County increases impact fees for fire, police, parks

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved rate hikes related to fire/rescue services, law enforcement, and parks and recreation.


  • West Orange Times & Observer
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The Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved at its Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting three ordinances designed to increase impact fees assessed on new development. The rates were raised for fire/rescue services, law enforcement, and parks and recreation.

The rate of increase depends on the type of dwelling or building. For instance, the impact fee for fire/rescue services rose from $339 to $346 for a single-family detached dwelling, the fee for law enforcement increased from $502 to $510, and the fee for parks and recreation went up from $1,785 to $2,246.

“It’s important for people to know that the impact fees that are assessed on new development is what is used to pay for the infrastructure required to accommodate the new development,” Orange County District Commissioner Nicole Wilson said. “It’s a fee that is tagged onto the specific type of permit that is issued.”

The fees are assigned according to the type of development and the impact it has on the infrastructure — for example, a warehouse vs. an apartment complex.

“Those are all assessed differently,” Wilson said.


For the Parks and Recreation Department, staff looks at aspects from service area and population, cost components, fee comparisons, facility inventory, level of service, demand component and, net impact of costs,” Wilson said. “It’s number crunching. They really are able to give it to us as, per population, there is where you are and where you need to be to continue the level of service.”

For fire/rescue, county staff looked at facility inventory, level of service, credit components, demand components, service area and population, and fee comparison. Law enforcement is similar.

“Under Florida statutes, any increases in impact fees have to be done in phasing so there’s not sort of a gut punch to the industry,” Wilson said.

The county previously completed updates for transportation in 2020 and schools in 2021.

The BCC is provided with a technical study every five years to ensure impact fees are based on the most current and localized data.


HOW THIS AFFECTS CITIZENS

Wilson said the commission is looking at impact-fee incentives, as well, to encourage investors to create a variety of housing markets, including affordable housing. There currently is a crisis in the housing market, with rising sales and rental prices and a decrease in housing inventory.

“The update is closely tied to our efforts to increase affordable housing inventory by adding exemptions for accessory dwelling units (1,500 square feet or less) and exemptions for certified affordable housing units,” Wilson said.

“(The impact fees) were originally adopted in the 1980s as a way to require new development to pay a share of the infrastructure costs necessitated by its development,” she said. “They are a one-time fee on new development. The updated transportation impact fee went into effect on June 27, 2021.”

Orange County took inventory of its fire/rescue services and has 40 fire stations (owned, excludes four leased stations), three ancillary facilities, 380,000 square feet of building space on 94 acres of land, and $139.7 million worth of vehicles and equipment.

Law-enforcement inventory totaled 374,000 square feet of total building space, 147 acres of land, and $156 million in necessary vehicles and equipment.

Park acreage is divided into two classifications: activity-based and resource-based. This list includes 26 community parks, 21 specialty parks, six district parks and one regional park totaling 5,000 acres. That does not include Habitat parklands, smaller neighborhood and pocket parks, or parks located in municipalities.

 

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