Fourth District Court of Appeals ruling: Nonresidential farm buildings, farm fences, and farm signs are not only exempt from building permit requirements, they are also exempt from zoning regulations.
The Fourth District Court Appeals recently issued an opinion in 14269 BT, LLC v. Village of Wellington, Florida. In this case, a farm owner challenged citations from the Village of Wellington for failing to obtain building permits for 2 barns, a storage building, and a manure bin and for constructing more than 1 barn on agricultural property within the equestrian district. The case proceeded to a hearing before a Village of Wellington magistrate who ruled in favor of the Village. The corrective action required was substantial: the farm owner was ordered to tear down the second barn. The farm owner appealed to the Circuit Court of the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County who affirmed the Village of Wellington magistrate’s decision in an unelaborated opinion. The farm owner then requested, and was granted, 2nd tier certiorari review by the Fourth District Court of Appeal, who concluded that the Circuit Court “departed from the essential requirements of the law” in contravention of the “plain language” of Florida Statute §604.50 This statute exempts “any nonresidential farm building, farm fence, or farm sign that is located on lands used for bona fide agricultural purposes” from “the Florida Building Code and any county or municipal code or fee, except for code provisions implementing local, state, or federal floodplain management regulations.” Until this case, there were no decisions interpreting the applicability of F.S. §604.50 to zoning regulations. This case sets important precedent for farm owners in the Village of Wellington. Click here to view the full Fourth DCA opinion. Please contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of assistance to you.
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