A bill that would allow prevailing parties to recover attorney fees and court costs in lawsuits challenging certain local government development plans cleared the state Senate this week despite concerns raised by environmental groups. 

Senate Bill 540, authored by state Sen. Nick DiCeglie (R-Indian Rocks Beach), passed the Senate on Thursday by a vote 29-10. The measure would also limit challenges to local development amendments and decisions to those that “would materially alter the use, density or intensity of the property in a manner not consistent with the comprehensive plans,” according to the state Legislature’s analysis of the bill.

In addition, the measure revises a statute on land-development rules so that certain provisions do not apply to the Florida College System.

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