Constitutionality of An Administrative Rule Which Allowed An Agency to Levy Fees for Development of Regional Impact Review

In Brown v. Apalachee Regional Planning Council, 560 So. 2d 782 (Fla. 1990), the Court upheld the constitutionality of an administrative rule that allowed an agency to levy fees against an applicant seeking a development of regional impact review (DRI). The Court explained that the statutes upon which the rule was based set forth, in considerable detail specific criteria to be used by the administrative agency in conducting DRI reviews: which development projects must be reviewed, when review is to occur, who is to conduct review, and how review is to be performed. Under these circumstances, given the highly technical nature of the DRI review process, details relating to the imposition of a cost-based review fee can be viewed as a technical matter of implementation rather than a fundamental policy decision. Brown, 560 So. 2d at 785. In contrast to the statutory provisions in Brown, the Florida Election Code relates generally to Florida's election process and does not provide standards and criteria to be utilized by the Department in exercising its discretion under section 101.253(2). The Code does not set forth any restrictions or specific criteria governing the Department's response to requests to withdraw after the forty-second day before an election. Nor does section 101.253(2) require that the Department's decision be made in conformity with the legislative scheme and purpose of the Code. In fact, there is nothing in section 101.253(2) that indicates that the Legislature intended to limit the Department's discretion in any way. Further, unlike the administrative rule at issue in Brown, section 101.253(2) cannot be viewed as a "technical matter of implementation rather than a fundamental policy decision." Id. Although the election process in general is subject to technical procedures, there is nothing "technical" about determining whether to permit a candidate to withdraw under section 101.253(2).