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The Downtown Development Board (DDB) intends to rescind the Downtown Orlando Area-Wide Development of Regional Impact (Downtown DRI), pursuant to Section 380.115, Florida Statutes. The DDB acts as the Master Developer for the Downtown DRI, the boundary of which is depicted here.

Recent changes in Florida’s DRI laws, including the Community Renewal Act (Chapter 2009-96) and the Community Planning Act (Chapter 2011-139), have essentially eliminated DRI requirements for areas designated as “Dense Urban Land Areas” or “DULAs”. The City of Orlando, in its entirety, qualifies as a DULA. As a result, no new DRIs have been established in the city.

In order to summarize the rationale for this proposed action and what impact(s) it might have on individual property owners and developers within the Downtown DRI area, DDB and City Planning Division staff have developed the below Frequently Asked Questions.

We invite you to review and to contact us with any questions you may have. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Paul Lewis at 407-246-3358 or at paul.lewis@cityoforlando.net.

A Development of Regional Impact (DRI) is a large development project, which has been reviewed at a state, regional and local level to evaluate the development scope and possible impacts to the natural and built environment. Governmental agencies, such as the Downtown Development Board (DDB) and the City of Orlando, are authorized by statute to create Area-Wide DRIs inclusive of multiple properties regardless of ownership where there is a prevailing public interest to do so.The DRI program was first established by the State of Florida in 1973 and has been repeatedly updated over the years. At present, projects which in the past would have classified as DRIs, are now exempt if they are located in Dense Urban Land Areas (DULAs), such as the City of Orlando.

The DRI Development Order (DO) is a legal document that lays out the development program and phasing for the overall project, along with required improvements designed to study and/or mitigate any impacts. These mitigation measures are typically assigned to particular phases of the development program, and can consist of such things as conducting a transportation monitoring and modeling study, requiring that certain roads be reconfigured, accommodating transit and/or bike facilities, and/or installing traffic signals.
The Downtown DRI Development Order was originally approved in 1990 (recorded in 1992), and has subsequently been amended multiple times (1994, 2000, and 2013). The Downtown DRI has existed for approximately 28 years.
This map depicts the boundary of the Downtown DRI. Over time, several previously adopted DRI “opted in” to the Downtown DRI, including: (a) Orlando Arena (since demolished); (b) DuPont Center; (c) Gateway Center; (d) Jaymont; (e) Olympia & York/One Orlando Center; (f) SunTrust Center (partially – only the 55 West portion); and (g) Orange County Regional Service Center.

The Downtown DRI development program balance is tracked on a weekly basis, and summarized in a report that is submitted to the State Department of Economic Opportunity and East Central Florida Regional Planning Council every two years. The city submitted its latest Downtown DRI Biennial Report for the reporting period of August 27, 2015 to August 26, 2017 on November 9, 2017, which showed that the Downtown DRI had the following remaining capacity (i.e., balance):

  • Office – 4,483,017 square feet
  • Commercial – 1,203,123 square feet
  • Hotel – 1,481 rooms
  • Public – 931,709 square feet
  • Industrial – 205,310 square feet
  • Residential – 5,468 units
  • Hospital – 84,940 square feet

The Downtown DRI has the following phasing schedule, which contains both a time component and a vehicle trip generation component:

Downtown DRI Phasing Schedule

Phase Timing Average Daily Trips Per Phase Cumulative Average Daily Trips
Phase 1a Complete 35,758 35,758
Phase 1b September 7, 2020 35,731 71,489
Phase 2 September 7, 2024 33,415 104,904
Phase 3 September 7, 2028 36,105 141,009
Phase 4 September 7, 2031 37,783 178,792

The phase time component shown above takes into account a number of Executive Order extensions as summarized in the August 27, 2015 to August 26, 2017 Downtown DRI Biennial Report. According to the Biennial Report, there were 68,795 cumulative trips generated as of August 26, 2017, which places the Downtown DRI in Phase 1b both in terms of ADT as well as timing.

The DDB and city have completed all required mitigation for Phase 1b.

A DRI rescission is a process outlined in Florida Statutes, Section 380.115(1)(b) which states:”If requested by the developer or landowner, the development-of-regional impact development order shall be rescinded by the local government having jurisdiction upon a showing that all required mitigation related to the amount of development that existed on the date of rescission has been completed or will be completed under an existing permit or equivalent authorization issued by a governmental agency as defined in s. 380.031(6), if such permit or authorization is subject to enforcement through administrative or judicial remedies.”

The rescission process was created as part of the Community Planning Act (Chapter 2011-139), with the intent of decreasing government regulation and expediting development in dense urban land areas such as the City of Orlando.

To date, the City of Orlando has processed rescissions for four (4) DRIs, including Orlando Health, Beltway Commerce Center, Orlando Corporate Center, and MetroWest. In addition, the LeeVista DRI is currently undergoing the rescission process.

Here is our rationale:

  1. Rescinding the Downtown DRI would enable the city to respond quicker to significant economic development opportunities, such as the recent Amazon HQ2 effort, by not being limited to a specific development program and phasing schedule.
  2. Florida law states that a Master Developer must have completed all mitigation tasks specified in the DRI Development Order concurrent with the current phase of said DRI. We are currently in Phase 1b of the Downtown DRI, and there are no further mitigation tasks remaining in the current phase. However, we will likely trip the threshold into Phase 2 in the next year. If we do go into Phase 2, we would be required to conduct fairly expensive transportation monitoring and modeling studies (upwards of $500,000). Aside from the steep cost, because the I-4 Ultimate-related improvements are not yet complete, such a study would be based on speculative data rather than real world information and thus not as useful. We would prefer not to make future transportation infrastructure improvements based on faulty data and analysis.
  3. Consistent with the intent of the Community Renewal Act and the Community Planning Act, we believe that the city is fully capable of planning for and implementing plans and projects within our downtown within the need for state and regional review. The proposed rescission will remove unnecessary and outdated regulatory requirements, and will not adversely impact property rights.
The proposed DO rescission will not adversely impact property owner rights within the Downtown DRI. Each property within the Downtown DRI area will be governed by the Growth Management Plan (GMP), Future Land Use Map designations and Zoning classifications, as well as the entitlements specified in the Land Development Code. Concurrent with the rescission, the city will process a GMP amendment designed to officially memorialize the vested rights status of the project including school concurrency.

What is the proposed schedule for the Downtown DRI rescission?

The following review schedule has been developed:

February 19, 2018 DRI Rescission & GMP Amendment applications filed with MPB Recording Secretary
March 28, 2018 Downtown Development Board (DDB) review of DRI rescission and GMP amendment concept
April 3, 2018 Technical Review Committee (TRC) review of DRI rescission and GMP amendment
April 17, 2018 Municipal Planning Board (MPB) review of DRI rescission and GMP amendment
May 29, 2018 City Council approves MPB meeting minutes
June 11, 2018 City Council – 1st Reading of GMP Amendment
August 6, 2018 City Council – 2nd Reading of GMP amendment
August 6, 2018 City Council – one hearing for DRI rescission (concurrent with 2nd reading of the GMP amendment)

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