Developers to continue paying fees at the start of projects

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Developers planning to build new businesses or homes will continue paying their impact fees sooner rather than later. Commissioners unanimously shot down a proposal that would have allowed builders to hold off on paying those fees until the end of the projects.

“It’s another roadblock,” developer Peter Robinson said after the commissioners’ vote.

Impact fees are fees the county assesses on developments to pay for its share of the burden to county services.

He had recommended the county change the timing of its impact fees to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy instead of at the time building permits are pulled.

Robinson argued that by postponing payment, it would encourage builders and developers to jumpstart construction and create jobs as new businesses move in.

Commissioners, instead, supported Community Development Director Bob Keating’s recommendation to not make any changes.

Keating expressed numerous concerns and hardships the county’s staff would have in collecting the fees.

Such concerns included, among others, the potential for developers to not have the funds available to pay the fees – which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars; disputes over the amount of fees owed, postponement of the collection of funds that would be needed to pay for roadway and infrastructure improvements.

“It is a big cash flow problem,” County Administrator Joe Baird said.

Commissioners in March expressed interest in considering the timing change, expressing that the change could help businesses and developers move into the area.

The county has suspended collecting five of the nine impact fees assessed on development, which include emergency services facilities, correctional facilities, public buildings, law enforcement, and solid waste facilities.

The four that have not been suspended include transportation, parks and recreation, libraries and schools. Of those, commercial developers only pay the transportation impact fees.

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