Special Districts –You Can Adopt Rules, But Can You Enforce Them?

April 21, 2019

Most special districts’ charters contain language that allow the district to adopt rule and regulations related to district’s functions so long as those rules are not inconsistent with district’s charter.  Many special districts, including recreation districts, have adopted such rules and naturally assumed they could enforce those rules.

However, on March 27, 2019, the Second District Court of Appeal addressed this issue.  Specifically, the Court was presented the legal question of whether Tri-Par Estates Park and Recreation District, an independent special taxing district, had the authority to enforce rules and regulations promulgated by its Board of Trustees governing the use of its facilities.  The Court recognized that Tri-Par’s Charter specifically provided for the adoption of rules and regulations governing the use of its facilities, but found that its Charter did not explicitly provide for the enforcement of those rules.  The Court went on to explain that, because Tri-Par is a special taxing district created by the legislature, its powers are limited to those granted by the legislature.  Furthermore, the Court rejected Tri-Par’s argument that it implicitly had the authority to take actions necessarily incident to the powers expressly granted to its Board in its Charter.  Instead, the Court concluded that Tri-Par’s Charter did not provide for the enforcement of Tri-Par’s rules either expressly or implicitly.

If you have any questions regarding this Second District Court of Appeal opinion or your district’s ability to enforce its rules, please contact Jennifer Cowan at jcowan@llw-law.com.