In December 2014, Charlotte County was issued an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) and associated Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to address impacts to the state and federally protected Florida scrub-jay. The HCP was developed as an effort to reduce and streamline the regulatory burden and to provide regulatory certainty to land owners in Charlotte County.
The HCP defines a reserve network to help ensure the long term survival of the Florida scrub-jay and to establish a development fee system in order to implement the Plan for the 30 year duration of the ITP.
Properties that are located within the Plan Area have 2 options, as the County’s HCP is not mandatory:
- Comply with the conditions of the HCP or
- Request an individual review from USFWS
Properties that are located within the Plan Area that choose to utilize the County HCP must:
- Fill out the Scrub-Jay (HCP) Application
- Pay the HCP Development Fee
- IF the parcel is cleared prior to March 1st construction may occur during nesting season.
- Acknowledge that NO vegetation clearing is permitted during scrub-jay nesting season which runs from March 1st – June 30th.
- Comply with the minimization requirements for additional covered species as outlined in the HCP.
- If the parcel is over 3 acres the HCP Minimization Criteria will apply in addition to the HCP Development Fee.
HCP Development Fee
For the ITP to be issued, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requires that funding assurances are provided to fulfill the obligations outlined in the HCP. The HCP Development Fee provides long-term funding for Land Acquisition, Habitat Assessment Planning & Restoration, Habitat Management, Monitoring & Adaptive Management, Changes Circumstances and Plan Administration.
The current fee schedule is a tier system based on the total acreage of the parcel as it was originally platted. Total acreage of consolidated parcels do not apply and will be charged based on the original plat acreage. In February 2016, the County submitted a request to modify the HCP to revise the fee schedule to a density based system that would be based upon the entire allotted density of the parcel per current zoning regulations; FWS is currently reviewing this modification request.
The Board of County Commissioners approved adjusting the Scrub jay development fee which became effective January 1, 2023.
- Charlotte County Parks & Natural Resources is required to periodically audit and assess development fees to ensure the fees generated by the HCP adequately cover the costs of maintaining the Reserve.
- Adjustments will be made annually to account for inflation, as reflected by changes in the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Home Price Index (HPI) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Nonresidential Building Maintenance & Repair Producer Price Index (PPI).
- Pre-payments are no longer being accepted as of January 1st, 2023. If you pre-paid your Scrub jay fees prior to January 1st, 2023 and have not have any development permits issued, you will be responsible for the difference in the fees after the effective date.
Annual HCP Reports