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Plan to expand impact fee reimbursements is denied

By Staff | Dec 3, 2008

Lee County Commissioners passed one of two proposals from the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on Tuesday approving, by a 3-2 vote, a plan to consider changing the land development code for accessory residential units in residential zoning districts.
Commissioners decided not to support the other half of the advisory committee’s proposal that would have expanded school impact fee reimbursements to include impact fees from other capitol projects.
If the proposal had passed, it would have offered a 50 percent reimbursement of school impact fees, hopefully spurring a rise in potential home buyers.
Commissioner Bob Janes said there are legal concerns with how the interest collected from impact fee accounts is used.
“There’s a legal question as to whether or not we can,” he said. “If it were feasible, would we want to take that money? The answer is probably no.”
The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee is made up of people from different sectors of the construction and real estate industries throughout the county. Appointed as an official advisor to county commissioners in March of this year, the committee meets once a month to make recommendations to the county.
Chairman Leland Taylor said the committee’s focus is on implementing new policy now, to prepare the county for when it returns to a “normal rate of growth.”
“We really do want to focus on existing construction. We want to get people into homes who need help, and reduce the existing inventory,” Taylor said.
Though commissioners did not accept the committee’s proposal, Taylor added the committee will continue to explore other sources of revenue to possibly move the reimbursement program forward, maybe even expanding the amount that is reimbursed.
“They want to continue to look at it,” Taylor said of commissioners. “They just didn’t like utilizing impact fees.”