New roads construction in Florida could slow with impact fee limits

Nathan Law

Newly passed state bill limits impact fee increases to no more than 12.5% a year and no more than 50% over four years Impact fees help pay for infrastructure needs created by new development Florida’s population has grown from 18.8 million to 21.5 million over the past 10 years DAYTONA […]

  • Newly passed state bill limits impact fee increases to no more than 12.5% a year and no more than 50% over four years
  • Impact fees help pay for infrastructure needs created by new development
  • Florida’s population has grown from 18.8 million to 21.5 million over the past 10 years

DAYTONA BEACH — As Florida’s roads become increasingly clogged amid the unrelenting stream of newcomers, state lawmakers have passed a bill that limits how much counties and cities can raise impact fees to accommodate that growth.

The bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign into law, caps impact fee increases to no more than 12.5% in a given year and no more than 50% over a four-year period.

Jeff Brower

“I’m disappointed and even a little bit surprised,” said Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower. He described the recently passed bill, HB 337, as an unnecessary effort by state lawmakers to take away the decision-making ability of local governments.

“We can’t keep up with maintenance of our existing roads and bridges much less come up with money for new ones,” said Brower, who was elected in November largely on his pledge to control development in the county. “Impact fees are the kind of things we should be deciding at the city and county level.”

How this impacts you:How impact fees work in Florida and what changes under the new law

Traffic congestion along LPGA Boulevard at the Tomoka River Bridge, Friday, April 30, 2021.

The Florida Home Builders Association led the lobbying effort to get the bill passed both in the state House and Senate. Rusty Payton, the FHBA’s CEO and chief lobbyist, said the bill was needed to add more “predictability” to impact fee increases and to ensure that increases are more reasonable.

Rusty Payton

ESCALATING HOME PRICES: First-time buyers being squeezed out of the market

INFRASTRUCTURE OVERVIEW:How Florida stacks up with the rest of the nation

IMPACT FEES: Are they unfair?

What spurred the bill’s passage

“What precipitated the bill is that we had some counties make large increases all at once,” Payton said. “A phase-in of impact fees keeps predictability in the marketplace. Before, you could increase it by whatever amount. There were no limits.”

State Rep. Nick DiCeglie

State Rep. Nick DiCeglie, a Republican who represents Pinellas County, was the sponsor of HB 337. A corresponding bill in the state Senate was sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, a Republican who represents Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

“I represent a neighboring county to Hillsborough. In April 2020, I read a news report that Hillsborough, during the middle of a difficult time for the economy because of the pandemic, was raising impact fees 100%,” said DiCeglie. “I also read that the City of Punta Gorda was raising impact fees 300% and that Orange County was raising its fee by 160%. That’s what prompted me to look at what could we do to slow down these increases.”

Jennifer Motsinger

Impact fees in Hillsborough County actually went up 300% in the past year, according to Jennifer Motsinger, executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association.

“I’m not going to suggest that impact fees aren’t necessary. They are, but predictability is necessary to run a business,” DiCeglie said. “Huge impact fee increases are also a way to price first-time home buyers out of the market.”

Next Post

Sustainable House: 8 Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable Homes

Despite the continued resistance from climate sceptics, the urgency of the climate crisis becomes clearer by the day. And so does the realisation that, by necessity, sustainable housing will have to be an important part of its solution. The 2016 Paris Agreement commits signatories to the goal of limiting “global […]