(1) There is established within the Department of Economic Opportunity the Waterfronts Florida Program to provide technical assistance and support to communities in revitalizing waterfront areas in this state.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Waterfront community” means a municipality or county that is required to prepare a coastal element for its local government comprehensive plan.
(b) “Recreational and commercial working waterfront” means a parcel or parcels of real property that provide access for water-dependent commercial activities or provide access for the public to the navigable waters of the state. Recreational and commercial working waterfronts require direct access to or a location on, over, or adjacent to a navigable body of water. The term includes water-dependent facilities that are open to the public and offer public access by vessels to the waters of the state or that are support facilities for recreational, commercial, research, or governmental vessels. These facilities include docks, wharfs, lifts, wet and dry marinas, boat ramps, boat hauling and repair facilities, commercial fishing facilities, boat construction facilities, and other support structures over the water.
(3) The purpose of this program is to provide technical assistance, support, training, and financial assistance to waterfront communities in their efforts to revitalize waterfront areas. The program shall direct its efforts on the following priority concerns:
(a) Protecting environmental and cultural resources;
(b) Providing public access;
(c) Mitigating hazards; and
(d) Enhancing the viable traditional economy.
(4) The program is responsible for:
(a) Implementing the Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program. The department, in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall develop procedures and requirements governing program eligibility, application procedures, and application review. The department may provide financial assistance to eligible local governments to develop local plans to further the purpose of the program. In recognition of limited funding, the department may limit the number of local governments assisted by the program based on the amount of funding appropriated to the department for the purpose of the program.
(b) Serving as a source for information and technical assistance for Florida’s waterfront communities in preserving traditional recreational and commercial working waterfronts.