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Florida has a high density of rivers, lakes, swamps and marshes that are generally protected from development. This has led many investors to wonder how much land is actually available for development. What many investors may not be familiar with is the concept of mitigation banks. Mitigation banks allow for the development of wetland areas that ordinarily would not be usable for real estate development.
So what exactly is a mitigation bank? How does it function and how can they serve investors and developers? Our guests this week are two experts in the field of environmental law and the designation and use of mitigation banks.
Listeners should remember Frank Hearne. Frank is a shareholder for Mechanik, Nuccio, Hearne & Wester, P.A. He was also one of Invest Florida’s first guests! His firm is one of the state leaders in environmental and land law. Beverly Birkitt, of Birkitt Environmental Services, Inc., has over 35 yrs. experience in the environmental field, with a focus on wetland litigation and litigation banking.
This episode, Frank and Beverly cover the ins-and-outs of using mitigation banks for wetland development and investment.
- Spec wetland approved for future mitigation
- Allows for more usable property for development
- Exchange wetland set for development with wetlands that will be improved upon to compensate
- Must be in the same hydrological zone as wetland to be developed (water basin)
- State sets basin boundaries
Developing Mitigation Banks
- Wetland landowners can develop mitigation banks
- 100-10,000 acres usually
- Market demand in wetland area is critical
- Polk County strong mitigation bank market
- Mitigation banks must improve, not just preserve wetlands
- Mitigation bank credits based on evaluation of improvement, not land size
Hot Mitigation Bank Markets
- Tampa Bay Basin
- In need of freshwater wetlands
- Coastal areas
- Orlando/I-4 corridor
- Former agricultural lands
Risks for Mitigation Banks
- land, permitting, construction, management
- ROI tough to predict
- If you have land that you believe is eligible for a mitigation bank, let Beverly know! Beverly can be contacted through her website: www.birkitt.com or by calling (813) 259-1085
- For mitigation bank questions and for more info on other types of mitigation banks, contact Frank by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (813) 909-7400.