The City of Hollywood, population 140,768 (2010), is located immediately north of Miami on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The City was concerned about overdevelopment of a narrow strip of land approximately 400 feet wide and 1.5 miles long between the ocean and Highway A1A, the highway that hugs Florida’s eastern shoreline Coast. The strip, known as North Beach, was one of the last undeveloped beachfront areas on Southern Florida’s coast from Miami to Palm Beach.
In 1977, Hollywood released a planning study indicating that its North Beach area could accommodate a maximum of 3,000 dwelling units and still remain within the planned capacity for the sewer, roadway and utility systems. In addition to carrying capacity, the City was concerned that allowing the area to develop would block ocean views and eliminate coastal vegetation.
Consequently, the City rezoned this area, reducing the density of the easternmost strip of land from 25 units per acre to a single family residential density of seven units per acre; the multiple-family residential zoning just to the west of the new single-family zone was also substantially reduced.
In conjunction, the City encouraged preservation of land in the new single-family zone by allowing landowners the opportunity to transfer density from these beach-adjacent properties to the multiple-family residential zone to the west. In 2003, Beyond Takings and Givings reported that this mechanism was not codified. However, a review of the Hollywood Zoning and Development Regulations in November 2011 identified the provisions described in the following section of this profile which appear at Section 4.2E Multiple Family Districts. This code section was first adopted in 1994 and subsequently amended in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Section 4.2E NBDD North Beach Development District applies to two districts: NBDD-DZ North Beach Development District-Development Zone and NBDD-CZ North Beach Development District-Control Zone. The objectives for the NBDD include providing for development that respects environmental resources and development constraints, allowing for beach access, providing for open space and preventing the overburdening of the street system, particularly Highway A1A.
In the Control Zone, on-site development is limited to single-family residential development with a minimum lot size of 5,800 square feet or to bed and breakfast inns with a maximum density of 32.5 units per acre. The Development Zone allows various types of baseline development from single-family residences to hotels with 32.5 units per acre.
Section 4.2E.4 allows owners of land in NBDD-CZ, the Control Zone, to dedicate their properties to the City for public open space in exchange for the ability to transfer development rights, at the allocation ratio of 32.5 dwelling units per acre, to properties in the NBDD-DZ, the Development Zone. If the receiving site is greater than two acres, the receiving project must be approved as a planned unit development (PUD). In addition to baseline density, the “…recipient of the transferred development rights, may thereafter develop his/her property at the maximum density permitted including the amount of acquired dwelling units. In all cases however, the property owner in the Development Zone must conform with the development standards in this section.” Since a larger receiving site must be approved as a PUD, the applicable development standards are apparently the density, height and other requirements that allow the transferred development potential yet implement the goals for this district set forth in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
A developer challenged the rezoning/TDR ordinance on three grounds: 1) that the 3,000 limit was arbitrary; 2) that the down zoning of the sending area was arbitrary and confiscatory; and 3) that the TDR mechanism was invalid. The Circuit Court found for the plaintiff on the basis that the City had acted in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner.
The City appealed and the Florida District Court of Appeals decided in favor of the City on all three issues. In a 1983 ruling, the Appeals Court held that both the rezoning and the TDR mechanism were not arbitrary, but rather were valid uses of police power. In making this ruling, the Appeals Court determined that the rezoning served the public purpose and that the City was justified in requiring a developer to dedicate the sending site to the City in return for getting added units at a receiving site. The Court also noted that it considered TDR to be a third option to either buying the land or letting it be developed.
In the specific development which was the subject of the lawsuit, the Court also noted that by foregoing the opportunity to build 79 single family residential units on the easternmost portion of the developer’s 92-acre site, the developer gained an extra 368 units on the westerly portion of the site. In addition, the Court noted that the developer’s multiple family project would benefit from the transfer since there would be only open space between these units and the ocean.