RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
IN FLORIDA'S COASTAL ZONE
State of Florida
Department of Natural Resources
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State of Florida
Department of Natural Resources
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT
ACTIVITIES IN FLORIDA'S COASTAL ZONE
Randolph Hodges, Chairman
Department of Natural Resources
Trustees of the Internal Improvement
Peter P. Baljet
Department of Pollution Control
L. Kenneth Ireland, Jr.
Department of Administration
Staff Coordinator: Bruce Johnson
(Recommendations Subject to Change)
This public document was promulgated at a cost of $4374.70 or 880 per copy
including preparation, printing and distribution, for the purpose of providing coastal
zone management information to governmental agencies and citizens.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION .............................
II. FLORIDA COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CRITERIA ..
A. Preservation Areas ..........................
1. C lass I W aters .... ...... ................
2. Class II W aters ..........................
3. M arine Grass Beds .......................
4. Selected Coastal Marshes ................................ 3
5. Selected Coastal Mangroves .............
6. Gulf and Atlantic Beaches and Dunes .......
7. Estuarine Beaches ....................
8. State Wilderness Areas .................
9. Selected Fresh Water Swamps and Marshes .
10. Historical and Archaeological Sites ........
11. Other Unique Environmental Features ......
B. Conservation Areas ......................
1. C lass II I W aters ........ .. .. .. ... ....
2. Aquatic Preserves ..................................... 5
Aquaculture Leases ................
Spoil Islands . . . . .
Hurricane Flood Zone ........................
River Flood Plains ..........................
Scenic V istas ..............................
Forestry and Game Management Areas .............
W wildlife Refuges ............................
Parks and Recreation Areas ....................
11. M arginal Lands ............................ .......... 7
C. Developm ent Areas ....................................... 8
1. Class IV W aters ...................................... 8
2. Class V Waters ................................... .... 8
3. Presently Developed Lands-Non-Conflict ..................... 8
4. Presently Developed Lands-Conflict ........................ 8
5. Undeveloped Lands Suitable for Intensive Development ........... 9
6. Undeveloped Lands Suitable for Intensive Development with Corrections 9
7. Hurricane Flood Zone .................. ................ 9
III. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS APPLICABLE THROUGHOUT THE COASTAL
ZONE ......... ........................................ 9
A. Immediate Shoreline Use Priorities ............................ 9
B. Military Activities ...................................... 10
Ports and W ater-Related Industry .................. . . .. .10
Transportation and Utilities ............. . . . ...... 11
Commercial Development ........ ............. ............ 11
Marina Location and Design ............. . . . ...... 11
Shoreline M odification .............. . . . . .12
1. Bulkheads and Bulkhead Lines .................. . ...12
2. Breakwaters, Jetties and Groins ..... . . . . 12
3. Dredging, Filling and Artificial Waterways . . . . 12
4. Docks and Piers ................ . . . ... 13
5. Removal of Natural Vegetation .......... ................. 14
H. Developments in Wetlands Areas ......... ...... ............. 14
I. Residential Developm ent ............ . . . . .14
J. Septic Tanks ......... .................. .. ........... 15
K. Solid Waste Disposal-Sanitary Landfill Sites . . . . 15
L. Forest Management Practices ......... . . . ..15
M Agricultural Practices ................ . . . . 17
1. Citrus and Truck Farms ...... . . . . 17
2. Ranching and Dairying ............. . . ..... 17
N. Amenities, Aesthetics and Design ........ . . . . ......17
IV. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ........ ......................... 19
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IN FLORIDA'S COASTAL ZONE
(Recommendations Subject to Change)
The coastal zone of Florida is the state's most important and valuable asset. It
contains the richest and most diverse combination of plants and animals, is the focus of
our industrial and economic activity, and attracts the vast majority of our visitors and
new residents. In fact, over 70 per cent of our population is concentrated in only 16 of
our 38 coastal counties and this, for the most part, is clustered along the narrow
coastal fringe of the counties. If present trends continue, the coastal zone will contain
over ten million residents by the year 2000 and will serve a yearly influx of several times
that many visitors.
The requirements of this concentration of people have had a serious impact on the
natural values of the coastal zone and have become a threat to the health, safety and
general welfare of the citizens of this state. It is now widely recognized that a coordinated
effort of interested federal, state and local agencies of government is imperative to plan
for and effect a solution to this threat.
In pursuit of such a solution, the 1970 Legislature created the Florida Coastal
Coordinating Council (Ch. 370.0211, F.S.), consisting of the executive directors of the
three state agencies primarily responsible for management of our coastal resources: the
Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Pollution Control and the Board of
Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. The council was recently enlarged by
administrative action to include the Secretary of the Department of Administration. The
council was given charges to develop a comprehensive plan for the development,
protection and zoning of the coastal zone and to provide coordination of planning and
management activities involved in the coastal zone.
In response to these charges, the council is striving to develop a plan that would:
1. Be formulated in an objective and impartial manner, utilizing well-defined
techniques and criteria.
2. Attempt to strike a balance between development and preservation interests.
3. Be as compatible with local and regional planning efforts as possible.
4. Provide maximum retention of land and water use options for the future.
5. Make maximum use of existing governmental research and management
6. Allow for wisest possible use of the coastal zone.
7. Protect the long-term interests of the state by maintaining and enhancing the
quality of life in the coastal zone.
In order for such a plan to be meaningful, the council recognizes that there must be a
mechanism for promoting its implementation by those governmental bodies having
ultimate decision-making responsibility concerning development. In large part, this
responsibility has been delegated by the state to city and county governments, many of
which have adopted subdivision regulations, building codes, and other such regulations
designed to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
It is a lamentable truism, however, that in areas of rapid development and population
growth, where effective controls are most urgently needed, pressing day-to-day problems
tend to be solved in a manner which often does not adequately consider the regional or
long-term consequences of the actions taken. This has in numerous cases forced upon us
increasing unplanned social and environmental problems which were not anticipated and
were not wanted. The need for greater direction and purpose in decision-making is
obvious. The state is now in the initial stages of fulfilling this need through several
This set of recommendations was developed in recognition of both the local
responsibility for promoting community desires and the state's responsibility for
protecting the interests of the public at large. The purpose of this publication is
1. To encourage the wisest use of coastal resources.
2. To aid developers in taking advantage of state-of-the-art techniques and in
complying with state and federal regulations concerning natural resources.
3. To aid governmental agencies in developing plans compatible with the state
coastal zone management effort.
In developing the recommendations, it was decided that they should be
performance-oriented rather than means-oriented. They attempt to identify the desired
condition but do not specify exactly how to achieve it. It is felt that this approach will
allow more imaginative thinking and flexibility at the local level and still allow adequate
protection of state interests. Not only do the recommendations reflect the goals and
criteria of numerous state and federal agencies involved in the coastal zone, but also draw
upon the thinking of many professional planners, engineers, ecologists, and others
actively involved in resource-use management. Many of the recommendations are already
partially or fully covered by current regulations and it is particularly important that
county and municipal governments recognize them as an opportunity to develop their
own performance standards for local development. This publication is intended to serve
as a companion to the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas.
FLORIDA COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT CRITERIA
Most previous planning in Florida has been based upon straightline projections of
population increases and per capital needs, with attempts being made to meet demands in
the most economical or technically advantageous manner, usually on the simple ground
that this represented "progress". Unfortunately, this procedure has little or no possibility
of determining "optimum" conditions or when the saturation or breaking point will
occur. It also has the unfortunate result of actually encouraging a continuation of past
trends, thus amplifying many of Florida's social and environmental ills.
Realizing that planning on the basis of projected population increase or on
contemplated increase is fraught with a multitude of built-in perils, the state coastal zone
management effort is attempting a relatively new approach to the problem. This approach
does not concern itself primarily with anticipated conditions by the year 2000 or any
other time frame. Rather, it attempts to determine the type and degree of use that
specific portions of the coastal zone can withstand without degradation of its basic
resources. With this approach, the Coastal Coordinating Council is attempting to consider
the "optimum" conditions and then support various measures which will help attain
them, whether it be city size and shape, population distribution, or direct allocation and
use of resources.
The Coastal Coordinating Council approach utilizes three major categories or zones
of land and water use. These categories-Preservation (no further modification),
Conservation (controlled modification), and Development (few if any state-level
controls)-are designated after consideration of the following eight factors:
1. Soils suitability of the area.
2. Ecological significance of the area.
3. Susceptibility of the area to flooding, both from runoff and hurricane-driven
4. Historical and archaeological significance of the area.
5. Unique features that may warrant protection.
6. Water quality standards.
7. Present land use.
8. Geological factors to the extent possible with existing information.
The preservation concept utilized in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas
includes those portions of the coastal zone which have overriding ecological, hydrological,
physiographic, historical, or socio-economic importance to the public at large. Preserving
the natural integrity of these areas enhances the aesthetics and quality of life for residents
and tourists, provides a measure of natural hurricane protection, helps maintain a
minimum ecological balance, and promotes maintenance of our invaluable commercial
and sport fisheries. Public policy should attempt to protect these areas from development
to the maximum degree legally possible consistent with private property rights as
determined by the courts. In cases where private property rights are involved and all other
legal alternatives for achieving preservation goals have proven inappropriate, public funds
should be expended for purchase of areas in immediate jeopardy of destruction.
Class I Waters
There are surface waters that are used as a potable source of public water supplies or
withdrawn for treatment as such.
1. No effluent can be discharged into such waters.
2. Dredging in these areas can degrade water quality and should be strongly
3. Stringent water runoff controls should be imposed on development adjacent to
Class II Waters
These are coastal waters which have the capability of supporting shellfish harvesting.
1. No dredging can be performed in commercially-exploited shellfish waters except
for approved maintenance dredging on existing public navigation channels.
2. All developers of the land areas contiguous to these waters should make all
reasonable attempts to contain, on site, all wastes generated by development in
order to prevent actual or potential degradation of water quality.
Marine Grass Beds
These are shallow water areas containing significant amounts of submerged
vegetation. These areas serve as important habitat for many organisms at the base of
marine food chains and perform several important functions related to water quality.
They are considered crucial to the maintenance of marine productivity.
1. Marine grass beds should not be modified except in cases of overriding public
2. Marine grass beds are particularly sensitive to increased turbidity that may result
from development activities in adjacent areas. Special attention should be given
to control of runoff and introduction of nutrients into such areas in order to
prevent increased water turbidity.
Selected Coastal Marshes
These are tidal marsh systems having an extent of at least forty acres. Such areas are
valuable habitat for numerous species of birds and terrestrial animals. They also provide
necessary nutrients to adjacent waters and through their filtering action, help maintain
good water quality. Many important marine species are dependent upon marsh systems
for survival, and preservation of these areas is considered crucial to maintenance of our
marine fisheries. Their storm-buffering function also helps reduce damages to coastal
development. Included in this category are "high" marsh areas generally considered as
being above the M.H.W. line. Such areas of lesser extent than forty acres are also
recommended to be preserved, but due to scale difficulties are not shown in the Florida
Coastal Zone Management Atlas. Under Chapter 253, Florida Statutes, all marsh areas
below the mean high water line are regulated by the Board of Trustees of the Internal
Improvement Trust Fund.
1. Marsh areas of greater than forty acres should be placed off-limits to
development that would significantly alter their character.
2. Small patches and shore-fringing strands of marsh should be left undisturbed if
possible, with recognition that any such areas below the line of mean high water
are subject to direct state and federal regulation and permits are required for
Selected Coastal Mangroves
These are shore-fringing stands of red, black and/or white mangroves having an
extent greater than forty acres. Although it is generally held that red mangroves are the
most important and occupy that area between M.H.W. and M.L.W., the three types are
often intermixed, making identification of distinct zones within stands very difficult.
Similar in function to tidal marshes, these areas are vital to regional marine productivity
and offer protection from erosion and flooding.
1. Mangrove forests should be subject to the same considerations as coastal
Gulf and A tlan tic Beaches and Dunes
This refers to all beaches and dune systems fronting on the open Gulf of Mexico or
the Atantic Ocean. These areas, in addition to being very important recreational
resources, constitute natural shoreline protection features. Under Chapters 161.052 and
161.053, F.S., all construction seaward of the coastal construction setback line (50 feet
inland from M.H.W. unless otherwise established through consideration of natural beach
processes) must receive a permit from the Bureau of Beaches and Shores. Local
governments, through their building permit systems, have the most effective means of
detecting violations and should assure that projects within their areas of jurisdiction abide
by the setback law.
1. No new construction should be allowed that would threaten the stability of
either the primary dunes or the beach itself. All construction should be
restricted to areas landward of the primary dune line.
2. In areas where dunes are being eroded, local governments should encourage and
support dune stabilization projects, preferably utilizing vegetation as the
3. Local governments should pursue programs that will guarantee adequate public
access to the beaches. Such access should be designed in a manner which
protects dune stability.
4. Motorized vehicles should be prohibited from operating on primary dunes
except in emergency.
These are recreation-quality beaches not exposed to the open Gulf or Altantic.
Although they are not as extensive or as attractive as open ocean or Gulf beaches, they
are important recreational resources that are subject to similar natural forces and
development pressures. The state coastal construction setback law does not apply to
1. Local governments should establish requirements in these areas which will
guarantee an adequate construction setback line and public access.
State Wilderness Areas
These areas are state-owned lands set aside for preservation in essentially their natural
state as part of the State Wilderness System.
1. No commercial development and no additional development for the comfort and
convenience of users is permitted.
2. Public use of these areas is limited to hiking, bathing, boating, fishing, hunting,
picnicking, sightseeing, camping, nature study, and research to the extent
compatible with the purpose for which the wilderness area was established and
as provided in Ch. 18(6) of the Florida Administrative Code.
3. Development activities adjacent to wilderness areas should not detract from the
values sought to be preserved.
Selected Fresh Water Swamps and Marshes
As used in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas, these are areas having a high
water table, predominantly internal drainage, and supporting extensive stands of
water-tolerant vegetation. Such areas are unsuitable for intensive land uses without major
alteration. They are usually of substantial ecological importance and serve as natural
retaining mechanisms for surface water storage. Some swamps and marshes may also
function as aquifer recharge areas.
Because of the ecological significance of these areas, their value for hydrologic
purposes and their intrinsic unsuitability for intensive development, they should be
preserved in essentially their natural state. The state and federal governments presently
have only limited authority to ensure this, except in wildlife refuges, state and national
parks, state wilderness areas, areas subject to flowage easements, or other areas in public
ownership. The majority of fresh water swamps and marshes in the coastal zone are in
private ownership with very few effective controls on their use. Development in swamp
and marsh areas has a high initial cost and a high continuing cost that is often borne by
government. Such problems as periodic flooding, poor stability of roads and streets,
creation of health hazards, and subsequent expenditures of tax money for corrective
measures are often encountered in such areas. Development in fresh water swamps and
marshes, therefore, is likely to become an unnecessary tax burden.
1. Local governments should strongly discourage development in these areas
through the application of zoning, easements, tax incentives, and other methods
that may be appropriate.
Historical and Archaeological Sites
These are areas of outstanding historical or archaeological significance designated by
either the federal government or the Florida Division of Archives and History. Florida's
rich and colorful history has endowed the state with a valuable assortment of such areas,
and although it is state policy to protect them, many important sites are in private
ownership, In such areas the state is often powerless to prevent their destruction by
private interests and must rely solely on local governments to protect the public interest.
1. Because these areas are important assets to both the local area and the state in
general, local governments should institute conscientious programs designed to
identify and preserve all significant sites not already protected by federal or state
Other Unique Environmental Features
These are natural features of an unusual or unique character, usually of compara-
tively small geographic extent. Examples range from such diverse things as coral reefs to
unusual sinkholes, caves and springs. Also included are waters given a "special stream
classification" by the Department of Pollution Control. These are wild or scenic rivers,
spring-fed streams and others whose character is such that they should be preserved for all
posterity. The state has incorporated many such areas into its State Park System or
protected them in other ways. There remain, however, many unprotected areas that are
of value to both local and state interests.
1. These areas should be protected where possible through the application of local
zoning, tax incentives, purchase, easements, or other appropriate means.
2. Any development in these areas should incorporate special precautions to avoid
damaging the character of the feature.
3. In or adjacent to waters having the "special stream classification", development
that requires dredging for navigational access will not be permitted. Develop-
ment adjacent to such waters should be subject to very strict water runoff
Conservation areas are the lands and waters within the coastal zone that are not
absolutely critical to regional ecological integrity (except certain wildlife refuges) but
which, because of their physical character or present use, require special precautions
when being converted to development in order to avoid direct or indirect consequences
harmful to the public health, safety and welfare. They also provide "buffer zones" for
preservation areas and represent retention of use options for future generations.
Class III Waters
These are all coastal waters not otherwise specifically classified by the State
Department of Pollution Control. Included are bays, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and open
waters of the territorial sea. The primary requirement for these waters is that they be
maintained at a quality sufficient to allow body contact water sports and propagation of
fish and wildlife. Within this classification, however, is the "special stream classification"
mentioned earlier. These streams are considered as "unique environmental features" and
are indicated as preservation areas in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas.
1. Any development and subsequent use in or bordering Class III waters should
ensure that present water quality is not degraded. This includes prevention of
pollutants from entering the water and strict control of activities which may
increase water turbidity.
These are state-protected coastal areas having exceptionally high biological, aesthetic,
education, and/or scientific value. Such areas are established by the state after public
hearings at the local level. They generally include only lands below the line of mean high
1. Bulkhead lines will not be set within an aquatic preserve. Development adjacent
to such areas should not anticipate utilizing land below the mean high water line,
and any "high marsh" (above M.H.W.) or mangroves adjacent to an aquatic
preserve should also be left undisturbed.
2. Within an aquatic preserve, there shall be no alteration of physical conditions
except minimum dredging and spoiling for authorized public navigation projects
or other approved activity designed to enhance the quality or utility of the
3. Traditional public uses of the area, such as fishing, hunting, boating, and
swimming are allowed.
4. Other uses of an aquatic preserve may be allowed after a formal finding of
compatibility made by the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
These are state-owned water areas that are leased for experimental or commercial
cultivation of animal or plant life. Traditional oyster leases are not included in this
1. Such areas are to be utilized in a productive manner in the public interest, as
decided by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, and
in accordance with Aquaculture Lease Guidelines, August 26, 1969.
2. Public hearings are required before a lease may be granted. Such lease will not be
granted if the appropriate county commission adopts and files a resolution of
objection to the lease.
3. Because of the problems associated with granting exclusive rights for use of
state-owned submerged lands and the overlying water column, aquaculture
interests should attempt to confine their activities to nearshore upland areas if
possible. This has certain advantages from a quality control as well as public
relations standpoint if technology permits such upland location.
4. Aquaculture activities should be subject to the same pollution control criteria as
any other industry.
5. Aquaculture activities should explore the feasibility of utilizing "cleanup"
species in conjunction with their "production" species to help prevent water
pollution from fecal matter, high nutrients and B.O.D., low D.O., etc.
These are artificial islands created with material dredged from state-owned lands to
create or deepen channels. Such areas often become covered with mangroves and other
salt-tolerant vegetation and serve as bird resting and feeding areas. They may also serve as
water-oriented recreation areas.
1. Any modification of spoil islands requires a permit from the Trustees of the
Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
2. Spoil islands in urban areas should be left undeveloped to serve as green areas,
bird resting and feeding areas and/or water-oriented recreation areas not
requiring major expenditure of public funds.
Hurricane Flood Zone
This encompasses lands between the shoreline and the 100-year flood line; that is,
the area subject to flooding by hurricane-driven tides on a statistical probability of once
every 100 years. It should be kept in mind that this frequency prediction represents an
average that may occur several times within a short time span or may delay for a
considerable period. Most of the heavily-populated and rapidly-growing cities of South
Florida have been very fortunate in the last three decades and have not been subjected to
devastating hurricanes. Unfortunately, this has caused a false sense of security in many
areas, thus setting the stage for natural disasters on a massive scale.
It should be recognized that hurricane-driven tides are accompanied by severe wave
action and are potentially far more destructive than rising water associated with poor
drainage. For this reason, development in the hurricane flood zone should recognize the
hazards and use proper construction techniques.
It should also be recognized that the National Flood Insurance Program utilizes the
100-year flood line as a basis for granting flood insurance. To qualify for insurance under
this program, all new residential construction must have ground-floor elevations above the
100-year flood stage. Other uses have the option of either making ground-floor elevations
above this level or flood-proofing buildings to that height.
1. Any development in the hurricane flood zone which would unnecessarily
jeopardize public health, safety or welfare should be prevented.
2. All residential construction in the hurricane flood zone should have ground-floor
elevations above the level subject to flooding by the statistical 100-year
3. All construction in the hurricane flood zone should be storm proof and flood
proof against a statistical 100-year storm.
4. All high-intensity development in the hurricane flood zone should be serviced by
central sewer systems. Septic tanks should not be allowed in residential
subdivisions or other high-intensity uses of the hurricane flood zone.
5. Sewage treatment plants, industrial holding ponds or other potentially polluting
facilities should not be constructed in the hurricane flood zone. If alternate
locations inland are not available, special hurricane flooding precautions should
be taken in design and construction of the facility.
River Flood Plains
These are lands lying along drainage corridors (rivers and streams) that are subject to
flooding on a regular basis. These areas usually contain mixed alluvial, poorly-drained
soils and natural vegetation that is adapted to fluctuating water levels. The vegetation is
especially important in that it provides diversity to the landscape, serves as vital habitat
for numerous species of birds and animals and performs very significant ecological
functions for the waters that flow through the drainage corridors.
Development in flood plains is usually very expensive, both initially and in terms of
continuing maintenance costs. In spite of steadily increased expenditures on flood control
structures, national losses due to floods continue to rise at an alarming rate. It is ironic
that the most important factor contributing to this situation is persistent invasion of the
flood plains by those land users most likely to suffer large financial losses from floods.
Any development in flood plains that does not actually require access to waterfront is
likely to become an unnecessary financial burden to local, state and/or federal
government and should be subject to very strict regulation.
1. Unless water access is required, development in flood plains should be prevented
rather than later attempting to protect such investments through construction of
flood control structures at public expense.
2. Natural vegetation in flood plains should be preserved to the maximum degree
possible to prevent erosion, retard runoff and protect the natural beauty of the
3. Any structures built in flood plains should be designed to allow free flow of
4. There should be no open storage of fertilizers, chemicals or or other potentially
polluting materials in flood plains.
5. Any flood plain development should be serviced by central sewage facilities,
with treatment plants located out of the flood plain.
6. All activities in flood plains should consider their potential detrimental effects
on water quality and downstream resources and take adequate measures to
prevent these effects.
7. Flood damage prevention facilities should be incorporated in all flood plain
8. Channel improvement projects intended to provide flood protection should be
considered only after it has been determined by appropriate state and federal
agencies that land treatment and all feasible floodwater retarding structures will
not provide an adequate level of flood protection.
9. Channel improvement should not be used where its primary purpose is to bring
new land into agricultural production or make land suitable for nonagricultural
10. In nonagricultural flood plains where water access is required, the level of flood
protection should be sufficient to protect users from a 100-year flood, with
non-structural devices (zoning, flood proofing, early warning systems, minimum
ground floor elevations, etc.) being the preferred techniques for achieving the
11. In cases where channel improvements for flood protection have been fully
analyzed and justified, such projects should be carried out with minimum losses
to fish and wildlife and in accordance with Soil Conservation Service Watersheds
Memorandum 108, "Guidelines for Planning and Review of Channel Improve-
These are peripheral parcels of land and/or water having exceptional scenic or
aesthetic values. Such areas may include bluffs, hills or other vantage points that offer a
unique scenic perspective. The intangible and sometimes tangible values to be realized
from preserving the character of these areas is becoming increasingly evident, especially in
areas undergoing rapid urbanization. Unfortunately, as urbanization occurs, the long-term
intangible values of scenic vistas generally are sacrificed for immediate economic interests
unless these areas are in public ownership or are subject to scenic easements.
1. Scenic vistas should be purchased by local government if possible.
2. If outright purchase of scenic vistas by local government is not possible,
purchase of scenic easements should be attempted.
3. Control measures such as tax incentives, zoning and strict building codes can and
should be applied to scenic vistas to protect their character.
4. Development in the vicinity of scenic vistas should not detract from the
character of the area.
5. Scenic quality should be given a high order of importance in local and regional
Forestry and Game Management Areas
These are areas having high-quality timber or good timber-producing potential and/or
support game populations large enough to allow inclusion into the state's game
management program. Forestry and game management areas owned by the state or
federal government are generally not subject to development pressures. Many such
privately-owned areas, however, are forced into development by taxation policies based
upon revenue-producing potential rather than actual use of the land. This situation can
thwart state efforts at retaining such areas in an undeveloped condition. The
recently-enacted "greenbelt law" (Ch. 72-181, Laws of Florida) provides tax incentives
for leaving forestry and game management areas in an undeveloped condition, and
landowners should be encouraged to take advantage of its provisions.
1. In general, forestry and game management areas should be left in an
2. Landowners wishing to retain their lands in an undeveloped condition should
take advantage of the significant tax savings provided by the recently-enacted
"greenbelt law" (Ch. 72-181, Laws of Florida).
These are areas specifically set aside for the protection of wildlife. Such areas may be
subject to multiple use, as in the case of state parks, all of which are game refuges.
Newly-enacted legislation (Ch. 72-309, Laws of Florida) allows the state to lease lands for
50 years or more for use as wildlife sanctuaries. It also provides tax relief on those lands.
1. Intensive development in or immediately adjacent to these areas should not be a
part of local development plans.
2. Low-intensity recreational development may be compatible with wildlife
refuges, but extreme caution should be taken to insure that wildlife values are
3. Owners of ecologically-important areas should be strongly encouraged to take
advantage of Ch. 72-309, Laws of Florida.
Parks and Recreation Areas
These are areas devoted to outdoor recreational activities of various types. This may
include historical and archaeological sites, game refuges or unique environmental features.
It is impossible for state government to meet all outdoor recreation needs of residents and
tourists. Therefore, local governments and private owners must be relied upon to satisfy a
large portion of the needs. As urbanization intensifies, this situation becomes increasingly
critical, emphasizing the wisdom of providing development controls that will prevent
degradation of recreation areas.
The recently-enacted "greenbelt law" (Ch. 72-181, Laws of Florida) provides a
mechanism for encouraging retention of privately-owned parks and recreation areas. By
offering tax incentives in accordance with this law, municipal and county governments
can aid the state significantly in meeting future outdoor recreation needs.
1. Local governments should formulate land use controls that will prevent
incompatible development in or adjacent to parks and recreation areas. These
controls should be designed to foster recreation-oriented development in these
areas and allow for future expansion of recreation facilities.
2. Owners of undeveloped lands having recreation potential should take advantage
of the significant tax savings provided by the greenbelt law.
Marginal lands, as used in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas, are those
areas that require major alterations before they are suitable for intensive development.
Examples of limitations of these areas are poor drainage, susceptibility to flooding, and
soils having low permeability, high water table and/or low-bearing strength. There are
varying degrees of marginality, and most of the limitations may be adequately overcome
by technology. Generally speaking, however, intensive development of areas having
moderate to severe limitations involves excessive modification of the landscape, large
initial expenditure of funds, a high maintenance cost, and presents continuing problems
for local government. In addition, intensive development of marginal lands can generally
be anticipated to have significant ecological impact unless very careful planning precedes
1. Because of the wide range of problems associated with intensive development of
marginal lands, policies of local government should specify extreme caution and
very careful site planning before intensive development takes place in these
2. Development that does occur in marginal lands should utilize central sewage
collection and treatment facilities.
3. Special care should be taken to minimize environmental impact of landscape
modification in marginal lands.
Development areas, as used in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas, include
(1) areas already developed, (2) undeveloped areas now vacant or used for other purposes,
including forestry and agriculture, which are intrinsically suitable for intensive develop-
ment, and (3) undeveloped lands having some physical limitations-drainage problems,
poor permeability, salt-water intrusion-which can be corrected by minor drainage
techniques, central sewage systems or central water supplies. In general, these lands are
not considered to be environmentally fragile. However, there are presently developed
areas that would have been recommended for "conservation" and "preservation" zoning
had they not already been developed. Such areas are classified as "conflict" areas in the
atlas. Decisions concerning specific uses within "development" areas are considered
almost entirely the responsibility of local government, an exception being developments
on the immediate shoreline of estuaries and along the open Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic
Ocean. In addition, activities in development areas which may degrade air and water
quality are subject to direct state regulation. The other subcategories of "development
areas" are included in the atlas as an aid to local government and developers. These
subcategories are designed to indicate the most favorable areas for development, the
relative degree of landscape modification needed, and the types of physical limitations
that may be anticipated.
Class IV Waters
These are surface waters designated by the Florida Department of Pollution Control
for use as agricultural and industrial water supply. Because their primary use is for
irrigation, stock watering or industrial purposes, these waters are vulnerable to
contamination from excessive nutrients, pesticides or industrial wastes. For this reason,
maintenance of ecological balance in these waters is very difficult, but unless reasonable
water quality is maintained in Class IV waters, there is a potential for inflicting severe
ecological damage on adjacent water bodies.
1. Extreme care should be taken to minimize irrigation runoff into Class IV waters.
2. Feed lots and livestock pens should have pollution control facilities that will
prevent contamination of surface waters by animal wastes.
3. Any industrial contaminants or other deleterious substances introduced into
Class IV waters should not be in amounts sufficient to render the waters
unsuitable for agricultural irrigation, livestock watering, industrial cooling,
industrial process watering supply purposes, and fish survival.
Class V Waters
These are surface waters designated by the Florida Department of Pollution Control
for navigation, utility and industrial use. Standards for these waters are the lowest of any
applied to surface waters in Florida. These waters will possibly be reclassified as
corrective measures are taken and water quality improves.
1. Because the low quality of Class V waters poses a hazard to adjacent water
resources, all possible measures should be taken to upgrade them immediately.
Presently Developed Lands-Non-Conflict
These are areas developed in a manner compatible with the natural environment.
These areas require little or no state action to protect the public interest, an exception
being in the case of new shoreline development that could threaten coastal resources.
1. Further development in these areas should be subject to strict controls at the
local level to insure compatibility with both the natural environment and
Presently Developed Lands-Conflict
These are presently developed areas that would have been classified "preservation" or
"conservation" under Coastal Coordinating Council criteria. A wide range of conflicts
exists within this category and includes development that has unnecessarily destroyed
significant natural resources or has not taken into account natural forces and/or
characteristics that create significant problems for society. Examples are: use of septic
tanks in unsuitable areas, filling in of valuable estuarine areas for housing subdivisions,
construction in the hurricane flood zone that does not recognize the hazards involved,
and drainage of major swamps and marshes for intensive uses.
1. Further intensification of incompatible development in these areas should be
discouraged by local government.
2. In the event that intensive uses within "conflict" areas become victim to natural
catastrophes such as hurricane winds, erosion, storm surge, etc., future
redevelopment should be restricted to uses that recognize and adequately
neutralize the conflicts involved.
Undeveloped Lands Suitable for Intensive Development
These are lands needing little or no modification to make them suitable for
development. Such areas have elevations, soils, topography, and other physical conditions
favorable for development if appropriate environmental safeguards are utilized. It is not
necessarily advocated that all such areas be intensively developed. Rather, it is the Coastal
Coordinating Council's intent to indicate to local planners, developers and governmental
agencies the most favorable areas for development and to stress the importance of guiding
future growth into these areas. Controls on distribution, density and design of
development within such areas are almost entirely the responsibility of local government,
with possible technical assistance from the state and federal government upon request.
1. All development in these areas should utilize adequate environmental safeguards.
2. Local governments should formulate long-range plans for orderly development in
these areas and adopt land use controls which assure that location and timing of
new development is in accordance with the ability of government to provide and
maintain necessary services such as streets, sewers, solid waste disposal, water
supplies, schools, and police and fire protection.
Undeveloped Lands Suitable for Intensive Development with Corrections
These are areas having some physical limitations but suitable for intensive
development with certain minor modifications such as improvements of drainage,
installation of central sewage facilities and central water supplies. These areas are
illustrated in the Florida Coastal Zone Management Atlas to assist local planning and
zoning officials, developers and landowners in determining those areas where intensive
development activities will require additional expenditures to become environmentally
compatible. Development controls within these areas will be almost entirely the
responsibility of local government with possible technical assistance from state and
federal agencies upon request.
1. Local governments should formulate long-range development plans for these
2. Local governments should adopt effective performance standards to insure that
development in these areas is compatible with the physical environment.
3. Local governments should adopt land use controls which assure that location
and timing of new development is in accordance with the ability of government
to provide and maintain necessary services such as streets, sewers, solid waste
disposal, water supplies, schools, and police and fire protection.
4. Developers involved in these areas should assume, as a part of construction costs,
neutralization of any conflicts with the natural environment.
Hurricane Flood Zone
Significant development has already occurred in our hurricane flood zone without
taking into account the hazards involved. Much of this development has so far been
fortunate, suffering little or no damage from hurricane-driven tides. History and
probability calculations, however, indicate that many intensively developed sections of
our shorelines are in for a rude awakening. If development in these areas is allowed to
continue without consideration for natural forces, probable storm losses will increase at a
rate proportional to increased development.
Future storm losses can be minimized, but only if they are anticipated and planned
for. This, of necessity, will involve education of the general public through civil defense
programs and imposition of stringent building standards in areas subject to hurricane
(Also see Conservation Areas-Hurricane Flood Zone)
1. Local governments should adopt special building standards for the 100-year
hurricane flood zone, with provisions for utilization of latest wind damage and
flood prevention techniques.
2. Building permits should not be granted for new construction or renovation of
existing structures in the hurricane flood zone unless design features can be
anticipated to withstand hurricane force winds and storm-driven waters.
GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS APPLICABLE
THROUGHOUT THE COASTAL ZONE
Immediate Shoreline Use Priorities
With limited shoreline and increasing competitive demands, agencies having advisory
or controlling powers over shoreline development must consider priorities of land use.
Those activities that can only function through use of waterfront property or access to it
must have first priority for inclusion in shoreline areas designated for development. Of
second priority are those activities that can function inland but a shoreline location
significantly enhances the land use on an economic or aesthetic basis. Any waterfront use,
of course, must still make every effort to minimize environmental impact. Land uses not
requiring a coastal location or that are not economically or aesthetically enhanced to a
significant degree should be discouraged from waterfront locations since there are
sufficient areas inland. Multiple compatible uses of a locale are to be encouraged.
A considered priority of shoreline uses can be summarized as follows:
2. Conservation (including Recreation)
a. Military (where necessary to assure the security of the area and country)
b. Ports and Water-Related Industry
c. Transportation (when waterfront location is mandatory)
d. Utilities (when waterfront location is mandatory. Transportation and
Utilities are fundamental to the development of any area.)
e. Water-Related Commercial
g. Commercial enhanced by waterfront
h. Industry enhanced by waterfront
1. Local development policies should reflect the above listing of shoreline use
Military activities are, for the most part, beyond the control of local government.
Generally speaking, development of installations or modifications to military facilities are
dictated by considerations of a much wider scope than can be viewed at the local level.
National policy is to minimize environmental impact of military activities, with special
regulations covering most items of concern from a planning standpoint. Therefore, state
guidelines for military installations are inappropriate.
Ports and Water-Related Industry
Ports and water-related industries are basic activities upon which many other
segments of the economy depend. Efficiency and economy usually dictate that the
various secondary industries dependent upon primary industries should locate close to
them. This reduces the cost to the public of added services such as roads and also reduces
Unfortunately, most of Florida's ports have been hampered by unfavorable physical
conditions and encroachment of urban activities into adjacent areas. These factors make
port and industrial expansion, modernization of facilities or introduction of new
industries extremely difficult. As a result, Florida's ports face the unpleasant task of
overcoming physical and ecological restrictions on development as well as serious
conflicts with urban activities. In some cases facilities may be relocated to more favorable
areas where expansion and better efficiency are possible, but the selection of suitable
locations is extremely limited and will become increasingly critical in the future.
It has become evident that Florida's ports, if they are to remain competitive with
other ports having more favorable physical conditions, will have to explore alternatives to
traditional methods of cargo transshipment. The trend toward use of ever-larger ships
indicates that continued channel dredging has little promise of meeting depth
requirements of future shipping, and significant ecological damage can be anticipated if
past practices of port development are not altered. It must be realized, however, that
dredging and filling to some degree is absolutely necessary for efficient port operation.
But this should not be the only alternative considered for enlarging and improving port
operations. Offshore transfer facilities must be adequately considered as a means of
overcoming the need for dredging ever-deeper harbors and channels to accommodate large
1. Some dredging and filling will be necessary to provide for port expansion and
maintenance, but any permitted fill or dredging should be in accord with an
over-all regional port development plan evaluated by state agency professionals
and then modified as necessary to minimize any harmful effects.
2. Ports should be designed in a fashion that requires a minimum of maintenance.
Water scouring action should be utilized if possible to prevent formation of silt
traps which require continuous maintenance dredging.
3. Due to the scarcity of suitable port sites in Florida, creation of new ports in
competition with older, well-established ports should be discouraged.
4. Offshore transfer facilities and lightering operations should be fully explored as
an alternative to major channel and harbor-deepening projects.
5. Port districts should project space needs for port and water-related industrial
expansion at least 20 years into the future and reserve adequate space for these
purposes. Tax policy should recognize that not all of the reserved land will be
needed immediately and other uses can be allowed in the interim.
6. Land identified with water-related industry should be used by industries
specifically requiring waterfront sites. Industries linked to them but not
requiring waterfront should be located away from the shoreline.
7. To reduce shoreline pressure that will develop for industries not requiring
waterfront sites, freeways and railroads in upland locations should be en-
courage, with nearby sites reserved for industries requiring the combination of
rail and freeway.
8. Consideration should be given to cooperative use of docking, parking, cargo
handling and storage facilities.
9. All port facilities should have up-to-date oil spill equipment and the capability to
employ these on short notice.
Transportation and Utilities
Construction of transportation routes and utilities in Florida generally anticipates
projected needs for the foreseeable future, and although this has not been the case in many
past projects, direct ecological effects are now being considered. It is apparent, however,
that consideration of direct effects, by themselves, is not enough, and second and third
order effects must also be considered if possible.
Realizing this, it becomes evident that in many cases properly analyzed and planned
projects can be an effective tool for guiding future development toward more favorable
end products. This can ultimately reduce undesirable second and third order conse-
quences such as pollution from development, flooding problems, high maintenance costs
for local government, and long-term destruction of natural resources.
1. Major highways, freeways and railways should be located inland from the shore,
except in port and heavy industrial areas. Existing shoreline roads should not be
expanded but reserved for slow-moving recreational traffic.
2. All new transportation and utilities construction should attempt to avoid coastal
3. In cases where coastal wetlands cannot be avoided, bridging should be used to
the maximum degree possible rather than filling to create road beds. Toll plazas,
service yards, or other ancillary facilities should be located on existing land, not
on new fill. The facility should be designed in a manner that does not invite
additional filling of the waterfront for other purposes.
4. Highway corridor analysis in undeveloped areas should consider suitability of the
adjacent land for urbanization. Routing should be designed to guide growth into
favorable areas and away from ecologically-sensitive areas. In cases where this is
not possible, access should be strictly limited.
5. Structures over water should be designed to allow free flow of water and not
cause excessive shoaling, as well as provide adequate clearance for commercial
and pleasure boats.
6. Maximum care should be taken to prevent concentrated runoff from roadways
from entering adjacent water bodies. Storm sewers, ditches or other drainage
systems should not empty directly into open water. Holding basins should be
created to allow settling of suspended matter and gradual release (preferably
through swales, wetlands and other areas of natural sheet flow) to open water.
7. All slopes and road cuts should be stabilized by vegetation or other means as
soon as possible in the construction of the facility to prevent unnecessary
8. Catwalks and fishing platforms should be constructed on new bridges, where
appropriate, to provide recreational use of these structures.
9. All transportation and utilities construction that involves wetlands or navigable
waters must have state approval.
10. Maximum retention of natural vegetation should be attempted with all
transportation and utilities projects.
11. Underground utilities placement should be strongly encouraged.
Commercial developments are those uses which are involved in wholesale or retail
trade, services or other business activities. Such activities are generally intensive uses of
space and usually require extensive service facilities such as parking to accommodate
1. Commercial shoreline development should be restricted to those activities that
require a waterfront location. Professional offices, hospitals, shopping centers,
and other non-water dependent commercial activities should be located inland.
2. In shoreline areas where commercial development is already a dominant use,
parking facilities should be located away from the shore, with public access
provided if possible.
3. Any shoreline commercial development should be compatible with adjacent
4. Aesthetics should be a primary consideration in local decisions regarding
commercial shoreline uses.
Marina Location and Design
Marinas are facilities which provide boat launching and storage, boating supplies and
services for small pleasure craft. There are three basic types of marinas in Florida: the
open structure type, where open pilework and/or floating breakwaters are used; the solid
construction type, where bulkheads and land-fill are used to provide moorings and
_ ~~___I _____
shelters; and the dry storage type, where boats are stored in specially-designed warehouses
placed entirely on the upland. Each type has advantages and disadvantages to varying
degrees, depending upon site characteristics. Dry storage facilities appear to be the most
efficient type for boats smaller than 24 feet. For larger vessels, wet storage (docking)
must generally be provided.
To be successful, small boat marinas generally must have sufficient demand for
services, protection from rough water, slight water currents, easy access by land, short
running distances to popular fishing and boating waters, and room for expansion of
All marinas affect aquatic or marine habitats to some degree, but adverse effects can
be minimized by utilizing proper location and design features.
1. Marinas should be located in areas where maximum physical advantages exist
and where least dredging and maintenance will be required.
2. For marinas catering primarily to craft smaller than 24 feet, upland dry storage
facilities should be used rather than dockage.
3. Marina construction should avoid unnecessary destruction of marsh areas,
shellfish beds and submerged grasses.
4. Open dockage extending to deep water should be considered as an alternative to
dredging for navigational access.
5. Turning basins and navigation channels should be designed to prevent long-term
degradation of water quality. Deadend or deep canals without adequate flushing
should be avoided.
6. Marinas that cater to live-aboard craft should be equipped with sewage collection
systems for servicing the vessels.
7. Regional as well as local need data should be considered as input in location of
8. All plans for marina development should be submitted for review by appropriate
state regulatory agencies at the earliest possible time to prevent unnecessary
delays in gaining approval.
9. Spoil disposal areas should be designated and obtained prior to initial
development of marina facilities.
Florida's shoreline generally requires some degree of modification before it can be
utilized for development of any sort. But such modification, unless carefully planned, can
have adverse effects far beyond the area directly altered for development. For this reason,
all shoreline modifications are subject to close scrutiny and regulation by state and
federal agencies. State permits are required for all construction below the line of mean
high water in navigable waters.
Bulkheads and Bulkhead Lines
Bulkheads are retaining structures utilized to stabilize a shoreline or to make it more
accessible. A bulkhead line is a delineation of the maximum seaward extent to which a
bulkhead may be allowed. Such delineation requires state approval. A common practice
in Florida has been to erect vertical seawalls out into the water and then place fill
material on the landward side of the structure. This practice has proven in many cases to
be both ineffective and very destructive to marine productivity. Other techniques are
being explored as means of overcoming those problems.
1. Bulkheads should never be constructed until a bulkhead line has been formally
approved by the Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust
Fund, and other necessary approvals are received.
2. Bulkhead lines should be set at, or landward of, the mean high water line.
3. Where possible, sloping rip-rap structures should be used rather than vertical
4. Bulkhead construction should avoid sharp-angle turns that may collect trash or
cause shoaling or flushing problems.
Breakwaters, Jetties and Groins
Breakwaters, jetties and groins are structures used to stabilize beaches and other
shorelines subject to longshore drift currents. Such structures are rarely successful for
long periods of time unless they are part of a comprehensive plan that considers shore
processes affecting large stretches of shoreline. Isolated stabilization attempts generally
cause more problems than they solve, and for this reason, plans for all such structures
must be reviewed and approved by the Florida Bureau of Beaches and Shores.
1. Any plans for breakwaters, jetties and groins should be analyzed to insure that
erosion or undesirable shoaling is not induced in adjacent areas.
2. Any plans for beach stabilization projects should be submitted for review by the
Florida Bureau of Beaches and Shores at the earliest possible time.
Dredging, Filling and Artificial Waterways
Until recently, development in many coastal areas of Florida has been synonymous
with dredging and filling. Thousands of acres of low-lying or submerged lands have been
made usable by this technique, and in some areas, this may be the only practical means of
making the land suitable for development. But detrimental effects of such development
may in many cases outweigh the benefits.
Most residential developments created by dredging and filling utilize artificial
waterways, not primarily for waterfront access as is often assumed, but as a source of fill
material to raise the adjacent land to minimum usable elevations. This has, in numerous
cases, resulted in labyrinthine dead-end canal systems that become liabilities to
maintenance of water quality. In addition to this problem land so created generally has a
significant hurricane flood hazard, causes pollution problems if septic tanks are used, and
results in loss of ecological values of the area. Artificial waterways also create potential
salt-water intrusion problems.
Dredging in shallow water areas can always be anticipated to have some adverse
environmental impact, at least temporarily. There are cases where such effects are a
necessary trade-off for legitimate public interest projects, but there are techniques that
can be employed to minimize these adverse effects and thus maximize public benefits.
1. Dredging and/or filling of submerged lands should be kept to a minimum.
2. Residential developments that are feasible only through creation of land by
dredging and filling of submerged areas should be strongly discouraged by local
3. Proposed upland waterway systems should be carefully considered by local
regulatory bodies before submission for state review to determine the long-term
effect the entire upland development will have on water quality.
4. Any state-approved excavations in submerged areas to obtain fill should be held
to a minimum, i.e. raise only the house pads, streets and driveways to the
5. Residential development should not be permitted directly on any artificial
6. Buffer zones of natural vegetation should be established between development
and any waterways.
7. Artificial waterways should be designed to ensure adequate flushing. Dead-end
waterways should be avoided.
8. Waterway connections to open water should be located in areas where impact on
the littoral zone will be minimized.
9. Approved upland waterway construction should be done in the dry, if possible,
so that shaping and stabilization of the banks can be completed before the
"plug" is removed for connection to open waters.
10. Artificial waterways should generally not be excavated to depths greater than six
feet, mean low water, to allow establishment of vegetation on the canal bottoms.
11. The sides of artificial waterways should be gently sloping rather than vertical to
facilitate biological as well as physical stabilization of the canal shoreline.
12. The berm of artificial waterways should be raised so that there is a gradual slope
away from the canal edge. This will help prevent introduction of contaminants
into adjacent water bodies.
13. Because present state policy specifies that the process of dredging upland canals
does not thereby establish justification for the later issuance of a permit to
connect them to public waters, all necessary permits for construction should be
obtained before any residential lots are sold in areas requiring dredge and fill.
14. Dredging and filling for public shoreline projects should be planned for only if
the activity is water dependent and there are no feasible alternatives.
15. Dredging for navigational access should be well planned to prevent unnecessary
channels. In areas having shallow water shorelines, peripheral canals on the
upland, leading to a central navigational channel, should be considered rather
than separate access channels for each waterfront landowner. Also, central
marina facilities should be used if possible rather than providing individual
16. All dredging spoil material should be placed on suitable upland rather than in
water areas. There usually is a fee charged for any such material removed from
state-owned submerged areas and placed on privately-owned upland.
17. All dredging in submerged areas should be done with hydraulic suction dredges
rather than draglines.
18. Turbidity control mechanisms such as diapers and weirs should be used to
protect water quality in adjacent areas during construction.
19. Adequate diking should be constructed to contain fill material on upland areas
and allow for settling of fine materials.
20. Runoff from dredging operations should utilize natural drainage patterns where
21. All plans for dredging should be submitted for review by state regulatory
agencies at the earliest possible time.
Docks and Piers
Docks and piers are probably the oldest method of gaining access to deep water.
They are also probably the least objectionable from an ecological point of view. They do,
however, sometimes pose navigational problems, restrict public use of the waters, and
cause conflicts with area aesthetics and adjacent land uses.
1. Docks and piers should not hinder navigation or public use of the waters.
2. Docks and piers should be constructed and maintained in a manner that does not
degrade area aesthetics or conflict with adjacent shoreline uses.
3. Docks and piers should be constructed in a manner that does not restrict water
4. Docks and piers, in addition to local approval, require permits from the Trustees
of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
All approvals should be obtained before any dock or pier construction is
5. Maintenance of docks and piers is the responsibility of the owner. Local
governments should enact and enforce ordinances which prevent such structures
from becoming public nuisances. Such ordinances should provide for removal of
neglected structures at the owner's expense.
Removal of Natural Vegetation
Natural vegetation serves several important functions in coastal areas. Among these
are provision of habitat for various important animal and bird species; air purification;
noise reduction; retardation of runoff and retention of soil moisture; prevention of
shoreline erosion; buffering of storm surges; prevention of wind erosion; utilization of
excess nutrients; and filtration of sediments and pollutants which may endanger water
quality in adjacent areas. Thus, it is apparent that "worthless" vegetation that poses a
hinderance to development may actually be serving a more important function in
preserving environmental quality.
The importance of preventing unnecessary ground clearing cannot be overstressed,
particularly in shoreline areas and on slopes. Retention of as much natural vegetation as
possible will aid considerably in protecting water quality, marine productivity, and living
conditions in the coastal zone.
1. Development should preserve as permanent open space buffer zones of natural
vegetation on slopes and along the shoreline.
2. In areas where temporary removal of vegetation is necessary during construction,
replanting should be carried out as soon as feasible.
3. Landscaping around developments should utilize, where possible, native species
that are adapted to soil, water, and temperature conditions of the area. This
allows ground cover without introduction of fertilizers, pesticides and other
potentially harmful materials that are often necessary for survival of non-
indigenous plants. Many times native plants can be salvaged before development
occurs and later used for landscaping.
Development in Wetland Areas
The values associated with Florida's wetlands have only recently been recognized by
the public. But there is now little disagreement among agencies involved in resource-use
management that these areas are one of our most valuable resources. There is also little
disagreement among these agencies as to wetlands' sensitivity to alteration, particularly
by drainage. Activities that have little effect in other locations have a wide range of
effects in wetlands areas. For this reason, wetlands development should not be
1. Wetlands should be avoided by all development if possible.
2. Any development that does occur in wetlands areas should take special care to
avoid unnecessary ecological or hydrological damage to the area.
Residential development has probably had more impact on Florida's landscape than
has any other single type of development. The prospect of continued rapid population
increase, primarily from in-migration, suggests that this situation will continue into the
future. This presents problems to both state and local governments in that residential
development is not always a benefit, even in a strictly economic sense.
With new residents come demands for services such as schools, police and fire
protection, water supplies, sewage treatment, electricity, road maintenance, etc. New
residents arrive expecting to have these services already available, but in rapidly-growing
areas this is seldom the case. The result is often deficit spending to provide the services,
rapidly-increasing taxes, and/or an absence of adequate facilities and services. This can
create a situation where effective planning is stymied, resulting in unnecessary destruction
of natural resources, hodge-podge development, and general degradation of living
conditions in the area.
The answer to this problem is not a halt to all future residential development, but
rather to allow only development that is well planned and in accordance with local
government's ability to provide and maintain necessary services.
This demands that residential development be allowed only in those areas where
physical conditions will not present future maintenance problems from flooding,
inadequate septic tank functioning, shoreline erosion, etc. It also demands that timing of
development be in phase with expansion of sewer and water facilities, building of new
roads and schools, increased police and fire protection, recreational facilities, etc. The
common practice of allowing "leap frog" subdivision development will thus have to be
changed to one of permitting only orderly, timed development in areas where services can
be provided. Unless this is done, the long-term consequences are clear: urban blight,
slums, higher taxes, inadequate services, and environmental degradation.
1. Effective subdivision regulations should be enacted and enforced by local
government. State assistance is available for drafting such regulations.
2. Residential subdivisions should not be permitted in areas where local govern-
ment will inherit unnecessary maintenance problems from the developer.
3. The costs for roads, sidewalks, water and sewer lines, and storm sewers within
residential subdivisions should be borne by the developer, with project
acceptance by local government only if rigid construction standards are met.
4. Local governments should develop long-range plans for guiding residential
subdivision development into areas suitable for development.
5. Subdivision regulations should be performance-oriented rather than means-
oriented if possible to allow flexibility in the techniques used to achieve desired
goals of local government.
6. Residential subdivisions should be planned in accordance with natural charac-
teristics of the land rather than simply laying out a grid pattern that ignores
slope, elevation, drainage patterns, natural vegetation, and accessibility.
7. Maximum retention of green areas and open space should be encouraged, with
density and setbacks being controlled by utilization of the "planned unit
development" concept where possible.
8. Runoff from streets and yards should be carefully controlled to prevent flooding
in adjacent areas or pollution of water bodies. Catchment basins should be
constructed at storm sewer outfalls to prevent silt and other pollutants from
entering water areas.
Proliferation of septic tanks is one of the most serious problems associated with
development in many areas. Inadequate controls on this aspect of development has, in
numerous cases, resulted in septic tanks being used where soils are not suitable or at
densities far too great for proper functioning. This poses a threat to water quality, public
health, and marine resources. The present means of controlling septic tank use is through
local building codes subject to state rules. In many areas public apathy has been so great
that no building codes exist. In other areas they are not enforced adequately. In still
other areas, development is occurring so rapidly that local officials cannot review the
applications fast enough to keep up. This situation can only be remedied through
long-range planning at the local level, carried out in conjunction with rigidly enforced
1. Septic tanks should not be allowed in residential subdivisions built on soils
having either low permeability, high water table or high organic matter content.
2. Septic tank drainfields should be located at distances far enough away from
water bodies to preclude seepage from the drainfields from entering the water
body. In no case should this be less than fifty feet from the high water line of
the water body.
3. Septic tank use should be planned for only in rural areas. For urban subdivisions
and high density use areas, septic tanks should not be considered as a permanent
answer to sewage disposal, regardless of soil conditions.
4. The use of septic tanks should be only in conformance with rules adopted by the
Florida Department of Pollution Control (Ch. 17-13, F.A.C.).
Solid Waste Disposal Sanitary Landfill Sites
Solid waste problems in Florida and especially in the coastal zone are becoming
increasingly complex. Each person in Florida now generates about five pounds of solid
waste per day. By 1990, it is anticipated that the per capital generation of solid waste
should reach up to 12 pounds a day, more than double the present amount. If present
trends continue, by the year 2000 generation of solid waste in Florida's coastal zone will
exceed 75,000 tons per day or over 27 million tons per year. This would cover a road
25-feet wide from Tallahassee to Miami to a height of 50 feet!
The problems associated with disposal of such massive quantities of material are
compounded by concentration in a relatively small portion of the state's land area and
the increasing scarcity of suitable disposal sites. If we are to prevent water pollution,
habitat destruction, health problems, loss of aesthetics, depressed real estate values and
unnecessary public expense brought about by improper solid waste management, it is
mandatory that every level of government become engaged in developing long-range solid
waste management programs.
1. Every municipality and county government should conduct a coordinated solid
waste management program.
2. All open dumps should be closed, converted to sanitary landfill operations or
employ other approved methods of disposal.
3. Selection and operation of sanitary landfills should be in accordance with a
long-term plan developed by competent authorities.
4. Solid waste management programs should be carried out on a regional basis
5. Appropriate agencies of local government should utilize the available talents and
assistance offered by the Solid Waste Planning Section of the Florida
Department of Pollution Control.
6. Proposed developments in the coastal zone should be analyzed carefully by local
governments to determine their impact on existing solid waste management
Forest Management Practices
Florida's coastal zone contains substantial areas that are committed to production of
timber products. This activity constitutes an important segment of the economy in some
locales and is vital to proper functioning of our entire society. But timber production is
an extensive land use, with very low profits per unit of production and long time periods
required for realization of profits. For this reason, some timber management operations
have employed utilization of faster-growing species of trees with more trees per acre.
Experience has shown, however, that extremely high density plantings are not generally
as efficient as lower density plantings. Also, because of certain harvesting advantages, the
practice of clear-cutting and replanting of solid stands of single-species trees has become
widespread, and ecological and aesthetic values have, in some cases, been threatened.
Florida's recently-enacted "Greenbelt Law" relieves some of the pressure for
realizing maximum possible profits from forest lands and makes practices such as selective
cutting and multiple use more attractive to timber interests. There are certain other
techniques that can be employed to lessen the harmful effects of timber production and
harvesting, and these should be used as much as possible.
1. Timber Cutting
A. Selective, seed tree, or shelterwood harvesting should be employed to favor
natural regeneration for all areas unless timber stand conditions require clearcutting
and artificial regeneration. All clearcutting should be done in such a manner as to
create irregular-shaped areas, preferably following natural vegetation, topographic
boundaries or natural stand boundaries to create edge effect.
B. Clearcutting of areas bordering publicly maintained roads should be
restricted to a distance of one-fourth mile or greater away from the road and
designed to fit the environment.
C. When two or more clearcut areas are planned for the same or adjacent
compartments, they should be separated by timber stands of at least half the acreage
site or greater, and at least ten years old. When two or more clearcut areas are
planned for the same or adjacent compartments, they should be separated by similar
timber stands of equal or greater size.
D. Harvesting of hardwood stands should be restricted to selective cutting, with
cutting designed to favor development of valuable wildlife tree species where
possible. Do not convert good hardwood stands to pine.
E. Key wildlife areas in all timber types should be preserved. These would
include hammocks, rookeries or other nesting areas, live oak clumps, and scrub areas.
Every effort should be made to enhance natural vegetative areas that are important as
food producers or furnish special habitat requirements.
F. There should generally be no timber cutting for a minimum of fifty yards
along each side of a major or navigable stream, with selective cutting only for the
next fifty yards.
G. There should generally be no timber cutting for a minimum of 15 yards
along minor, intermittent or non-navigable streams, with selective cutting only for
the next 25 yards.
H. In areas where conditions warrant harvesting of trees adjacent to navigable
streams, care should be taken to prevent blockage of the stream to boat traffic. Any
trees so felled should be removed before logging operations are completed.
2. Tree Planting
A. Plantings should be spaced 8' x 12' (454 trees per acre) or greater for slash,
loblolly or sand pine, and 6' x 12' (605 trees per acre) or greater for longleaf pine.
All planting areas should be site prepared.
B. In all pine plantings the plantation size should not exceed 75% of the total
stand acres. The remaining 25% should, if possible, be set aside for wildlife purposes
including key areas, food plots, natural areas and strips around pond margins and
between stands. In all pine plantings the plantation size should not exceed 60 acres.
C. An uncleared natural fringe of one or two-chain width should be left around
all cypress ponds. Mature timber can be harvested from this fringe.
D. A cleared one to two-chain strip should be left between planted and natural
areas, or between two planted areas.
E. Tree planting along main roads should be separated by a minimum distance
of five chains and should have a minimum age variation of five years.
3. Timber Stand Improvement
A. There should be no large continuous areas of TSI work. Small pockets not
exceeding one-half acre of good reproduction in need of selective release should be
B. There should be no TSI work in areas considered key wildlife lands, except
to enhance wildlife.
4. Controlled Burning
A. Plans should be made to control burn suitable areas every two to four years.
Any controlled burning should be done in compliance with pollution control
B. Selective summer burning is permissible, providing benefits are greater than
losses. Special consideration should be given to wildlife and aesthetic values.
A. Specialized forest management should be employed as necessary to protect
or increase rare, endangered or otherwise unique species of vertebrates, invertebrates
or plants. A minimum of ten undisturbed acres should be left around colonies of the
red cockaded woodpecker, with a minimum of five acres around individual nest trees.
Additional consideration should be given to areas containing active nests of Bald
Eagles and Ospreys.
B. Where possible, timberlands should be open to the public for hunting,
fishing, camping, and other compatible outdoor sports.
In general, agriculture occupies only a small portion of Florida's coastal zone, with
citrus groves, vegetable crops, ornamental flowers, and ranching accounting for most of
this activity. However, there are vast areas adjacent to the coastal zone that are
committed to agriculture, with citrus production and ranching being the most important
from a coastal zone management point of view. A primary state concern with these
important activities relates to their potential for damaging coastal zone resources. It is
mandatory that all economic activities, including agriculture, consider prevention of
pollution a part of their operating expenses.
Citrus and Truck Farms
Florida has long been recognized as the citrus capital of the nation and a winter
vegetable center. The state produces at least 85% of the grapefruit, 70% of the oranges,
and virtually all of the tangerines grown in the United States. The production of
vegetables, though not as impressive as citrus, is a very significant part of U.S. production.
Ironically, one of the primary problems facing the citrus industry is the ability to
produce too well, thus creating a marketing problem. In addition to this, foreign
competition, rising taxes, rising production costs, and urban growth pressures are factors
working against continued expansion of citrus production in the coastal zone.
Unfortunately, expansion that does take place is generally into areas that are of marginal
value for this activity and have the potential for causing widespread damage to coastal
Thousands of acres of Florida's wetlands have been converted to citrus and truck
farming use in recent years, and many long-term problems are becoming apparent. For
instance, fertilizers and pesticides have entered coastal waters, contributing to eutrophica-
tion, reduction of bird populations, and reduction in fish populations in some areas.
Other areas have been subject to salt-water contamination of water supplies, brought
about by over-withdrawals of ground water for irrigation. In still other areas loss of muck
soils is becoming a very difficult problem. It is apparent that prevention of such effects
must be a significant concern in future citrus and vegetable production.
1. Further expansion of ctirus groves and vegetable farms into wetlands areas
should be stringently discouraged.
2. Aerial application of pesticides should not be done adjacent to wetlands or water
3. Citrus groves in close proximity to water bodies should utilize fertilizers in
pelletized, rather than powder form to help prevent their introduction to water
4. In order to prevent depletion and degradation of coastal ground water supplies,
citrus groves should not be expanded into areas where irrigation from ground
water sources is necessary.
5. Runoff from citrus groves and vegetable fields should be minimized and
6. Use of long-lasting pesticides on citrus groves and vegetable fields should be
Ranching and Dairying
Ranching and dairying activities in or adjacent to Florida's coastal zone have
increased dramatically in the last decade and can be expected to increase further in the
future. The potential for increased ranching activities is especially good and this activity
can be expected to make large expansion into areas that are not suitable for cropland or
The most significant problem to be dealt with in ranching and dairying, from the
standpoint of coastal zone management, is control of pollution caused by runoff from
pastures and feed lots. The pollution potential from cattle is roughly 19 times that to be
expected from humans. This is primarily in the form of excessive nutrients and bacteria,
which can cause closing of shellfish and swimming areas many miles away.
Ranching and dairying can make substantial use of many areas classified as
"Conservation" in the Coastal Zone Management Atlas, provided that the pollution
potential is recognized and appropriate protective measures are taken.
1. Pastures should not be planted immediately adjacent to streams, canals, lakes,
and other water bodies. A buffer zone of natural vegetation should be left in
2. Provisions should be made to contain runoff from feed lots, holding pens or
other high concentration areas. Treatment facilities for use of runoff waters as
fertilizer for pastures should be considered and utilized if possible.
3. Ranching or dairying activities should not be located in areas that could threaten
the quality of Class I or Class II waters.
Amenities, Aesthetics and Design
Amenities and aesthetics include almost all characteristics of natural and man-made
components of the landscape. (In the coastal zone "landscape" encompasses land,
streams, estuaries and bays, offshore waters of the Gulf or Atlantic, and air and sky
quality.) While aesthetics refers primarily to scenic or perceived qualities and amenities
involve the use of components of the landscape for recreation, recreational access,
property enhancement, and other environmental benefits, the two terms are closely allied
and should be considered integral for purposes of coastal zone management. From the
point of view of environmental quality, amenities and aesthetics can be interpreted to
mean qualities that enhance man's esteem of an area.
With growing public concern for environmental quality, it can be safely stated that
public esteem of the amenities and aesthetics of any particular area of the coastal zone
may potentially enhance or downgrade social and economic well-being within the area.
A comprehensive assessment of the coastal landscape, its biotic and non-biotic
resources, and the activities which man may arrange among them is a necessary step
toward long-term resource management and securing maximum public benefits, many of
which are very difficult to quantify in absolute terms.
Techniques are now available for making systematic assessment of relative aesthetic
values of various components of a given area's landscape. Also available are techniques for
maximizing aesthetic values in the development of an area. Research into this topic
indicates that many landscape components of high aesthetic value also have very high
ecological value and very low development suitability. Many other aesthetically valuable
areas are also well suited to development if proper design techniques are utilized. The
often complementary nature of aesthetics and ecological values gives additional support
to the concept of trying to maximize the public benefits of development through careful
analysis of, and design in accordance with, physical characteristics of the landscape.
1. The identification and assessment of aesthetic and amenity values and the
formulation of plans for maximizing these values should be a viable part of local
2. Maximum efforts should be made to provide, enhance, and preserve scenic views
of the water. Vista points should be included in local plans.
3. Proposed shoreland development should be restricted from blocking scenic views
unless there is an over-riding public interest.
4. To maximize the attractiveness of shoreland setting for dwellings, development
should display principles of good design. Subdivision layouts should be
developed in proper relation to existing and other proposed developments, the
topography, surface water, vegetative cover, and other natural features.
Compatibility of appearance as well as compatibility of use is desirable; this
means harmony, not necessarily uniformity.
5. To conserve natural landscape, the cluster development or planned unit
development is advantageous. Such development should be used to preserve
certain open space, especially along the shoreline, by legal means that will
guarantee its remaining open space in perpetuity.
6. All but the smallest waterfront subdivision should be required by local
authorities to provide pedestrian access to the water. Such access should be wide
enough to permit hedges or other landscaping on both sides, for both privacy
and aesthetic appeal.
7. The placing of utilities underground has definite aesthetic benefits and should be
8. Secondary or collector road construction through forested areas should preserve
as many trees along the right-of-way as possible.
9. Building heights along the waterfront should be restricted to prevent develop-
ment from creating "concrete barriers" to the waterfront. Construction of
condominiums and other high-rise structures should be restricted to areas away
from the shoreline.
10. The indiscriminate use of off-premise commercial advertising signs and billboards
which create a negative aesthetic effect should be prevented.
(Recommendations Subject to Change)
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