A large tract of agricultural land recently changed hands in Palm Beach County just to the west of Boynton Beach. Lennar Corporation, a leading Fortune 500 company based in Miami, is reported to have paid $11.5 million for approximately 33 acres located at 5300 Flavor Pict Road. An application to rezone this farmland for townhomes and residential use is already under consideration by Palm Beach County. Currently, most of the land is devoted to crops; the former DuBois and Flavor Pict packing plant is now vacant and is located on the property as well. Developing this land will require a methodical approach to ensure the most positive results for investors and future residents.
The development and construction process typically involves two major phases. The first encompasses the acquisition and division of the tract of land. Prior to their purchase of any property, real estate developers must determine the current and possible zoning plans applicable to the plot of land. If necessary, applications for rezoning and reclassifying the land can be presented to the relevant authorities. Once this initial phase has been completed, the developer can divide the tract into individual lots and units. A development plan must typically be submitted and approved before construction work can begin on these units. Developers must also arrange for hook-ups to local utilities and must provide paved streets, sidewalks and curbs, drainage for storm water and other expected amenities. In some cases, restrictive covenants may be recorded that limit the use of land within the subdivision or development even after the property has been sold to a private owner. These legal arrangements can protect property values long after the final lot has been sold by the developer.
Florida law provides both opportunities for and restrictions on real estate developers. The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act is a federal law that requires the registration of developments of 100 or more lots with the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This is intended to curtail fraud in the real estate investment industry. One of the most controversial laws on the books in Florida is the greenbelt law, which was originally designed to preserve farmland and agricultural areas by reducing the tax rate for these properties. In practice, however, this law has incentivized developers to reserve a small area of their properties for agricultural purposes; at times, this has devolved to the renting of cows by developers to qualify for the lower tax rate. Finally, developers should be aware that purchasers of condominiums in the state have a guaranteed 15-day rescission period. During this time, buyers can void the contract without penalty or further obligation.
Real estate transactions can be very challenging for developers and buyers alike. At Boynton Law, our Boynton Beach Real Estate Lawyers specialize in providing straightforward answers to complex legal problems. If you are currently developing property or contemplating a real estate sale or purchase, give us a call at 561-880-0338. We look forward to working with you.