Advocacy Call to Action: Florida Resilience with Historic Places


Over the past few weeks, the Florida Trust team has kept a close eye on a few pieces of proposed legislation, including House Bill 1317 and Senate Bill 1346, the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act. There are two major concerns with this bill. First, the bill prohibits demolition review of certain historic structures. Second, the legislation restricts communities’ ability to provide feedback on new structures built to replace those demolished.

Currently, this legislation would remove demolition review for historic districts and Main Streets in any flood zone in Florida. Demolition review is essential for multiple reasons:

Allows the community an opportunity to determine a solution for saving important historic buildings

Provides time to seek flood solutions that work – and could save – a historic building

If preservation is not possible, a demolition review provides an opportunity to research and document a building’s history before it is lost forever.

In addition to removing demolition review, the proposed legislation would remove impacted communities’ ability to provide feedback on new structures built to replace those demolished.

Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez noted that the city’s ability to set design, height and square footage requirements on replacement construction helps protect property owners who “paid a premium” to invest in historic districts based on those local powers.

Alex Fernandez said in a letter to the bill’s Senate Sponsor Bryan Ávila, “I respectfully urge you to please reconsider eliminating the city’s ability to protect historic and architecturally significant structures. Allowing incompatible new buildings out of scale and out of character with the surrounding properties will ultimately negatively impact the value of adjacent historic properties.”

Call or write your lawmakers today and share your concerns about the impact of this proposed legislation for communities around the state. Find your state representative and senator’s contact information here.

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