In accordance with Chapter 186.059 F.S., each regional planning has establish by rule a dispute resolution process to reconcile differences on planning and growth management issues between local governments, regional agencies, and private interests. The dispute resolution process provides for voluntary meetings among the disputing parties; if those meetings fail to resolve the dispute, initiation of mandatory mediation or a similar process; if that process fails, initiation of arbitration or administrative or judicial action, where appropriate.
Details of regional voluntary dispute resolution process (RDRP) available through the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council are described Chapter 29I-7, F.A.C. The process consists of seven components: (a) process initiation (initiation and response letters), (b) settlement meetings, (c) pre-initiation meeting, (d) situation assessment, (e) mediation, (f) advisory decision-making, and (g) reference to other dispute resolution processes (judicial, administrative, or arbitration proceedings). Components (a) and (b) are required while components (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g) are optional.
The intent of the RDRP is to provide a flexible process to reconcile differences on planning and growth management issues that will clearly identify and resolve problems as early as possible; utilize the procedures in a low-to-high cost sequence; allow flexibility in the order in which the procedures are used; provide for the appropriate involvement of affected and responsible parties; and provide as much process certainty as possible.
The RDRP may to be used to resolve disputes involving extrajurisdictional impacts as provided for in the intergovernmental coordination elements of local comprehensive plans, as required by Section 163.3177, F.S.; inconsistencies between port master plans and local comprehensive plans, as required by Section 163.3178, F.S.; the siting of community residential homes, as required by Section 419.001(5), F.S.; and any other matters covered by statutes which reference the RDRP.
The RDRP shall not be used to address disputes involving environmental permits or other regulatory matters unless all the parties involved agree to initiate use of the RDRP.
The RDRP does not replace local processes and is not intended to be used by parties dissatisfied with the appropriate application of local rules and regulations.
Use of the RDRP shall not alter the right of a jurisdiction, organization, group, or individual to judicial or administrative determination of any issues if that entity is entitled to such a determination under statutory or common law.
Participation in the RDRP as a named party or in any other capacity does not convey or limit intervenor status in any judicial or administrative proceedings.
All named parties who agree to participate in this process commit to a good faith effort to resolve problems or disputes.