subsection, the governing body of the district shall be increased to five members and elections shall be held pursuant to the criteria described in this subsection beginning with the next regularly scheduled election of governing body members or at a special election called within 6 months following the referendum and final unappealed approval of district urban area maps as provided in paragraph (b), whichever is earlier.
4. If the qualified electors of the district disapprove the election procedure described in this subsection, elections of the members of the governing body shall continue as described by s. 298.12 or the enabling legislation for the district. No further referendum on the question shall be held for a minimum period of 2 years following the referendum.
(b) Designation of urban areas.
1. Within 30 days after approval of the election process described in this subsection by qualified electors of the district, the governing body shall direct the district staff to prepare and present maps of the district describing the extent and location of all urban areas within the district. Such determination shall be based upon the criteria contained within paragraph (1)(b).
2. Within 60 days after approval of the election process described in this subsection by qualified electors of the district, the maps describing urban areas within the district shall be presented to the governing body.
3. Any district landowner or elector may contest the accuracy of the urban area maps prepared by the district staff within 30 days after submission to the governing body. Upon notice of objection to the maps, the governing body shall request the county engineer to prepare and present maps of the district describing the extent and location of all urban areas within the district. Such determination shall be based upon the criteria contained within paragraph (1)(b). Within 30 days after the governing body request, the county engineer shall present the maps to the governing body.
4. Upon presentation of the maps by the county engineer, the governing body shall compare the maps submitted by both the district staff and the county engineer and make a determination as to which set of maps to adopt. Within 60 days after presentation of all such maps, the governing body may amend and shall adopt the official maps at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing body.
5. Any district landowner or qualified elector may contest the accuracy of the urban area maps adopted by the governing body within 30 days after adoption by petition to the circuit court with jurisdiction over the district. Accuracy shall be determined pursuant to paragraph (1)(b). Any petitions so filed shall be heard expeditiously, and the maps shall either be approved or approved with necessary amendments to render the maps accurate and shall be certified to the governing body.
6. Upon adoption by the governing body or certification by the court, the district urban area maps shall serve as the official maps for determination of the extent of urban area within the district and the number of governing body members to be elected by qualified electors and by the one-acre/one-vote principle at the next regularly scheduled election of governing body members.
7. Upon a determination of the percentage of urban area within the district as compared with total area within the district, the governing body shall order elections in accordance with the percentages pursuant to paragraph (3)(a). The landowners’ meeting date shall be designated by the governing body.
8. The maps shall be updated and readopted every 5 years or sooner in the discretion of the governing body.
(3) GOVERNING BODY.
(a) Composition.
1. Members of the governing body of the district shall be elected in accordance with the following determinations of urban area:
a. If urban areas constitute 25 percent or less of the district, one governing body member shall be elected by the qualified electors and four governing body members shall be elected in accordance with the one-acre/one-vote principle contained within s. 298.11 or the district-enabling legislation.
b. If urban areas constitute 26 percent to 50 percent of the district, two governing body members shall be elected by the qualified electors and three governing body members shall be elected in accordance with the one-acre/one-vote principle contained within s. 298.11 or the district-enabling legislation.
c. If urban areas constitute 51 percent to 70 percent of the district, three governing body members shall be elected by the qualified electors and two governing body members shall be elected in accordance with the one-acre/one-vote principle contained within s. 298.11 or the district-enabling legislation.
d. If urban areas constitute 71 percent to 90 percent of the district, four governing body members shall be elected by the qualified electors and one governing body member shall be elected in accordance with the one-acre/one-vote principle contained within s. 298.11 or the district-enabling legislation.
e. If urban areas constitute 91 percent or more of the district, all governing body members shall be elected by the qualified electors.
2. All governing body members elected by qualified electors shall be elected at large.
(b) Term of office.All governing body members elected by qualified electors shall have a term of 4 years except for governing body members elected at the first election and the first landowners’ meeting following the referendum prescribed in paragraph (2)(a). Governing body members elected at the first election and the first landowners’ meeting following the referendum shall serve as follows:
1. If one governing body member is elected by the qualified electors and four are elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis, the governing body member elected by the qualified electors shall be elected for a period of 4 years. Governing body members elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall be elected for periods of 1, 2, 3, and 4 years, respectively, as prescribed by ss. 298.11 and 298.12.
2. If two governing body members are elected by the qualified electors and three are elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis, the governing body members elected by the electors shall be elected for a period of 4 years. Governing body members elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall be elected for periods of 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively, as prescribed by ss. 298.11 and 298.12.
3. If three governing body members are elected by the qualified electors and two are elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis, two of the governing body members elected by the electors shall be elected for a term of 4 years and the other governing body member elected by the electors shall be elected for a term of 2 years. Governing body members elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall be elected for terms of 1 and 2 years, respectively, as prescribed by ss. 298.11 and 298.12.
4. If four governing body members are elected by the qualified electors and one is elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis, two of the governing body members elected by the electors shall be elected for a term of 2 years and the other two for a term of 4 years. The governing body member elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall be elected for a term of 1 year as prescribed by ss. 298.11 and 298.12.
5. If five governing body members are elected by the qualified electors, three shall be elected for a term of 4 years and two for a term of 2 years.
6. If any vacancy occurs in a seat occupied by a governing body member elected by the qualified electors, the remaining members of the governing body shall, within 45 days after the vacancy occurs, appoint a person who would be eligible to hold the office to the unexpired term.
(c) Landowners’ meetings.
1. An annual landowners’ meeting shall be held pursuant to s. 298.11 and at least one governing body member shall be elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis pursuant to s. 298.12 for so long as 10 percent or more of the district is not contained in an urban area. In the event all district governing body members are elected by qualified electors, there shall be no further landowners’ meetings.
2. At any landowners’ meeting called pursuant to this section, 50 percent of the district acreage shall not be required to constitute a quorum and each governing body member shall be elected by a majority of the acreage represented either by owner or proxy present and voting at said meeting.
3. All landowners’ meetings of districts operating pursuant to this section shall be set by the governing body within the month preceding the month of the election of the governing body members by the electors.
4. Vacancies on the governing body shall be filled pursuant to s. 298.12 except as otherwise provided in subparagraph (b)6.
(4) QUALIFICATIONS.Elections for governing body members elected by qualified electors shall be nonpartisan. Qualifications shall be pursuant to the Florida Election Code and shall occur during the qualifying period established by s. 99.061. Qualification requirements shall only apply to those governing body member candidates elected by qualified electors. Following the first election pursuant to this section, elections to the governing body by qualified electors shall occur at the next regularly scheduled election closest in time to the expiration date of the term of the elected governing body member. If the next regularly scheduled election is beyond the normal expiration time for the term of an elected governing body member, the governing body member shall hold office until the election of a successor.
(5) Those districts established as single-purpose water control districts, and which continue to act as single-purpose water control districts, pursuant to chapter 298, pursuant to a special act, pursuant to a local government ordinance, or pursuant to a judicial decree, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. All other independent special districts with governing bodies elected on a one-acre/one-vote basis shall be subject to the provisions of this section.
(6) The provisions of this section shall not apply to community development districts established pursuant to chapter 190.
History.s. 13, ch. 89-169; s. 14, ch. 97-255; s. 29, ch. 2014-22.
Note.Former s. 189.4051.