Clearing the Air: A Review of HB 697

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HB 697 Clearing the Air: A Review of HB 697 More Travel, More Emissions, Less Sunshine The Florida Department of Transportation projects that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the state will increase 240% by the year 2060 if current trends continue.1 This means the Sunshine State will be clouded with an increase in CO2 emissions, also known as green house gases (GHG). Currently, 36% of CO2 emissions in Florida are produced by the transportation sector, of which 83% comes from vehicular travel.2 The key to reducing GHG emitted from the transportation sector is to reduce VMT. Local land use and transportation planning will play a critical role in reducing VMT. HB 697, passed by the Florida Legislature in 2008, addresses the reduction of VMT and GHG. The HB 697 Solution: Enhanced Local Planning to Reduce VMT and GHG HB 697 establishes new local planning requirements by amending four elements in the Florida Statutes: 1. The Future Land Use Element (FLUE) must demonstrate (with data and studies): 

Discouragement of urban sprawl.

Energy‐efficient land use patterns that account for existing and future electric power generation and transmission systems.

GHG reduction strategies.

A Future Land Use Map (FLUM) with energy conservation areas. 2. The Traffic Circulation/Transportation Elements must be amended to incorporate transportation strategies to reduce GHG emissions.


Florida Department of Community Affairs, “The Role of Local Land Use and Transportation in Reducing GHG,” pg. 3. 2 Ibid., pg. 2.

3. The Conservation Element must address “factors that affect energy conservation.” 4. The Housing Element must be amended to include standards, plans, and principles for: 

“Energy efficiency in the design and construction of new housing.”

“Use of renewable energy resources.” Local Government Compliance with the New Requirements The Florida Department of Community Affairs (FDCA) requires that plan amendments submitted after the July 1, 2008, effective date include these new requirements. Local governments must comply with all new requirements no later than the due date of their Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR)‐based amendments and also must amend their land development regulations to be consistent with the new amendments within one year. In brief, the new requirements include the following: 

FLUM amendments must be supported by data and analysis relating to urban sprawl, energy efficient land use patterns, and GHG reduction strategies.

FLUM text amendments with significant potential to impact development patterns must comply with the new data and analysis requirements.

Major textual amendments to Transportation/Traffic Elements and large FLUM amendments must address new GHG reduction requirements.

Transportation and Land Use Strategies to Reduce VMT and GHG Local governments can employ a number of transportation and land use strategies to reduce VMT and GHG by planning for: 

Fewer and shorter automobile trips (getting people out of their cars and traveling closer to home).

Alternative modes of travel (e.g., walking, bicycling, and transit).

More compact mixed‐use development that: o contains a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational uses in close proximity to employment centers. o encourages walking and bicycling. o supports transit. o reduces number and length of automobile trips.

Higher densities in appropriate places: o Higher‐density development has a smaller carbon footprint.

o Include transit‐oriented development – cluster higher density around transit spots. Reforming Local Land Development Regulations Local land development regulations can aid in the reduction of VMT and GHG by: 

Removing regulatory barriers to mixed‐use, higher density development in appropriate places.

Providing regulatory and financial incentives for compact mixed‐use development: o Density bonuses o Fee credits o Expedited development review

Rule Development for HB 697 A Rule Development is under way to establish minimum criteria to be used in reviewing comprehensive plans to determine whether they comply with the new requirements of House Bill 697. The Rule Making affects 9J‐5.003 (Definitions), 9J‐5.006 (Future Land Use Element), 9J‐5.013 (Conservation Element), and 9J‐5.019 (Transportation Element) of the Florida Administrative Code. FDCA held rule development workshops on January 12 and December 3, 2009, and January 29 and April 23, 2010, to receive comments concerning potential revisions to Rule 9J‐5, Florida Administrative Code. FDCA’s Web site,, includes the Notice of Proposed Rule. A public hearing on the Rule will be held at the FDCA offices in Tallahassee on October 25, 2010. For more information, please contact: Elisabeth Schuck, AICP, LEED Green Associate E‐mail:

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