ICA to Village: Bypassing public scrutiny is against the law

On January 17, 2023, the ICA board sent a letter to the village manager, staff, village attorney, Local Planning Agency (LPA) board members and Village Council pointing out the mandatory LPA public hearing review of all proposed changes to the Islamorada Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations had not occurred!

Changes to the village’s comprehensive plan or land development regulations are required, as described in Chapter 163 of Florida law, to follow a prescribed process prior to being voted on by the Village Council.

“A local planning agency shall prepare the comprehensive plan or plan amendment after hearings to be held after public notice and shall make recommendations to the governing body regarding the adoption or amendment of the plan.”

This is neither debatable nor subject to interpretation. It is the law.               

Florida Statute 163.3171 provides guidance for the authority and responsibility of the Village of Islamorada’s LPA as it relates to amendments to the village’s land development regulations. Specifically, they are statutorily tasked with the following:

c) Review proposed land development regulations, land development codes, or amendments thereto, and make recommendations to the governing body as to the consistency of the proposal with the adopted comprehensive plan, or element or portion thereof, when the local planning agency is serving as the land development regulation commission, or the local government requires review by both the local planning agency and the land development regulation commission.

On the agenda for the January 19, 2023, village council meeting were nine ordinances and several BPAS applications that required hearings before the LPA.


Without public explanation, 8 of the 9 changes to Village Land Development Regulations (LDRs) on the January 19 agenda were pulled shortly after receipt of the ICA letter, and the January 24 Special Call Council meeting was canceled.

A six-hour special call council meeting had been scheduled for 3 pm Tuesday January 24. The meeting was scheduled for council to approve additional BPAS and Transferable Development Right (TDR) changes.

These BPAS and TDR changes also had not been reviewed by LPA as required by State law.

An all-day meeting of the LPA is now on the Village calendar for 9 am February 13.

We are certainly pleased that the proper procedure will now be followed.

In a strongly worded letter to Village Hall, the ICA board calls staff to account. They know what state statutes require yet tried going around the LPA anyway. Unacceptable!