NAIOP Florida Announces 2020 Leadership and Legislative Agenda

Butters Realty & Management Executive Vice President and NAIOP Florida President Darcie Lunsford

NAIOP Florida, the state chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, announces that Butters Realty & Management Executive Vice President Darcie Lunsford will serve as its 2020 Board of Directors president. With more than 1,000 members, NAIOP Florida consists of five regional chapters throughout the state including South Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay, Northeast Florida and Northwest Florida.

In addition to Lunsford, NAIOP Florida 2020 board members include:

  • FirstPointe Advisors Managing Partner Brian DePotter of NAIOP South Florida;
  • Morgar Realty President Fitch King and Driver McAfee Hawthorne Diebenow Partner Trey Wilson of NAIOP Northeast Florida;
  • Central Florida Development President Jeff Lucas and Harrod Properties Partner Graham Mavar of NAIOP Tampa Bay;
  • Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate Vice President Brandon McFarren and SVN Southland Commercial Real Estate Advisor Chris Palmer of NAIOP Northwest Florida;
  • and Prologis Vice President Brendon Dedekind and Colliers International Executive Managing Director Joe Rossi of NAIOP Central Florida.

NAIOP South Florida Executive Director Jules R. Morgan will serve as executive director of NAIOP Florida.

“We’re diving right in to 2020 with a focus on advancing our lobbying efforts and involvement with our state’s legislative affairs,” said Lunsford, who served as president of NAIOP South Florida in 2019. “With the Florida Legislature now in session, we will be a highly visible presence in Tallahassee and at the law-making table, presenting our case for supporting the gradual elimination of the business rent tax, promoting fair taxation legislation, limiting burdensome regulation and promoting economic prosperity across our state. I have no doubts that we will continue to build upon last year’s successes with many more in 2020.”

The priorities for NAIOP Florida’s 2020 legislative agenda include removing witness requirements from lease transactions and furthering the business rent tax rollback.

Additionally, NAIOP supports the implementation of the Fast Act, which will help speed up the construction permitting process. NAIOP has already drafted legislation that would require:

  • local governments to establish expedited permit processing at a fee of no more than double the normal permit fee;
  • initially charging only 50 percent of the permit fee;
  • reducing the fee by 10 percent for every 10 business days of delay when a local government does not meet its established deadline for a permit;
  • and requiring local governments to issue a refund for any fees if the permit fee is reduced by more than 50 percent at the time a permit is approved.

NAIOP also is working to garner an extension to the bi-directional antenna mandate to give commercial building owners more time to prepare. Florida Fire Prevention Code currently requires that high-rise commercial buildings and large industrial facilities be compliant by January 1, 2022 while residential high-rise buildings have until January 1, 2025.

During her tenure as South Florida president in 2019, Lunsford helped marshal support for several pieces of legislation on behalf of NAIOP including:

  • a rollback in the business rent tax from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent;
  • new permit transparency legislation that requires local governments publicly post permit and inspection fee costs and how that revenue is being applied within government functions;
  • new legislation that prohibits a local government from collecting impact fees before issuance of a building permit except in the case of water and sewer connection; and
  • the passage of several pro-development provisions in a major property development package including financial relief from governmental requirements that an affordable housing component be included within a new project, requirements for local jurisdictions to review and respond to development applications within 30 days, and approval for the prevailing party in a development order challenge to collect attorneys’ fees.

“In Florida, the commercial real estate sector contributes more than $20 billion to the state economy, generates more than $6.8 billion in wages and salaries and supports more than 161,000 jobs,” Morgan said. “These are among the many reasons why NAIOP’s advocacy efforts are so important. Commercial real estate will continue to drive such economic prosperity and growth when we enact strategic reforms that ultimately loosen the chokehold on our industry.”

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About NAIOP Florida:

NAIOP Florida, the state chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, consists of more than 1,000 members that comprise five regional chapters throughout the state including South Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay, Northeast Florida and Northwest Florida. NAIOP supports commercial real estate professionals with advocacy, education and business opportunities and connects its members through a powerful North American network. For more information, visit