Manning: Disappointed bid to decrease impact fees failed
Lee County Commissioner John Manning spoke to the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association on Thursday night, taking questions in a talk show like presentation moderated by Annette Carasquillo.
Carasquillo fed questions to Manning on several topics, including impact fees, the Northwest Spreader Canal, and the flyovers along Veterans Parkway recently killed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Regarding impact fees, Manning said he attempted to seek a moratorium or reduction of 25 percent on impact fees for new construction, but his idea did not meet approval from the other four county commission members.
Manning said he was disappointed he couldn’t get, at the least, a second from the commission dais, especially when neighboring counties like Collier and Charlotte reducing their fees.
He said Collier County reduced their fees by as much as 56 percent.
“If nothing else it would signal, in my view.. .a way to ease the burden of their cost of residential, commercial or industrial construction,” Manning said.
Manning said he would have encouraged a sunset provision in the proposed reduction, possibly in two years.
Now the county has embarked on a study to see what the true impact of the reductions would be, Manning said. The results are due in two years.
“I wanted to cut through the red tape and give people in residential and construction a break,” he said.
Regarding the Northwest Spreader Canal, Manning said the county commissioners voted to replace the barrier because they didn’t feel the city would be able to promptly or correctly accomplish the set of projects offered as an alternative to replacing the barrier.
He said the science on both sides of the argument “wasn’t really there”, and the county would be willing to redirect $1.5 million earmarked for the barrier replacement toward those alternative projects if the city of Cape Coral, Lee County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection can revisit the issues.
He said the parties seemed willing to get back to the negotiating table.
“We need the city, the county and the DEP to sit down and get through this issue,” he said. “We can reopen the dialogue again and move forward.”
Regarding the proposed flyover, or overpass, along Veterans Boulevard, Manning said that no business access would have changed if the flyovers had actually gotten off the ground.
“We don’t care what goes there as long as it move traffic efficiently,” Manning said.