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December 18, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXI
DRAINAGE
Chapter 298
DRAINAGE AND WATER CONTROL
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F.S. 298.301
298.301 District water control plan adoption; district boundary modification; plan amendment; notice forms; objections; hearings; assessments.
(1) District infrastructure and works must be implemented pursuant to a water control plan. In the execution of the powers and authorities granted in this chapter, the district’s action must be consistent with any adopted local government comprehensive plan within which the lands of the district are located. The board of supervisors may, by resolution at a regular or special meeting noticed pursuant to chapter 189, consider the adoption of a district water control plan or plan amendment. Notice, hearing, and final adoption of any proposed water control plan or plan amendment must comply with the provisions of this chapter. For any district that was created or whose authorities or boundaries have been amended by special act, lands may be added to or deleted only through legislative modification of the special act. For those districts existing solely by judicial decree, lands may be added to or deleted from such districts by decree of the circuit court of the county in which the majority of the land within the district is located.
(2) Before adopting a water control plan or plan amendment, the board of supervisors must adopt a resolution to consider adoption of the proposed plan or plan amendment. As soon as the resolution proposing the adoption or amendment of the district’s water control plan has been filed with the district secretary, the board of supervisors shall give notice of a public hearing on the proposed plan or plan amendment by causing publication to be made once a week for 3 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in each county in which lands and other property described in the resolution are situated. The notice must be in substantially the following form:

Notice of Hearing

To the owners and all persons interested in the lands corporate, and other property in and adjacent to the   name of district   District.

You are notified that the   name of district   District has filed in the office of the secretary of the district a resolution to consider approval of a water control plan or an amendment to the current water control plan to provide   here insert a summary of the proposed water control plan or plan amendment  . On or before its scheduled meeting of   (date and time)   at the district’s offices located at   (list address of offices)   written objections to the proposed plan or plan amendment may be filed at the district’s offices. A public hearing on the proposed plan or plan amendment will be conducted at the scheduled meeting, and written objections will be considered at that time. At the conclusion of the hearing, the board of supervisors may determine to proceed with the process for approval of the proposed plan or plan amendment and direct the district engineer to prepare an engineer’s report identifying any property to be taken, determining benefits and damages, and estimating the cost of implementing the improvements associated with the proposed plan or plan amendment. A final hearing on approval of the proposed plan or plan amendment and engineer’s report shall be duly noticed and held at a regularly scheduled board of supervisors meeting at least 25 days but no later than 60 days after the last scheduled publication of the notice of filing of the engineer’s report with the secretary of the district.

Date of first publication:   ,   (year)  
           

(Chair or President, Board of Supervisors)

     County, Florida

(3) In addition to the publication of notice, a copy of the notice shall be served by first class mail on any owner of land within the district as shown on the current tax rolls, the water management district created under chapter 373 within which the district is located, the board of county commissioners of the county, and the governing body of any municipality within which the district is located.
(4) The engineer may at any time call upon the attorney of the district for legal advice and information relative to her or his duties. The engineer shall proceed to view the premises and identify all lands, within or without the district, to be acquired by purchase or condemnation and used for rights-of-way, or other works set out in the proposed plan or plan amendment. The engineer shall, with the advice of the district attorney, staff, and consultants, determine the amount of benefits and the amount of damages, if any, that will accrue to each subdivision of land (according to ownership), from carrying out and putting into effect the proposed plan or plan amendment. The engineer shall determine only those benefits that are derived from the construction of the works and improvements set out in the proposed plan or plan amendment. The engineer has no power to change the proposed plan or plan amendment without board approval.
(5) The engineer shall prepare a report arranged in tabular form, the columns of which are to be headed as follows: column one, “owner of property”; column two, “description of property”; column three, “number of acres”; column four, “amount of determined benefit”; column five, “amount of determined damages”; column six, “number of acres to be taken for rights-of-way, district works, etc.” The engineer shall also, by and with the advice of other employees and consultants of the district, estimate the cost of the works set out in the proposed plan or plan amendment, including the cost of and the probable expense of organization and administration. A maintenance assessment recommendation must also be included in each engineer’s report. However, the maintenance assessment may not be considered as part of the costs of installation or construction specified by the proposed plan or plan amendment in determining whether benefits exceed damages. The report shall be signed by the engineer and filed in the office of the secretary of the district. The secretary of the district, or deputy thereto, shall assist as needed in preparation of the report.
(6) Upon the filing of the engineer’s report, the board of supervisors shall give notice thereof by arranging the publication of the notice of filing of the engineer’s report together with a geographical depiction of the district once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in the district. A location map or legal description of the land shall constitute a geographical depiction. The notice must be substantially as follows:

Notice of Filing Engineer’s Report for

     District

Notice is given to all persons interested in the following described land and property in    County (or Counties), Florida, viz.:   (Here describe land and property)   included within the     district that the engineer hereto appointed to determine benefits and damages to the property and lands situated in the district and to determine the estimated cost of construction required by the water control plan, within or without the limits of the district, under the proposed water control plan or plan amendment, filed her or his report in the office of the secretary of the district, located at   (list address of district offices)  , on the    day of    ,   (year)  , and you may examine the report and file written objections with the secretary of the district to all, or any part thereof, on or before   (enter date 20 days after the last scheduled publication of this notice, which date must be before the date of the final hearing)  . The report recommends   (describe benefits and damages)  . A final hearing to consider approval of the report and proposed water control plan or plan amendment shall be held   (time, place, and date at least 25 days but no later than 60 days after the last scheduled publication of this notice)  .

Date of first publication:   ,   (year)              

(Chair or President, Board of Supervisors)

     County, Florida

(7) Any party identified in subsection (3) may file written objections with the secretary of the district to any part or all of the engineer’s report and the proposed plan or plan amendment, within 20 days after the last published notice of filing of the engineer’s report.
(8) All objections and proposed revisions to the engineer’s report, water control plan, or plan amendment must be heard and determined by the board of supervisors at the public hearing so as to carry out liberally the purposes and needs of the district. If the board of supervisors determines at the final public hearing, upon examination of the engineer’s report and upon hearing all of the objections or proposed revisions, that the estimated cost of construction of improvements contemplated in the plan or plan amendment is less than the benefits determined for the lands in the district, the board of supervisors may approve and confirm the engineer’s report and water control plan or plan amendment; or, if the board of supervisors determines that any of the objections or proposed revisions to the engineer’s report, water control plan, or plan amendment should be sustained or implemented, it shall order the engineer’s report and water control plan or plan amendment changed to conform with its findings, and when changed, the board of supervisors shall approve and confirm or disapprove, as appropriate, the engineer’s report and water control plan or plan amendment and enter its order approving or disapproving, as appropriate, the engineer’s report and proposed water control plan or plan amendment as so revised. When any land or other property is shown by the engineer’s report to be needed for rights-of-way, or other works, the board of supervisors may institute proceedings under chapter 73 or chapter 74 in the circuit court of the proper county to condemn the lands and other property that must be taken or damaged in the making of improvements, with the right and privilege of paying into court a sum to be fixed by the circuit court judge and of proceeding with the work, before the assessment by the jury.
(9) The approval and confirmation of the engineer’s report by the board of supervisors establishes the amount and apportionment of assessments contained therein. The assessments so established are final and conclusive as to all land assessed, unless within 30 days after approval and confirmation of the engineer’s report an action for relief is brought in a court of competent jurisdiction. If the assessment against any land is reduced or abated by the court, the board of supervisors shall cause the engineer’s report to be amended accordingly. Unless such an action is commenced within the 30-day period, the assessment set forth in the engineer’s report is final and nonappealable as to such land.
History.s. 13, ch. 97-40; s. 8, ch. 98-329; s. 21, ch. 99-6; s. 11, ch. 99-7; s. 3, ch. 2005-238.