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Brownsville Manor, LP v. Redding Development Partners, LLC

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

August 21, 2017

BROWNSVILLE MANOR, LP, Appellant,
v.
REDDING DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS, LLC, HTG HAMMOCK RIDGE, LLC, FLORIDA HOUSING FINANCE CORPORATION, GROVE MANOR PHASE I LTD., JIC GRAND PALMS, LLC, MADISON PALMS, LTD., AND RST THE PINES, LP, Appellees.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED

         An appeal from an order of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. Barney Smith, Chair.

          Michael P. Donaldson and Christine Davis Graves of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellant.

          Hugh R. Brown, General Counsel; Betty C. Zachem and Marisa G. Button, Assistant General Counsels, Tallahassee, for Appellee Florida Housing Finance Corp.

          Maureen M. Daughton of Maureen McCarthy Daughton, LLC, Tallahassee, for Appellee HTG Hammock Ridge.

          Douglas P. Manson and Paria Shirzadi of Manson Bolves Donaldson, P.A., Tampa, for Appellee Madison Palms, LTD.

          Donna E. Blanton of Radey Law Firm, Tallahassee, for Appellee JIC Grand Palms, LLC.

          M. Christopher Bryant of Oertel, Fernandez, Bryant & Atkinson, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee Redding Development Partners, LLC.

          ROBERTS, J.

         The appellant, Brownsville Manor, L.P. (Brownsville), appeals a final order of the appellee, Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing), arguing Florida Housing erred by reversing its determination that Brownsville was eligible for federal low-income tax credit funding. We agree and reverse.

         The Competitive Solicitation

         Florida Housing is the entity charged with allocating and distributing low income housing tax credits. Because the demand exceeds the supply, the tax credits are awarded competitively to housing developers for qualifying developments as governed by Chapter 67-60, Florida Administrative Code.

         In 2015, Florida Housing issued Request for Application 2015-106, Housing Credit Financing for Affordable Housing Developments Located in Medium and Small Counties (the RFA), in which it expected to have up to $10, 763, 426 of housing credits available for developments serving families or the elderly to be located in medium counties. There were ninety-eight applications submitted in response to the RFA. The RFA applicants were first deemed eligible or ineligible for consideration for funding. The RFA included a point system in which the applicants received up to a total of twenty-eight points in three areas: (1) general development experience (maximum of five points); (2) local government contributions to the proposed development (maximum of five points); and (3) proximity to services needed by the tenants (maximum of eighteen points). The point totals were used to determine threshold eligibility and to rank the applicants. Because many of the applicants could potentially receive the same point total, the applicants were also assigned a randomly generated lottery number.

         Relevant to the instant appeal is the proximity-to-services point category. In order to be eligible for proximity points, an applicant had to submit a Surveyor Certification Form that included a mandatory development location point (DLP). The DLP had to be a single point on the site on or within one hundred feet of the existing residential building or the building to be constructed as part of the proposed development. If a proposed development was a "scattered site, "[1] as was Brownsville's, the RFA stated that the DLP had to be "a single point on the site with the most units that is located within 100 feet of a residential building existing or to be constructed as part of the proposed development." See also Fla. Admin. Code. R. 67-48.002(33). The DLP served as the starting point from which the distance to identified transit and community services was measured. Depending on how far each service was from the ...


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