This subsection gives local government the authority to establish firesafety codes that exceed the Florida Fire Prevention Code adopted by the State Fire Marshal. The Legislature intends that local government give proper public notice and hold public hearings before adopting more stringent firesafety codes. A substantially affected person may appeal, to the department, the local government’s resolution of the challenge, and the department shall determine if the amendment complies with this section. Actions of the department are subject to judicial review pursuant to s. 120.68. The department shall consider reports of the Florida Building Commission, pursuant to part IV of chapter 553, when evaluating building code enforcement.
(1) The Florida Fire Prevention Code adopted by the State Fire Marshal, which shall operate in conjunction with the Florida Building Code, shall be deemed adopted by each municipality, county, and special district with firesafety responsibilities. The minimum firesafety codes do not apply to buildings and structures subject to the uniform firesafety standards under s. 633.206 and buildings and structures subject to the minimum firesafety standards adopted pursuant to s. 394.879.
(2) Pursuant to subsection (1), each municipality, county, and special district with firesafety responsibilities shall enforce the Florida Fire Prevention Code as the minimum firesafety code required by this section.
(3) Such code shall be a minimum code, and a municipality, county, or special district with firesafety responsibilities may adopt more stringent firesafety standards, subject to the requirements of this subsection. Such county, municipality, or special district may establish alternative requirements to those requirements which are required under the minimum firesafety standards on a case-by-case basis, in order to meet special situations arising from historic, geographic, or unusual conditions, if the alternative requirements result in a level of protection to life, safety, or property equal to or greater than the applicable minimum firesafety standards. For the purpose of this subsection, the term “historic” means that the building or structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places of the United States Department of the Interior.
(a) The local governing body shall determine, following a public hearing which has been advertised in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 days before the hearing, if there is a need to strengthen the requirements of the minimum firesafety code adopted by such governing body. The determination must be based upon a review of local conditions by the local governing body, which review demonstrates that local conditions justify more stringent requirements than those specified in the minimum firesafety code for the protection of life and property or justify requirements that meet special situations arising from historic, geographic, or unusual conditions.
(b) Such additional requirements may not be discriminatory as to materials, products, or construction techniques of demonstrated capabilities.
(c) Paragraphs (a) and (b) apply solely to the local enforcing agency’s adoption of requirements more stringent than those specified in the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Life Safety Code that have the effect of amending building construction standards. Upon request, the enforcing agency must provide a person making application for a building permit, or any state agency or board with construction-related regulation responsibilities, a listing of all such requirements and codes.
(d) A local government which adopts amendments to the minimum firesafety code must provide a procedure by which the validity of such amendments may be challenged by any substantially affected party to test the amendment’s compliance with this section.
1. Unless the local government agrees to stay enforcement of the amendment, or other good cause is shown, the challenging party shall be entitled to a hearing on the challenge within 45 days.
2. For purposes of such challenge, the burden of proof shall be on the challenging party, but the amendment may not be presumed to be valid or invalid.
(4) The new building or structure provisions enumerated within the Florida Fire Prevention Code adopted pursuant to this section shall apply only to buildings or structures for which the building permit is issued on or after the effective date of the current edition of the Florida Fire Prevention Code. Subject to subsection (5), the existing building or structure provisions enumerated within the firesafety code adopted pursuant to this section shall apply to buildings or structures for which the building permit was issued or the building or structure was constructed before the effective date of this act.
(5) With regard to existing buildings, the Legislature recognizes that it is not always practical to apply any or all of the provisions of the Florida Fire Prevention Code and that physical limitations may require disproportionate effort or expense with little increase in fire or life safety. Before applying the minimum firesafety code to an existing building, the local fire official shall determine whether a threat to lifesafety or property exists. If a threat to lifesafety or property exists, the fire official shall apply the applicable firesafety code for existing buildings to the extent practical to ensure a reasonable degree of lifesafety and safety of property or shall fashion a reasonable alternative that affords an equivalent degree of lifesafety and safety of property. The local fire official may consider the fire safety evaluation systems found in NFPA 101A: Guide on Alternative Approaches to Life Safety, adopted by the State Fire Marshal, as acceptable systems for the identification of low-cost, reasonable alternatives. It is acceptable to use the Fire Safety Evaluation System for Board and Care Facilities using prompt evacuation capabilities parameter values on existing residential high-rise buildings. The decision of the local fire official may be appealed to the local administrative board described in s. 553.73.
(6) Nothing herein shall preclude a municipality, county, or special district from requiring a structure to be maintained in accordance with the Florida Fire Prevention Code.
(7) Electrically operated single station smoke detectors required for residential buildings are not required to be interconnected within individual living units in all buildings having direct access to the outside from each living unit and having three stories or less. This subsection does not apply to any residential building required to have a manual or an automatic fire alarm system.
(8)(a) The provisions of the Life Safety Code, as contained in the Florida Fire Prevention Code, do not apply to one-family and two-family dwellings. However, fire sprinkler protection may be permitted by local government in lieu of other fire protection-related development requirements for such structures. While local governments may adopt fire sprinkler requirements for one-family and two-family dwellings under this subsection, it is the intent of the Legislature that the economic consequences of the fire sprinkler mandate on home owners be studied before the enactment of such a requirement. After the effective date of this act, any local government that desires to adopt a fire sprinkler requirement on one-family or two-family dwellings must prepare an economic cost and benefit report that analyzes the application of fire sprinklers to one-family or two-family dwellings or any proposed residential subdivision. The report must consider the tradeoffs and specific cost savings and benefits of fire sprinklers for future owners of property. The report must include an assessment of the cost savings from any reduced or eliminated impact fees if applicable, the reduction in special fire district tax, insurance fees, and other taxes or fees imposed, and the waiver of certain infrastructure requirements including the reduction of roadway widths, the reduction of water line sizes, increased fire hydrant spacing, increased dead-end roadway length, and a reduction in cul-de-sac sizes relative to the costs from fire sprinkling. A failure to prepare an economic report shall result in the invalidation of the fire sprinkler requirement to any one-family or two-family dwelling or any proposed subdivision. In addition, a local jurisdiction or utility may not charge any additional fee, above what is charged to a non-fire sprinklered dwelling, on the basis that a one-family or two-family dwelling unit is protected by a fire sprinkler system.
(b)1. A county, municipality, special taxing district, public utility, or private utility may not require an impact fee or payment for a separate water connection for a one-family or two-family dwelling fire sprinkler system if the capacity required is hydraulically available at the property line. The accountholder of the one-family or two-family dwelling must notify the county, municipality, special district, public utility, or private utility of the installation of the separate water connection in the applicable permit. The separate water connection may only be used for one-family or two-family dwelling fire sprinkler systems and if used for other purposes, full base and volume charges may be applied.
2. A county, municipality, special district, public utility, or private utility may not charge a water or sewer rate to a one-family or two-family dwelling that requires a larger water meter solely due to the installation of fire sprinklers above that which is charged to a one-family and two-family dwelling with a base meter. If the installation of fire sprinklers in a one-family or two-family dwelling requires the installation of a larger water meter, only the difference in actual cost between the base water meter and the larger water meter may be charged by the water utility provider.
(9) Before imposing a fire sprinkler requirement on any one- or two-family dwelling, a local government must provide the owner of any one- or two-family dwelling a letter documenting specific infrastructure or other tax or fee allowances and waivers that are listed in but not limited to those described in subsection (8) for the dwelling. The documentation must show that the cost savings reasonably approximate the cost of the purchase and installation of a fire protection system.
(10) Notwithstanding subsection (8), a property owner may not be required to install fire sprinklers in any residential property based upon the use of such property as a rental property or any change in or reclassification of the property’s primary use to a rental property.