The Weekly Dirt: Live Local gets key changes, faces early battles

FAR tweaks leave door open to conflict

Weekly Dirt: Bal Harbour Fights Live Local Project
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Getty)

Live Local and prosper? Bal Harbour officials say not so fast. 

This week state lawmakers approved changes to the Live Local Act, which was signed into law last year and provides incentives for affordable and workforce housing. 

The Senate approved changes a few weeks ago, and the House did the same on Wednesday, meaning the tweaks await Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes:

  • The original law allowed developers to build bigger projects than allowed by local zoning, on the condition that at least 40 percent of the units are for renters earning at or below 120 percent of the area median income. It did not, somehow, address floor area ratio rules. The latest measure clarifies that Live Local projects can be 150 percent of the “highest currently allowed” FAR in the county or city where they are being built. 
  • Projects in close proximity to transit or a garage will get a break from parking requirements. 
  • Buildings surrounded by single-family homes have different height caps. 

Some communities are already trying to pass rules to guard themselves against Live Local projects — and probably more will follow suit. Consider Bal Harbour, which is facing off with Whitman Family Development over a planned 528-unit residential mixed-use building on the Bal Harbour Shops site, which would include a 70-room hotel.  

The village is trying to pass ordinances that could complicate the project, Lidia Dinkova reports. Those ordinances include a ban on so-called poor doors, requiring that market rate and affordable apartments share the same entrances. That is a policy that New York has had on the books since 2015.

Next week, the village council is expected to also vote on measures that curb construction noise, and introduce new setback rules and parking requirements. One of the ordinances also seeks to change FAR rules, and it is unclear whether this will clash with the FAR amendments to the Live Local Act. Those amendments apply to “the highest currently allowed” FAR, but if the village votes before DeSantis signs the Live Local changes…things could get messy. We’ll keep you posted!

What we’re thinking about: How effective will the Live Local Act be in encouraging affordable housing? Send a note to

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A thing we’ve learned: March 1 was apparently National Pig Day.  

Closing Time 

Residential: Canadian car dealer Kapil Dilawari paid $16.4 million for a spec mansion at 272 Thatch Palm Drive in Boca Raton’s Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club. David Roberts of Royal Palm Properties represented both the buyer and sellers, Leslie and Janet O’Hare.

Commercial: Chick-fil-A purchased a warehouse at 3225 Meridian Parkway in Weston for $50.5 million. The seller, Cabot Properties, had purchased the property in 2019 for $30 million, according to records. — Adam Farence

New to the market: A newly built oceanfront estate at 1742 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach was listed this week for $43.5 million. The home features six bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms. The property was purchased in 2020 by Anthony Lomangino and his wife, Lynda, for $10 million (at the time, the property was occupied by a house built in 1987). Lawrence Moens of  Lawrence A. Moens Associates has the listing. 

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • A Florida man admitted on Wednesday that he tried to illegally export thousands of turtles to Germany and Hong Kong. John Michael Kreatsoulas, 36, of Alva, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic wildlife and nine counts of falsifying records, according to the U.S. Department of Justice
  • In response to regulations barring state spending on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, the University of Florida is eliminating all such positions, USA Today reports. The school announced the change in a memo on Friday, which stated that in order “to comply with the Florida Board of Governors’ regulation 9.016 on prohibited expenditures, the University of Florida has closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, eliminated DEI positions and administrative appointments, and halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.”
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday vetoed a bill that would have banned social media use among children younger than 16, the Associated Press reports. DeSantis has said that he support’s the measure’s intent but felt it did not adequately address privacy concerns.