(1) The trust shall request appropriate state agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and other public and private groups to assist in the formulation of criteria and guidelines for the development and evaluation of projects, which the trust shall adopt by rule. The project application process, as adopted by rule, must not be burdensome to any local government, and the trust shall provide technical and administrative assistance to any local government applicant which requests assistance in completing an application.
(2) The chair of the governing body of the trust may establish an advisory committee consisting of representatives of appropriate state agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and other public and private groups to assist the department in analyzing and reviewing specific project proposals for the trust.
(3) In accordance with procedures adopted by the trust, local governments and nonprofit organizations may propose projects for the trust to consider for funding or technical assistance. When a local government demonstrates the need for assistance in preparing a project proposal, the trust, whenever possible, shall provide such assistance.
(4) Projects or activities which the trust undertakes, coordinates, or funds in any manner shall comply with the following guidelines:
(a) The purpose of redevelopment projects shall be to restore areas which are adversely affected by scattered ownership, poor lot layout, inadequate park and open space, incompatible land uses, or other conditions which endanger the environment or impede orderly development. Grants and loans awarded for redevelopment projects shall be used for assembling parcels of land within redevelopment project areas for the redesign of such areas and for the installation of public improvements required to serve such areas. After redesign and installation of public improvements, if any, lands in redevelopment projects, with the exception of lands acquired for public purposes, shall be conveyed to any person for development in accordance with a redevelopment project plan approved according to this part.
(b) The purpose of resource enhancement projects shall be to enhance natural resources which, because of indiscriminate dredging or filling, improper location of improvements, natural or human-induced events, or incompatible land uses, have suffered loss of natural and scenic values. Grants and loans awarded for resource enhancement projects shall be used for the assembly of parcels of land to improve resource management, for relocation of improperly located or designed improvements, and for other corrective measures which will enhance the natural and scenic character of project areas.
(c) The purpose of public access projects shall be to acquire interests in and initially develop lands which are suitable for and which will be used for public accessways to surface waters. The trust shall identify local governments and nonprofit organizations which will accept responsibility for maintenance and liability for public accessways which are located outside the state park system. The trust may lease any public access site developed under this part to a local government or nonprofit organization, provided that the conditions of the lease guarantee public use of the site. The trust may accept, from any local government or nonprofit organization, fees collected for providing public access to surface waters. The trust shall expend any such funds it accepts only for acquisition, development, and maintenance of such public accessways. To the maximum extent possible, the trust shall expend such fees in the general area where they are collected or in areas where public access to surface waters is clearly deficient. The trust may transfer funds, including such fees, to a local government or nonprofit organization to acquire public access sites. In developing or coordinating public access projects, the trust shall ensure that project plans involving beach access are consistent with state laws governing beach access.
(d) The purpose of urban waterfront restoration projects shall be to restore deteriorated or deteriorating urban waterfronts for public use and enjoyment. Urban waterfront restoration projects shall include public access sites.
(e) The purpose of working waterfront projects shall be to restore and preserve working waterfronts as provided in s. 380.5105. (f) The trust shall cooperate with local governments, state agencies, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations in ensuring the reservation of lands for parks, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, historical preservation, or scientific study. If any local government, state agency, federal agency, or nonprofit organization is unable, due to limited financial resources or other circumstances of a temporary nature, to acquire a site for the purposes described in this paragraph, the trust may acquire and hold the site for subsequent conveyance to the appropriate governmental agency or nonprofit organization. The trust may provide such technical assistance as required to aid local governments, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations in completing acquisition and related functions. The trust may not reserve lands acquired in accordance with this paragraph for more than 5 years from the time of acquisition. A local government, federal or state agency, or nonprofit organization may acquire the land at any time during this period for public purposes. The purchase price shall be based upon the trust’s cost of acquisition, plus administrative and management costs in reserving the land. The payment of the purchase price shall be by money, trust-approved property of an equivalent value, or a combination of money and trust-approved property. If, after the 5-year period, the trust has not sold to a governmental agency or nonprofit organization land acquired for site reservation, the trust shall dispose of such land at fair market value or shall trade it for other land of comparable value which will serve to accomplish the purposes of this part. Any proceeds from the sale of such land received by the department shall be deposited into the appropriate trust fund pursuant to s. 253.0341.
Project costs may include costs of providing parks, open space, public access sites, scenic easements, and other areas and facilities serving the public where such features are part of a project plan approved according to this part. In undertaking or coordinating projects or activities authorized by this part, the trust shall, when appropriate, use and promote the use of creative land acquisition methods, including the acquisition of less than fee interest through, among other methods, conservation easements, transfer of development rights, leases, and leaseback arrangements. The trust shall assist local governments in the use of sound alternative methods of financing for funding projects and activities authorized under this part. Any funds over and above eligible project costs, which remain after completion of a project approved according to this part, shall be transmitted to the state and deposited into the Florida Forever Trust Fund.
(5) The governing body of the trust shall approve projects, project plans, grants, and loans according to rules which it shall have adopted and which are consistent with the provisions of this part. In reviewing project plans and grant and loan applications, the trust shall seek to promote excellence of design and shall encourage projects which integrate structures into the natural environment.
(6) Following approval of a proposed project, the trust may provide up to the total cost of preparing a project plan.
(7) The trust shall ensure that each local government within which a project is located or partially located participates in developing the project plan to make certain that the plan is consistent with each affected local government’s comprehensive plan. The trust shall include within its rules a process whereby affected local governments shall make a final determination of a project plan’s consistency with local comprehensive plans.
(8) The trust shall coordinate its activities with other state agencies responsible for land use, environmental protection, and land acquisition to avoid unnecessary duplication and to solicit the help and expertise of existing state personnel.