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QUESTION PRESENTED: What is the proper interpretation of Section 235.193(5) and (8), Florida Statutes, regarding making renovations and improvements to an existing student agricultural facility?
CONCLUSION: See discussion.
DISCUSSION: I am responding to your letter of April 16, 2001, requesting our interpretation of the above-referenced sections of the Florida School Code. As I understand it, your client, the Suwannee County School Board, seeks to make certain renovations and improvements, including some additions (a barn, pens, etc.) to an existing student agricultural facility. The City of Live Oak has told the School Board that the project needs approval under municipal ordinance.
It is not entirely clear from your letter what will, in fact, constitute new construction as opposed to renovation or some other sort of improvement to the existing structure. A review of pertinent statutory definitions may help clarify the question. The term "educational facilities" is defined by Sec. 235.011(6) to mean,
Section 235.011(14), Florida Statutes, defines "new construction" to mean,
(Emphasis added) It appears that the proposed new barn and pens (and any other entirely new building, unit, or addition) constitute "educational facilities" since they primarily serve an educational purpose (the teaching of agriculture). It likewise appears that these structures would constitute "new construction" as defined above and "new educational facilities" within the meaning of Subsection 235.193(8). Thus, assuming our understanding of the facts is correct, it appears that these new educational facilities (the "new barn, pens, and other "new" improvements" referred to in your letter) would also be deemed consistent with the local comprehensive plan, provided, however, that the site of construction is consistent with the comprehensive plan's future land use policies and categories in which public schools are identified as allowable uses, and levels of service adopted by the local government for any facilities affected by the proposed location of these new facilities is maintained. Consistency with the comprehensive plan's future land use policies and categories and levels of service remains to be determined, and we make no opinion on this issue.
I welcome input from the City of Live Oak, and encourage you to share this letter with the City. The nature of "municipal approval" referred to in your letter is unclear, and, as
I am pleased to work with you and the City toward an amicable resolution of this dispute, and look forward to hearing from you after you've had a chance to consider this letter and confer with the Board and the City.
cc: Jonathon D. Hamrick