9/9 FRI 2:45 | How to Pay for Growth - Impact Fees 2


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Clancy Mullen

Since the 1980s, impact fees have been an important tool to fund infrastructure needs created by development. The landscape for local governments use of impact fees in Florida has changed over the past several years. There has been an economic downturn. Legislative and state referenda have limited local government’s
ability to generate revenue to fund infrastructure. Given these new circumstances, does the use of impact fees need to be rethought, and if so how? Given the changing climate in Florida, this session will provide planners and planning lawyers the tools to rethink their use of this critical infrastructure funding tool.

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9/9 FRI 2:45 | How to Pay for Growth - Impact Fees 2

  1. 1. Impact Fees Under Siege by Legislators and Local Governments2011 FAPA Conference, Palm Beach, FL Clancy Mullen
  2. 2. The Two-Front War Legislatures restricting local authority  2006: WI prohibits county fees, rec facilities, vehicles  2007: NV prohibits jurisdiction-wide service areas  2009: FL puts burden of proof on local government  2009: AZ places 2-year moratorium on fee increases  2010: AZ extends moratorium of fee increases another year  2011: AZ prohibits gen gov’t, solid waste, regional park fees Local governments bowing to developers  Fees being suspended/reduced nationwide, but especially in FL  24 counties in Florida have suspended reduced fees since 2007
  3. 3. Collapse of Housing Bubble Monthly Single-Family Building Permits, Florida & Arizona, 2000-2011
  4. 4. 2011 Arizona Legislation AZ municipal enabling act was much like FL  Could address any “cost to the municipality” from growth  Modest annual changes, starting in 2007  Locked in fees for 2 years at plat/site plan; required list of projects; lengthened time periods for notice and phase-in SB 1525 prohibits fees after 1/1/12 (unless pledged):  General government facilities  Solid waste facilities  Parks over 30 acres, rec centers over 3,000 sq. ft.  Libraries over 10,000 sq. ft., books or furnishings  Police/fire training facilities, administrative equipment
  5. 5. 2011 Arizona Legislation SB 1525 requires full compliance by 8/1/14  Land Use Assumptions  Infrastructure Improvements Plan  Refunds if actual costs exceed estimates  Fees locked-in for 2 years at plat/site plan  Credit for any “discriminatory” construction sales tax  Advisory committee or biennial audit  8-month adoption process
  6. 6. FL: Local Pressure to Reduce Fees Developers/builders more aggressive  Desperation: few projects still in process can’t compete with falling prices of existing homes, trying to cut all costs possible Opposition to growth weakened  Taxes on existing residents no longer going up because of unbridled growth; collapse of housing bubble has created more visible problems
  7. 7. Arguments for Fee Reductions Need to be competitive to attract development  Developers & businesses will go where fees are lowest New housing can’t compete with existing housing Might stimulate construction and create jobs  What have we got to lose? (revenue low)  If we don’t try it, we won’t know  Worth it if it creates even one job If it doesn’t appear to have worked...  We don’t know how much worse it would have been  We will be positioned for the recovery
  8. 8. Arguments Against Fee Reductions Impact fees have never been shown to deter growth  Development follows market opportunity, not lowest cost  National chains not deterred by fees; “mom & pop” stores rent  Industries want good transportation, labor force, low operating costs Impact fees are visible, but not only development costs  Developers will continue to make road and other improvements If it does work, it will only make things worse  Increase housing oversupply; depress housing prices Reducing/suspending impact fees will create inequities  Developers finding their credits devalued (recent flap in Volusia Co.)  Builders who have paid fees competing with builders who did not Funding for growth-related improvements will shrink
  9. 9. So Who is Winning the Argument? Brevard Co. – Mar 2009: suspended road fees for 2 years; extended to March 2012 Charlotte Co. – Jan 2008: rollback fees 2/3; June 2011: suspended non-road fees 1 year Citrus Co. – Jan 2009: reduced road fees 50%; suspended Apr 2010; reimposed June 2011 Clay Co. – Jan 2009: adopted/suspended road fees for 2 years; extended to July 2012 Collier Co. – Oct 2010: road & park fees reduced based on study, school fees halved Columbia Co. –2009: suspended fees adopted Feb. 2008; July 2011: extended indefinitely DeSoto Co. – Jan 2008: suspended fees adopted late 2006 and refunded fees collected Glades Co. – Nov 2008: all fees suspended, roads to be back to 50% in Jan. 2012 Hendry Co. – Sep 2008: all fees suspended until Jan 1, 2012, when come back at 50% Hernando Co. – Dec 2009: fees rolled back to 2001 levels for 1 year; extended to Dec 1, 2011 Highlands Co. – July 2009: all fees suspended Indian River Co. – Mar 2009: suspended 5 fees; extended 3 fees until March 2012 Lake Co. – Mar 2010/Jan 2011: road & school fees suspended until March/April 2012 Manatee Co. – Jan 2009: road fees halved until Jan 2013, school fees suspended Marion Co. – Jan 2010: road fees suspended 18 months; extended to Jan 1, 2013 Martin Co – July 2009: all fees suspended except roads & schools, reimposed Oct. 2010 Nassua Co. – July 2008: all fees suspended except schools until Jan 2012 Orange Co. – May 2011: fees reduced 50% schools & 25% others for 18 months until Nov. 2012 Polk Co. – Apr 2009: cut all fees but schools 50%; suspended all but schools until Aug 2012 Putnam Co. – Mar 2009: all fees suspended 2 years; 2010: extended to March 1, 2013 Santa Rosa Co. – Feb 2009: suspended road fees; extended twice until Jan 2012 Sarasota Co. – Dec 2010: school fees suspended for 2 years until Dec 2012 Volusia Co. – July 2011: road, park, fire fees suspended for 2 years in non-growth areas Wakulla Co. – Sep 2008: suspended fees – reinstated March 2010
  10. 10. FL County Fee Reductions, 2007-2011
  11. 11. FL County Fee Reductions/Suspensions
  12. 12. FL County Fee Reductions/Suspensions Based on 2007-2011 Change in Fees
  13. 13. Research Design Time periods  Fee-reduction period: 19 months (Jan. 2008-July 2009) during which a number of counties reduced their fees  Year before fee-reduction period: 2007 calendar year  Year after fee-reduction period: Aug. 2009-July 2010 Change in single-family fees  Total non-utility fees (water/wastewater excluded) Percent change in single-family permits
  14. 14. State-Wide Context
  15. 15. Sample Selection Starting point  42 counties that charged fees in 2007 Exclusions  2 counties that adopted and suspended fees during the period  1 county that reduced fees, then increased them  3 counties that reduced fees after the period  8 counties with relatively low fees in 2007  6 slow-growth counties  2 counties for which building permits were not available
  16. 16. Sample Counties 9 fee reduction counties  Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Highla nds, Indian River, Manatee, Martin, Nassau, Polk 11 non-reduction counties  Collier, Lee, Miami- Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Sarasota, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Volusia
  17. 17. Sample County Characteristics Population size and growth  Fee reduction counties tend to be smaller (average 2008 population of 247,000 vs. 742,000)  Both types of counties grew about 20% from 2000-2008 Single-family fees  All sample counties charged at least $6,000 in 2007  Fee reduction counties tended to have lower fees in 2007 (average of $9,849 vs. $12,631)  Fee reduction counties reduced fees an average of $4,000 Single-family permits  Permits declined more in reduction counties (60% vs 56%)
  18. 18. Initial Regression Analysis Not statistically significant  Slope of line in expected direction (bigger fee reduction = lower decline in permits)  Explains only 1% of variation  64% chance of random result  Manatee County is a major outlier distorting the relationship
  19. 19. Excluding Manatee County Statistically significant  Slope of line in opposite direction (bigger fee reduction = greater decline in permits)  Explains 22% of variation  4% chance of random result Conclusion  No correlation between reducing fees and issuing more permits
  20. 20. Regression Equations
  21. 21. Conclusions Fee reductions are not an economic stimulus Nevertheless  Pressure to lower fees will continue  Annual legislative battles will continue But growth will return some day  Few alternative funding sources to pay for growth  Most suspension/reductions automatically expire  Growth paying for growth remains popular