Third District Court Of Appeals Decides Against Coral Gables Polystyrene Ban

The Third District Court of Appeals filed its opinion in the lawsuit filed by the Florida Retail Federation against the City of Coral Gables in reference to the City’s polystyrene ban.

The Court reversed the decision made by the lower court in favor of the City of Coral Gables and remanded it “for entry of final judgment in favor of FRF”, dealing a huge blow to the City’s efforts. (See Full Opinion).

The City Commission had passed an Ordinance in February of 2016, which prohibited the use of polystyrene containers by establishments in the City. The Florida Retail Federation filed suit in July of that year against the City.

The decision today stated: ” Because the trial court erred in finding the three statutes unconstitutional and concluding that the City’s Polystyrene Ordinance was not preempted, we reverse.”

The City put out the following statement through its Twitter account: ” The City is very disappointed with the Court’s ruling. Our legal team is reviewing the Court’s order in depth & developing recommendations for the City Commission’s consideration. The City remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting our environment, which includes eliminating the use of harmful items like polystyrene and plastic bags. The City also remains wholly committed to defending Home Rule & local control.”

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8 thoughts on “Third District Court Of Appeals Decides Against Coral Gables Polystyrene Ban

  1. I am so sorry about this decision. It shows that we care more about the bottom line than our mother earth. I encourage all restaurants and food retails to continue to be part of the solution. Please do the decent thing on a volunteer basis. I will definitely will take into consideration establishments that do when it comes to my patronage.
    I ask that the city continues this fight until the end. I support this initiative and I believe that it is necessary that we do not give up on it. Polystyrene Ban is a must in our city. In the world.

  2. Its amazing how much money the City is wasting on this polystyrene issue. Seriously let’s tackle bigger issues. No one talks about improving the electrical grid or burying power lines. This is a much serious issue that no one talks about it until we lose power after the storm then the city in their infinite wisdom embarrasses themselves by trying to sue FPL. Come on already and for the above comments I don’t care what other states have done about environmental issues. I certainly do not want to be California.

  3. Thank you very much for keeping us residents of Coral Gables informed. Keep up the good job!!!

  4. Agree wholeheartedly with Telling-It-Like-it-Is. I would add that stupid 25 miles/hour speed limit. Don’t commissioners have anything better to do? Perhaps they should limit their hours at the City. They should all have a Piña Colada with a paper straw. Good Luck!

    Jimmy Suarez

  5. Not all is lost.

    The reason the appeal was made, and I kid you not was asserted by Appellant’s CEO to be: thousands of retailers rely on polystyrene products and that “implementing a patchwork of different ordinances like this, which could change from street to street or block to block, is not only confusing to customers but also difficult for retailers.” Really? Making things cleaner is burdensome, therefore prohibit? But, it was really lobbyists which unevened the playing field and created FS 500.90 which delivered styrofoam bans to the Dept. of Agriculture, and took that authority away from citizens.

    Florida tries to continue with this trend — which Maine, NY, Maryland and others lean the opposite direction. Make a similar statute to 500.90 for Plastic Straws. Plastic Straws are the newest rage in Tallahassee, or so it seems. Lawmakers “Plastic Straw Ban” bill (HB 771) that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws — a la 500.90 language.

    Then guess what? Our governor thankfully saw this pendulum swinging too far to one side and vetoed the measure.

    DeSantis wrote “the state should simply allow local communities to address this issue through the political process. Citizens who oppose plastic straw ordinances can seek recourse by electing people who share their views.”

    If DeSantis continues to veto, Plastic Straws will meet their doom, county by county, city by city. But, styrofoam will continue to be protected unless our lobbyist-hypnotized legislature wakes up to the necessities of preserving our planet over alleged concerns about “confusing customers or making life difficult for retailers.”

    Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coral-gables/article233995142.html#storylink=cpy

  6. Gosh, it sure looks like Gables officials are wasting a lot of our taxpayer $$$. First, they spend an inordinate amount of time/$$$ on the whole annexation issue, and now more time/$$$ spent on the this polystyrene issue. Stay in your lane, CG officials – pave the darn roads, freeze the high garbage fees, and trim the swale trees.

  7. Hopefully the City will be successful in having the Florida Supreme Court hear this case. While a state statute can clearly preempt a local ordinance, if not encroaching upon its “Home Rule,” and if not directed only against a targeted city or area, the flaw that I see with the Court’s analysis is regarding the retroactive aspect of the enactment. If the City had passed the ordinance prior to January 1st, then there would be no issue and the ordinance would stand. But, why choose January 1st of this year? Why not just say that the law preempts any local ordinance passed after say January 1, 1987? So, some localities that enacted their ordinances prior to January 1, 2019 are protected, but others are not. And, the only city to have passed such an ordinance in the interim between January 1, 2019 and July 1, 2019 was Coral Gables. Shouldn’t the statute have started on the date enacted so as to not have a discriminatory effect on Coral Gables? All of this is only made more infuriating by the fact that such ordinances have shown that there are practical eco-friendly options to plastics, especially polystyrene, with little effect on the bottom line of local retailers — BUT with a big effect on the bottom line of the industries making and supplying litterbug plastics that serve to choke our very sensitive environment. The legislature needs to act — but don’t expect them to do so — DEMAND THAT THEY DO SO. Our cities want such laws. Our counties want such laws. The people want such laws. Soooooooooo, why no laws?

  8. Thank you for all the information you impart as regards Coral Gables.
    I appreciate not wading through extraneous non-Gables stuff.

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