Section 163.3248, Florida Statutes, provides that one or more landowners may request that the local government designate their lands as a rural land stewardship area. Upon receipt of such a request, the local government may adopt a future land use overlay to designate all or portions of the lands as a rural land stewardship area if the properties currently are classified as predominantly agricultural, rural, open, open-rural, or a substantively equivalent land use. Economic incentives are applied in Rural Land Stewardship Areas to encourage the implementation of innovative and flexible planning and development strategies and the use of creative land use planning techniques to support a diverse economic and employment base.

Rural land stewardship areas are designed to establish a long-term incentive-based strategy to balance and guide the allocation of land to accommodate future land uses in a manner that protects the natural environment, stimulates economic growth and diversification, and encourages the retention of land for agriculture and other traditional rural land uses.

Criteria / Acreage

A rural land stewardship area must be

  • at least 10,000 acres,
  • located outside of municipalities and established urban service areas, and
  • designated by a plan amendment by each local government with jurisdiction over the rural land stewardship area.

Development within a designated rural land stewardship area is exempt from the development of regional impact program.

Program Features

The Rural Land Stewardship Program has several key features. It consists of:

  • A future land use overlay with accompanying criteria for the designation of receiving areas;
  • Strategies defining urban form; and,
  • Policies establishing a mix of densities and intensities that are adopted through the State Coordinated Review plan amendment process.

The designation of sending and receiving areas as well as the generation and transfer of stewardship credits are implemented through land development regulations.

Designated Rural Land Stewardship Areas as of January 2015

  • Collier County (designated by the Legislature)
  • St. Lucie County

Community Planning Staff Contacts

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