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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XI
Chapter 161
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F.S. 161.54
161.54 Definitions.In construing ss. 161.52-161.58:
(1) “Coastal building zone” means the land area from the seasonal high-water line landward to a line 1,500 feet landward from the coastal construction control line as established pursuant to s. 161.053, and, for those coastal areas fronting on the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, or Straits of Florida and not included under s. 161.053, the land area seaward of the most landward velocity zone (V-zone) line as established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and shown on flood insurance rate maps.
(2) “Coastal barrier islands” means geological features which are completely surrounded by marine waters that front upon the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, or Straits of Florida and are composed of quartz sands, clays, limestone, oolites, rock, coral, coquina, sediment, or other material, including spoil disposal, which features lie above the line of mean high water. Mainland areas which were separated from the mainland by artificial channelization for the purpose of assisting marine commerce shall not be considered coastal barrier islands.
(3) “Beach” means the zone of unconsolidated material that extends landward from the mean low-water line to the place where there is marked change in material or physiographic form, or to the line of permanent vegetation, usually the effective limit of storm waves. “Beach” is alternatively termed “shore.”
(4) “Dune” means a mound or ridge of loose sediments, usually sand-sized sediments, lying landward of the beach and deposited by any natural or artificial mechanism.
(5) “Construction” means the carrying out of any building, clearing, filling, excavation, or substantial improvement in the size or use of any structure or the appearance of any land. When appropriate to the context, “construction” refers to the act of construction or the result of construction.
(6)(a) “Major structure” means houses, mobile homes, apartment buildings, condominiums, motels, hotels, restaurants, towers, other types of residential, commercial, or public buildings, and other construction having the potential for substantial impact on coastal zones.
(b) “Minor structure” means pile-supported, elevated dune and beach walkover structures; beach access ramps and walkways; stairways; pile-supported, elevated viewing platforms, gazebos, and boardwalks; lifeguard support stands; public and private bathhouses; sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, handball courts, racquetball courts, and other uncovered paved areas; earth retaining walls; and sand fences, privacy fences, ornamental walls, ornamental garden structures, aviaries, and other ornamental construction. It shall be a characteristic of minor structures that they are considered to be expendable under design wind, wave, and storm forces.
(c) “Nonhabitable major structure” means swimming pools; parking garages; pipelines; piers; canals, lakes, ditches, drainage structures, and other water retention structures; water and sewage treatment plants; electrical power plants, and all related structures or facilities, transmission lines, distribution lines, transformer pads, vaults, and substations; roads, bridges, streets, and highways; and underground storage tanks.
(d) “Coastal or shore protection structure” means shore-hardening structures, such as seawalls, bulkheads, revetments, rubble mound structures, groins, breakwaters, and aggregates of materials other than beach sand used for shoreline protection; beach and dune restoration; and other structures which are intended to prevent erosion or protect other structures from wave and hydrodynamic forces.

The enumeration of types of structures in this subsection shall not be construed as excluding from the operation of ss. 161.52-161.58 any other structure which by its usage, design, dimensions, or structural configuration would require engineering consideration similar to the listed structures.

(7) “Building support structure” means any structure which supports floor, wall, or column loads and transmits such loads to the foundation, and includes beams, grade beams, or joists and the lowest horizontal structural member exclusive of piles, columns, or footings.
(8) “Breakaway wall” or “frangible wall” means a partition independent of supporting structural members that will withstand design wind forces, but will fail under hydrostatic, wave, and runup forces associated with the design storm surge. Under such conditions, the wall will fail in a manner such that it dissolves or breaks up into components that will not act as potentially damaging missiles.
(9) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.
(10) “State land planning agency” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(11) “State minimum building codes” means the Florida Building Code as identified in s. 553.73.
(12) “Substantial improvement” means any repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or improvement of a structure when the actual cost of the improvement or repair of the structure to its pre-damage condition equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure either:
(a) Before the improvement or repair is started; or
(b) If the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.

The total cost does not include nonstructural interior finishings, including, but not limited to, finish flooring and floor coverings, base molding, nonstructural substrates, drywall, plaster, paneling, wall covering, tapestries, window treatments, decorative masonry, paint, interior doors, tile, cabinets, moldings and millwork, decorative metal work, vanities, electrical receptacles, electrical switches, electrical fixtures, intercoms, communications and sound systems, security systems, HVAC grills and decorative trim, freestanding metal fireplaces, appliances, water closets, tubs and shower enclosures, lavatories, and water heaters, or roof coverings, except when determining whether the structure has been substantially improved as a result of a single improvement or repair.

For the purposes of this definition, “substantial improvement” is considered to occur when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the structure. The term does not, however, include either any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which are solely necessary to assure safe living conditions or any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Inventory of Historic Places.

(13) When used in ss. 161.52-161.58, the terms defined in s. 177.27 have the same meanings as provided in that section.
History.s. 36, ch. 85-55; s. 2, ch. 86-191; s. 1, ch. 91-56; s. 1, ch. 92-7; s. 33, ch. 94-356; s. 1, ch. 97-32; s. 1, ch. 98-269; s. 2, ch. 98-287; s. 1, ch. 99-211; s. 114, ch. 2000-141; s. 35, ch. 2001-186; s. 4, ch. 2001-372; s. 57, ch. 2011-142.