The Pasco County Commission is expected to update the county’s mobility fee schedule — with proposed rates increasing, decreasing or staying the same in a number of categories.
The proposed fee schedule calls for a sizable fee increase in the retail category.
It also proposes the addition of two new categories — one that provides a discount for locally owned small businesses and another that establishes a rate for accessory dwelling units.
Mobility fees are the charges which accompany new development to help cover the costs for multi-modal impacts — road, pedestrian, bicycle and transit.
Consultant Bill Oliver, a registered professional engineer, has conducted a number of mobility fee studies for the county. He managed this one, as well.
He presented the county staff’s recommended updated fee schedule to the Pasco County Planning Commission for its consideration during the planning board’s July 22 meeting.
The Pasco County Commission, which has final jurisdiction, is expected to consider the proposed changes at its Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 meetings, Oliver said.
“The costs of implementing your mobility system have increased over recent years,” Oliver said.
“And, according to the Florida DOT (Department of Transportation), we expect those costs to continue to increase by about 3% per year, over the coming four or five years,” Oliver said.
“The bottom line is, the mobility fee rates do need to increase,” Oliver said. “We have to recover greater costs.”
The proposed fee schedule update would:
- Continue the existing (zero fee) incentives for office, industrial, lodging, and redevelopment and infill in the West Market Area
- Increase most retail fees by 50% over 4 years, divided equally by year, due to cost increases and partial or full subsidy removal
- Increase rates for apartments by 6% annually, for a total of 24% over four years due to cost increases and full subsidy removal
- Create a new category for locally owned small businesses, with a 50% discount in standard fees
- Continue to charge full rates for mini-warehousing and mining
- Increase other fees by approximately 3% annually, or about 13% over four years, to address cost increases
- Create a reduced rate for accessory dwellings, sometimes known as mother-in-law residences
Accessory dwelling units are defined as an ancillary or secondary living unit, not to exceed 900 square feet, that has a separate kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area, either within the same structure or on the same lot, as the primary dwelling.
Oliver said the new schedule also is being changed to reflect changes made in state law during the last session of the Florida Legislature.
The new law establishes that impact fee increases must be limited to every four years, with a maximum of a 50% increase in individual rates.
A 50% increase must be implemented over four years in four equal installments, Oliver added.
In presenting his impact fee study to the planning board, Oliver said Pasco began charging transportation impact fees in 1985.
It later shifted to mobility fees and decided to provide mobility fee incentives to encourage growth in specific categories.
While the proposed fee schedule calls for increasing the rate for retail by 50% over four years, it also calls for giving a discount for locally owned small business.
He said that proposal is based on private conversations he had with each member of the Pasco County Commission at the outset of his update study.
The discount for locally owned small business is based on a concern they could not absorb the increased retail fees, he said.
For purposes of the fee schedule, locally owned small businesses are defined as businesses that are not chain operations, that have 25 or fewer employees and that are 51%-owned by people whose permanent household is in Pasco, Hillsborough, Hernando, Pinellas, Sumter or Polk counties
All other fees, such as single-family residential, institutional fees, recreational fees, other land use categories, will be indexed over the next four years at about an increase of 3.13% per year, Oliver said.
Oliver also noted that: “By and large, Pasco County’s fee rates are comparable to Hillsborough County’s — slightly less in some cases, slightly more in other cases.”
He added that Pasco’s incentives offer a great benefit for office, industrial and lodging developments.
The consultant reminded the planning board, “the change we’re making now is supposed to last us for four years, unless we find extraordinary circumstances.”
The county’s planning department has found the proposed changes to be consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan and recommends approval to the Pasco County Commission.
The planning board voted to do the same, on a unanimous vote, with Planning Commissioner Roberto Saez absent.
If the changes are approved, they would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, Oliver said.
Published July 28, 2021