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Florida lawmakers greenlight bill that would aid removal of aging buildings 

The bill garnered strong bipartisan support and heads to Gov. DeSantis for final approval

Florida lawmakers approved a contentious bill to facilitate the demolition and redevelopment of aging coastal buildings, multiple media outlets reported on Wednesday.

The measure, known as the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act (SB 1526), garnered strong support in both chambers of the Legislature, with the House voting 86-29 and the Senate 36-2 in favor.

Introduced by Sen. Bryan Ávila of Miami Springs and Rep. Spencer Roach of North Fort Myers, the bill targets buildings situated within the coastal construction control line that either fail to meet National Flood Insurance Program standards, are deemed unsafe by local officials, or have been slated for demolition by local authorities. 

Exemptions would be granted for single-family homes, structures on the National Register of Historic Places, and certain properties within smaller municipalities. Cities such as St. Augustine, Key West, Palm Beach, Tampa, Pensacola, West Palm Beach and Panama City would be fully exempt, as well as some Miami Beach neighborhoods, including Ocean Drive and the Art Deco District. 

Under the proposed legislation, property owners would have the ability to bypass public hearings and obtain administrative approval for demolition, provided that it complies with state regulations. Subsequently, redevelopment of the site would be permitted, subject to zoning district guidelines.

The bill has sparked contention between property owners and preservationists, who have expressed concern over the loss of historic buildings. The bill heads to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval. 

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