(1) For the purposes of this section, the term:
(a) “Community residential home” means a dwelling unit licensed to serve residents who are clients of the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Department of Children and Families or licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration which provides a living environment for 7 to 14 unrelated residents who operate as the functional equivalent of a family, including such supervision and care by supportive staff as may be necessary to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of the residents.
(b) “Licensing entity” or “licensing entities” means the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Children and Families, or the Agency for Health Care Administration, all of which are authorized to license a community residential home to serve residents.
(c) “Local government” means a county as set forth in chapter 7 or a municipality incorporated under the provisions of chapter 165.
(d) “Planned residential community” means a local government-approved, planned unit development that is under unified control, is planned and developed as a whole, has a minimum gross lot area of 8 acres, and has amenities that are designed to serve residents with a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063 but that shall also provide housing options for other individuals. The community shall provide choices with regard to housing arrangements, support providers, and activities. The residents’ freedom of movement within and outside the community may not be restricted. For the purposes of this paragraph, local government approval must be based on criteria that include, but are not limited to, compliance with appropriate land use, zoning, and building codes. A planned residential community may contain two or more community residential homes that are contiguous to one another. A planned residential community may not be located within a 10-mile radius of any other planned residential community.
(e) “Resident” means any of the following: a frail elder as defined in s. 429.65; a person who has a handicap as defined in s. 760.22(7)(a); a person who has a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063; a nondangerous person who has a mental illness as defined in s. 394.455; or a child who is found to be dependent as defined in s. 39.01 or s. 984.03, or a child in need of services as defined in s. 984.03 or s. 985.03.
(f) “Sponsoring agency” means an agency or unit of government, a profit or nonprofit agency, or any other person or organization which intends to establish or operate a community residential home.
(2) Homes of six or fewer residents which otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home shall be deemed a single-family unit and a noncommercial, residential use for the purpose of local laws and ordinances. Homes of six or fewer residents which otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home shall be allowed in single-family or multifamily zoning without approval by the local government, provided that such homes are not located within a radius of 1,000 feet of another existing such home with six or fewer residents or within a radius of 1,200 feet of another existing community residential home. Such homes with six or fewer residents are not required to comply with the notification provisions of this section; provided that, before licensure, the sponsoring agency provides the local government with the most recently published data compiled from the licensing entities that identifies all community residential homes within the jurisdictional limits of the local government in which the proposed site is to be located in order to show that there is not a home of six or fewer residents which otherwise meets the definition of a community residential home within a radius of 1,000 feet and not a community residential home within a radius of 1,200 feet of the proposed home. At the time of home occupancy, the sponsoring agency must notify the local government that the home is licensed by the licensing entity. For purposes of local land use and zoning determinations, this subsection does not affect the legal nonconforming use status of any community residential home lawfully permitted and operating as of July 1, 2016.
(3)(a) When a site for a community residential home has been selected by a sponsoring agency in an area zoned for multifamily, the agency shall notify the chief executive officer of the local government in writing and include in such notice the specific address of the site, the residential licensing category, the number of residents, and the community support requirements of the program. Such notice shall also contain a statement from the licensing entity indicating the licensing status of the proposed community residential home and specifying how the home meets applicable licensing criteria for the safe care and supervision of the clients in the home. The sponsoring agency shall also provide to the local government the most recently published data compiled from the licensing entities that identifies all community residential homes within the jurisdictional limits of the local government in which the proposed site is to be located. The local government shall review the notification of the sponsoring agency in accordance with the zoning ordinance of the jurisdiction.
(b) Pursuant to such review, the local government may:
1. Determine that the siting of the community residential home is in accordance with local zoning and approve the siting. If the siting is approved, the sponsoring agency may establish the home at the site selected.
2. Fail to respond within 60 days. If the local government fails to respond within such time, the sponsoring agency may establish the home at the site selected.
3. Deny the siting of the home.
(c) The local government shall not deny the siting of a community residential home unless the local government establishes that the siting of the home at the site selected:
1. Does not otherwise conform to existing zoning regulations applicable to other multifamily uses in the area.
2. Does not meet applicable licensing criteria established and determined by the licensing entity, including requirements that the home be located to assure the safe care and supervision of all clients in the home.
3. Would result in such a concentration of community residential homes in the area in proximity to the site selected, or would result in a combination of such homes with other residences in the community, such that the nature and character of the area would be substantially altered. A home that is located within a radius of 1,200 feet of another existing community residential home in a multifamily zone shall be an overconcentration of such homes that substantially alters the nature and character of the area. A home that is located within a radius of 500 feet of an area of single-family zoning substantially alters the nature and character of the area.
(4) Community residential homes, including homes of six or fewer residents which would otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home, which are located within a planned residential community are not subject to the proximity requirements of this section and may be contiguous to each other. A planned residential community must comply with the applicable local government’s land development code and other local ordinances. A local government may not impose proximity limitations between homes within a planned residential community if such limitations are based solely on the types of residents anticipated to be living in the community.
(5) All distance requirements in this section shall be measured from the nearest point of the existing home or area of single-family zoning to the nearest point of the proposed home.
(6) If agreed to by both the local government and the sponsoring agency, a conflict may be resolved through informal mediation. The local government shall arrange for the services of an independent mediator. Mediation shall be concluded within 45 days of a request therefor. The resolution of any issue through the mediation process shall not alter any person’s right to a judicial determination of any issue if that person is entitled to such a determination under statutory or common law.
(7) The licensing entity shall not issue a license to a sponsoring agency for operation of a community residential home if the sponsoring agency does not notify the local government of its intention to establish a program, as required by subsection (3). A license issued without compliance with the provisions of this section shall be considered null and void, and continued operation of the home may be enjoined.
(8) A dwelling unit housing a community residential home established pursuant to this section shall be subject to the same local laws and ordinances applicable to other noncommercial, residential family units in the area in which it is established.
(9) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect the authority of any community residential home lawfully established prior to October 1, 1989, to continue to operate.
(10) Nothing in this section shall permit persons to occupy a community residential home who would constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of other persons or whose residency would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others.
(11) The siting of community residential homes in areas zoned for single family shall be governed by local zoning ordinances. Nothing in this section prohibits a local government from authorizing the development of community residential homes in areas zoned for single family.
(12) Nothing in this section requires any local government to adopt a new ordinance if it has in place an ordinance governing the placement of community residential homes that meet the criteria of this section. State law on community residential homes controls over local ordinances, but nothing in this section prohibits a local government from adopting more liberal standards for siting such homes.