On Tuesday, August 8th, the Board of County Commissioners voted 5-0 to revise existing ordinances pertaining to the lease or sale of county-owned property. As required by Fla. Stat. § 125.35(3), the proposed ordinance (1) establishes competition and qualification standards; (2) provides for reasonable public notice of a proposed sale; (3) identifies the form and manner by which public property may be acquired; (4) outlines the types of negotiation procedures; (5) provides procedures for notifying bidders of the final action; and (6) requires adherence to the County’s land use regulations and comprehensive plan.
The controversial element of the existing ordinance, as explained by Deputy County Attorney Jon Jouben, is that an unsolicited offer must be considered and sets the terms for the entire process. The new ordinance will allow for competitive selection, private sale, property exchange, conveyance to government entity or nonprofit, conveyance for affordable housing, direct negotiation, real estate agent conveyed offers, and auction.
Commissioner Steve Champion is optimistic about the different options, which will “hopefully stop all the commotion we’ve had over leases and sale of property.” County Attorney Garth Coller acknowledged such complications as being an unintended consequence of the current ordinance.
Mr. Coller expects that the changes “will facilitate what the board’s guidance has been in terms of putting things back on the tax roll.”