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10 Zoning Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations You Should Know

As a follow up to TEN+ WORDS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU WANT TO DEVELOP LAND, here are the top Ten+ Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations you should know to be conversant in Land Development.  An acronym uses the first letters of the words in the phrase and reads as a single word, like “NASA”.  Initialism employs the initial letter of the words and reads as a series of letters, like “FBI”. The word abbreviation refers to both acronyms and initialisms. Here we go.

  1. ADT (initialism): Average Daily Traffic, sometimes used as a measure of traffic volume in traffic impact analysis to show whether traffic caused by a development will impact the area
  2. ACOE (initialism): Army Corps of Engineers (also, “Army Corps”, pronounced “core”), founded in 1775, is the permitting agency for all projects that impact federal lands, federal waterways or endangered/threatened species (plant and animal).  The jurisdiction of ACOE changed in 2020, as many of its permitting functions in Florida have been transferred to Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) (initialism).
  3. CCR’s (initialism): Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions are private contractual agreements used to protect property values and control conflicts among land uses.  They are also called deed restrictions.
  4. CU (initialism) or CUP (either acronym or initialism): Conditional Use Permit is a development permit that allows uses which, because of their character, size, and potential impacts, may or may not be appropriate in certain zoning districts, which are granted by municipality or County based on conditions imposed by the that body.
  5. FAR (acronym): Floor Area Ratio is the ratio of total building floor area to the area of its lot. Each zoning district has an FAR designation which, when multiplied by the lot area, produces the maximum amount of floor area allowable on that lot.
  6. FEMA (acronym): Federal Emergency Management Agency creates “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” (FIRM) (acronym), which is the official map of a community that shows special flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones.  Engineers and design professionals use the FIRM to determine the elevation of roads and structures to be built.
  7. FLUM (acronym): The Land Use Map of a municipality or county designates land use types and densities that a municipality or county has determined to be the most desirable for a particular area. Future land use is meant to guide future development and re-development.
  8. NIMBY (acronym): Not in My Back Yard describes either a person who opposes property development near that person’s property or describes the opposition itself.  It can also be used as an adjective, as in “NIMBY attitude”.
  9. ROW (initialism): Right of Way usually refers to public and private streets and alleys, but sometimes is used to refer to an easement when referring to access, drainage or utilities.  It is generally much larger than the street or alley and is found on plats and officials government maps.
  10. SLAPP (acronym): Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is a lawsuit filed against an individual or an organization because of that individual’s or organization’s negative speech or communication to government about an issue of political interest.  Florida Statute 768.295 generally prohibits these types of lawsuits.
If you feel like you have just left a game a scrabble, you have!  When in doubt, simply use the full phrase. Do not have any FEAR (which is an acronym for at least 40 expressions, https://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/FEAR) when you hear these abbreviations, just contact the attorneys at Lacey Lyons Rezanka for assistance with your development projects.