Taylor E. Falkner

Taylor E. Falkner, Esq.
Land Use, Local Government Law

The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners voted November 2, 2022 to approve two ordinances that amended the language of the Manatee County Land Development Code (LDC).

The first ordinance, No. 22-67, amends the LDC as it relates to half dwelling units and an associated reduction of the required multi-family parking ratio. Similar to surrounding jurisdictions, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners have voted to implement half dwelling units, which are defined as a multi-family residential unit, 750 square feet or less in size.

Half dwelling units may be utilized for calculating multi-family residential density if the project is located in the Urban Service Area. Furthermore, such projects are only required to provide one parking space per half dwelling unit. However, it should be noted that an administrative parking reduction is not allowed for half dwelling units as it is for other sections of the code.

This amendment is noteworthy as it allows for increased density on multi-family projects located within the Urban Service Area, along with a reduction in the parking ratio when a developer utilizes half dwelling units.

In addition to half dwelling units, the Board of County Commissioners also approved Ordinance No. 22-87, which amends the LDC related to accessory dwelling units. Accessory dwelling units were first approved in Manatee County in 2021, and are only permitted in certain zoning districts and on land with an existing dwelling unit.

Ordinance No. 22-87 specifically adds minimum criteria for accessory dwelling units on Planned Development parcels. As such, accessory dwelling units may only be allowed on parcels zoned Planned Development if one of the following is met:

1. If expressly approved in the zoning ordinance and the site plan approving the Planned Development Project;

2. If expressly approved as an amendment to an existing Planned Development zoning ordinance and the applicable site plan; or

3. If the lot is no longer included in the site plan approving the Planned Development project, and the lot is developed for a single-family use.

The maximum square footage allowed for an accessory dwelling unit in the Residential Single Family, Planned Development and Village zoning districts is 750 square feet or 80 percent of the primary structure (air-conditioned, under roof square footage only), whichever is less. The underlined portion of this provision is what the County most recently approved with Ordinance No. 22-87. However, this provision is very restrictive, and the County should consider further amending this section to simply allow accessory dwelling units that are a maximum of 80 percent of the primary structure.

As Manatee County continues to grow and evolve, so will its land use regulations. Whether you are a developer looking to invest in Manatee County or a long-time resident, it is important to stay up to date on the Land Development Code as the county continues to change.

If you have questions related to accessory dwelling units, half dwelling units, or closely related guest houses or other land use topics, feel free to call on land use attorneys Taylor Falkner, Mark Barnebey or Scott Rudacille at 941.748.0100.