1st DCA - ALJ/Admin Comm'n Misapplied Law and Evidence in Finidng Small Scall Amendment "Not In Compliance"
The Court found that the ALJ violated the applicable rules of statutory interpretation (that the specific governs over the general) by finding that the amendment violated a general coastal/environmental policy when a more specific policy addressed the location of RV parks. Again, we see the 1st DCA limiting the strict scrutiny language of Machado, which states the over broad position that every development order must comply strictly with each and every provision of the comprehensive plan.
The Court also found that the ALJ make a determination that the amendment was not "compatible" without competent substantial evidence. This is another important aspect of the case: the Court rejected the ALJ's acceptance of the lay opinion of the challengers that a mobile home park would have adverse impacts on the area including light pollution, traffic, and negative impact on housing values. The Court is, in effect, setting forth fairly stringent requirements for evidence regarding compatibility that requires expert testimony on most aspects commonly used to claim that uses are not compatible. The Court specifically rejected any analysis that the RV use was "inherently" incompatible with existing residential uses simply because it was different and more intense.
Important reading for future cases.