Orange County on July 28 approved changes meant to help encourage development activity during the pandemic.
The commissioners voted unanimously for county code amendments which allow for companies to defer the payment of impact fees and to exempt the payment of transportation impact fees for change-of-use permits up to $100,000.
That comes as Central Florida residential and non-residential construction starts are down 20% year over year through the month of May, according to a June 25 New York-based Dodge Data & Analytics report, the most recent data available.
The deferment will apply to all types of impact fees, including those collected for fire services, transportation, schools, parks and law enforcement. The fees usually are collected at the issuance of a building permit, but now will be due either by the time a development’s first building receives pre-power or the first certificate of occupancy is issued, whichever comes first.
With the transportation impact fee payment, there will be an exemption for permits issued for change of use, such as if a building was going from warehouse to retail. The $100,000 cap on the exemption means any amount above that point still will have to be paid.
The change-of-use fees account for a small amount of the $30 million-$40 million the county usually collects in transportation impact fees per year, Alan Marshall, assistant to the director for the county’s community, environmental and development services department, said during the July 28 county meeting. Between the past two years, collections of those change-of-use fees accounted for $100,000 to $110,000 on average.
Both of those incentive programs will start Aug. 3 and are set to end July 30, 2021.
The county commissioners on July 7 previously voted to provide $10 million to offset building permits for a six-month period. The policy allows developers to apply for up to $100,000 in building permit offsets per project. That program began July 13 and will end either Jan. 15 or when the funds are expended.
New construction creates jobs, making it an important regional economic driver. The industry employs roughly 90,800 people locally who are paid an average of $15.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.