As with any other state, Florida developers are held to certain standards and restrictions in order to do their jobs properly. This is a part of the country with a rich biome, with huge swathes of vulnerable wetlands making up much of the region.
When it comes to construction, it’s easier to behave in accordance with the law than to try and “fix” legal problems that come up. Building around wetland areas can be a challenge, to be sure, but with an understanding of the regulations, you can work and protect your assets.
Join us, today, as we bring you a full breakdown of construction law and dumping regulations in Central Florida.
Florida construction and wetland regulations are closely-related issues. These waterlogged areas provide habitats for dozens of different animals and vegetation.
These areas, spanning huge parts of the entire state, are protected by federal management agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They are closely monitored, as are the people developing on them.
A big question is whether you’re building or developing on a section of land considered either salt or freshwater wetland. Creating business or residential structures on these sections of land is against the law without a 404 individual permit.
You’ll also want to address the issue of access routes into and out of your building. Any land adjacent to your development needs to be filled and elevated in order to facilitate utility lines and access roads.
When your development has an impact on a half-acre or less worth of land, it’s easier to green-light construction. Anything greater than that will require a wetlands master plan in order to be approved. There’s a lot of detail that goes into these, and your outline will need to be comprehensive in terms of any protected wetlands.
During this period, it’s important to do your research and make sure you complete a full submission that is 100% correct. Where you’re most likely to run into regulatory trouble is during the permit process.
Dumping is an issue for many businesses, as waste and refuse are a natural byproduct of pretty much any workplace process. If you have staff members, delivery services, or any kind of production floor, you’re going to be creating waste of some sort.
Florida has a bit of a problem when it comes to waste, with many areas pockmarked by mounds of trash, dubbed “trash mountains”. These are unattractive and an environmental concern, given the growing numbers of people in these areas. Accumulating trash is a money sinkhole, with disposal and recycling costing millions of dollars every year.
Not following through and properly disposing of trash is, firstly, illegal. More importantly, it can present some fairly severe problems for local government and other landowners in your area.
In an attempt to combat this kind of issue, legislature in Florida makes specific regulations regarding this. Refuse, containers, appliances, equipment, materials and parts are defined as trash. It’s a broad statute, to be sure, incorporating a variety of waste materials.
Law enforcement officials are responsible for maintaining this law across all business. It is illegal to dump litter in any of the following locations, regardless of the reason:
- Public highways, roads, or street, as well as right-of-way segments and other public lands. The exception here is in the case of containers or lawfully provided areas, but you need to be sure of these before using them.
Litter thrown or discarded from a vehicle is a violation of the statute and will land the driver or owner in hot water as well.
- In freshwater lakes, rivers, and canals, when litter is discarded from a boat, the violation will be responded to as with a vehicle.
- On private property, unless the owner has given prior consent and dumping will not cause a nuisance, you will also be in violation.
When it comes to penalties, the severity of your fine will depend on the severity of your violation. Penalties will be based on how much illegal trash is physically dumped. Dumping litter in an amount not exceeding 15 lbs or 27 cubic feet and also not for commercial purposes is considered noncriminal. This is punishable by a $100 civil penalty, with $50 going to the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund. Courts may also require that businesses pick up litter or perform public labor.
Dumping litter in amounts exceeding 15 lbs and 27 cubic feet, but also not exceeding 500 lbs or 100 cubic feet is a 1st-degree misdemeanor. Courts may also insist violators pick up litter or perform community service of some other sort.
If and when the violation involves a motor vehicle, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will also receive a report. This record includes a three-point license penalty.
Construction, Dumping, and The Law
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