Urge DeSantis to Defend Our Historic Districts and VETO Tallahassee’s “Demolition Derby” | Opportunity For All Floridians

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From the Panhandle to the Keys, we believe in the principle of “Home Rule,” the belief that Florida’s locally elected governments are the ones closes to the people. That principle is once again under attack by politicians in Tallahassee who have introduced a bill which threatens the integrity of many of Florida’s cherished coastal historic districts.

The proposed bill, SB 1526, known as the “Resiliency and Safe Structures Act,” sponsored by Sen. Bryan Ávila (R-Miami Springs), seeks to limit the authority of local governments in regulating the demolition of structures, posing a significant threat to the historic fabric of our communities. Companion legislation, HB 1647, was filed in the Florida House by Rep. Spencer Roach (R-North Fort Myers).

The legislation aims to block local governments from prohibiting or restricting the demolition of certain structures, including those no longer conforming to the local building code near the coastline. The bill’s impact extends to buildings within a half-mile from the coast and within FEMA flood zones.

We stand united with many local communities, the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, 1000 Friends of Florida, the Florida League of Cities and countless local cities and counties against this encroachment on Home Rule, recognizing the importance of local governments in preserving our cultural heritage and historic architecture. The bill not only undermines the efforts of coastal governments and historic preservationists but also jeopardizes the economic contributions of historic districts to our state.

During the committee debate on January 23, not a single public speaker advocated for the legislation. The potential consequences of SB 1526 were eloquently voiced by Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez, who highlighted that visitors to Miami Beach’s historic district generate around $119 million yearly in sales taxes to the state. He pointed out that this legislation could encourage the owners of history properties to “neglect maintenance hoping to bypass local preservation regulations.”

It’s time to save the historic places in Florida which are an engine of tourism, economic growth and jobs.

Write to Gov. Desantis to say: We don’t need a big government “demolition derby” of our cherished historic districts. Please VETO SB 1526.

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