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Seminole County Considering Higher Mobility Fees Based on New Study

June 18, 2020

By: Rebecca Wilson, Tara Tedrow & McGregor Love

Seminole County has commissioned a study to replace the county's road impact fee with a mobility fee. If adopted, the new mobility fee program would result in a substantial increase in impact fees for most developments.

Seminole County most recently reviewed its road impact fee in 1995, when it re‐endorsed a 1990 fee schedule.  

At its regular meeting on July 1, 2020, the Seminole County Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the public hearing on the mobility fee ordinance until the commission’s next regular meeting. Noting that the ordinance would impact every property in the county, commissioners tabled the hearing after expressing concern about the public not having an opportunity to participate in person. The public hearing on the ordinance is now scheduled for the commission’s regular meeting on August 5, 2020.  

What are Impact and Mobility Fees?

Impact and mobility fees are a way for local governments to involve new developments in funding a portion of the mobility infrastructure needs they create in a community.

Mobility fees are one‐time, up‐front charges for a portion of a development’s transportation impacts. Payment is usually made at the time of building permit or certificate of occupancy issuance. 

What are the Proposed Changes?

According to its 2020 Multi-Modal Mobility Study, Seminole County is considering adopting a modern mobility fee “to maintain a continuing flow of funds for needed mobility improvements” and to “reflect updated costs, expected rates of growth, and mobility system expansion plans.” The proposed increase in fees represents the county’s attempt to address a budget shortfall in its 2040 Transportation Plan funding. 

While the existing road impact fee program generates approximately $3.1 million annually, the county anticipates collecting approximately $7 million annually under the mobility fee program.

For most developers, the two most important changes to the fee schedule will be the revised fee districts and new land uses.

  • Revised fee districts. Currently, Seminole County has a four-district fee schedule. Under the new program, the county would have three mobility fee districts: suburban, rural and core. Developers can expect the highest fees in the rural district, moderate fees in the suburban district and the lowest fees in the core district.

  • New land uses. Additional land uses have been added into the fee schedule, including size‐graduations for single‐family homes, nursing homes, coffee/doughnut shops and “passive” versus "active” warehousing uses

In most cases, the new mobility fee will make development within Seminole County more costly.  For example:

  • A new 40-unit apartment complex in the suburban district would owe $67,760 in mobility fees under the new program (at $1,694/unit), compared to $29,240 under the current road impact fee program (at $731/unit).

  • A new 2,000-square-foot convenience store in the rural district would owe $60,400 in mobility fees under the new program (at $30,200/1,000 sq. ft.), compared to $14,500 under the current road impact fee program (at $7,250/1,000 sq. ft.). 

What’s Next?

Developers hoping to lock in current road impact fees may obtain a vested rights determination by entering into a written agreement with the county establishing the current road impact fees for their project. Such an agreement must be entered into prior to the county’s adoption of the mobility fee ordinances.  

The mobility fee ordinances will go before Seminole County’s Planning and Zoning Commission on July 1 and before the Board of County Commissioners on July 28. 

For more information on how the proposed mobility fee program could affect your development, contact our office.

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Becky  Wilson is chair of the firm's Land Use, Zoning and Environmental Group. She represents property owners, developers, lenders and other development participants with issues related to zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, administrative law, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s), procurement issues, due diligence and property rights.

As early as sixth grade, Becky advocated for the causes she believed in. Her concern about nuclear waste and water contamination in her hometown of Dothan, Alabama – and her thorough research – promoted her to press a state legislator with questions in the school auditorium. Having grown up in the South, Becky got in trouble for questioning authority – yet that life experience served her well.

After clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C., Becky landed in Orlando, quickly building a reputation at Lowndes for being thorough, outspoken, and a tireless advocate for clients. She ultimately found her niche in land use, collaborating with architects, transportation engineers and local governments to move her clients’ projects – and Central Florida – forward. Becky became one of the youngest female shareholders at the firm. Today, she is Chair of the Land Use, Zoning and Environmental Group.

Her clients include property owners, developers, lenders and other participants in the development of high-rise, hotels, planned communities, large “power-centers,” mixed-use projects, office buildings and big box commercial projects, projects within historic districts, multi-family developments, senior living, and affordable housing. Becky works closely with the local government entities to address the needs of her clients related to zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, administrative lawDevelopments of Regional Impact (DRI’s), procurement issues, due diligence, and property rights.

Undoubtedly, Becky’s diligence, activism and Southern charm were responsible in part for her appointment as chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Central Florida District Council, a global multidisciplinary real estate organization with more than 40,000 members dedicated to the responsible use of land, and creating and sustaining thriving communities.

Tara Tedrow is a shareholder in the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group and serves as chair of the Cannabis & Controlled Substances Group. She brings years of experience handling an array of complex legal matters for multi-billion dollar valued companies and entrepreneurs alike.
With a significant portion of her practice devoted to land use and development, Tara regularly advises clients on entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office and mixed uses. She works with local governments and regulatory agencies to address the needs of her clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, site plan approval, variance and waiver requests, due diligence and property rights.

Often sought out for high-profile and high-stakes land development projects, Tara has delivered positive outcomes for clients ranging from large multi-national and U.S.-based companies to high-net worth individuals seeking land use entitlements. With over 15 years of competitive debate experience, she is uniquely suited to handle complex and controversial projects and public hearings that present a myriad of political and legal challenges.

Tara has provided developers and clients with legal counsel and representation in Section 70.51 mediations. Her experience in land use and environmental dispute resolutions offers a unique benefit to clients navigating the alternative dispute resolution process following denial of a development order, zoning approval and other land use matters around the state.

Well-known for providing legal and lobbying representation for a wide range of cannabis clients, Tara and her team work with physicians, lenders, real estate developers, landlords, ancillary service providers, banks, licensed adult use and medical marijuana companies, cultivators, processors, retailers and license applicants, helping them to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape of marijuana and hemp regulations. She also assists clients in the national hemp industry in obtaining licensing and approvals for processing, retailing, cultivation and other forms of secondary byproduct monetization. Her deep knowledge of regulatory laws and understanding of operations and logistics for cannabis companies, along with her ability to make connections and build partnerships, bring strategic value to her clients. 

Tara is the only person in the state of Florida to be appointed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to both the inaugural Industrial Hemp Advisory Council created under Senate Bill 1020 and to the state’s Hemp Advisory Committee, which she currently chairs. A prolific presenter and speaker at industry seminars and conferences, she has served as the keynote speaker on industry regulations at over 60 events in the past two years. In the fall of 2018, Tara became the first professor in the state of Florida to teach a law school course on marijuana law and policy at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she continues to teach today.

Prior to joining the firm, Tara worked as a legal extern for the University of Florida General Counsel and Office of the Vice President as well as for the Orlando Juvenile Public Defenders Office. For over a decade, she has also worked professionally as a private speech and debate coach and taught at multiple national debate institutes, including the National Debate Forum at Emerson University, the National Symposium for Debate at Grinnell College and Victory Briefs Institute at UCLA.

Tara is a contributing writer at the Orlando Sentinel and has spoken about various real estate topics on Fox News.

To view Tara's information specific to Land Use or Cannabis, click the corresponding links below. 

Land Use

McGregor Love assists clients with entitling projects for commercial, residential, industrial, office, and mixed use.

McGregor works with local governments and other regulatory authorities to address the needs of clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, site plan approval, variance and waiver requests, due diligence, and property rights. As a member of the firm’s Renewable Energy Group, McGregor assists clients with permitting and development in the growing renewable energy industry. 

With a background in land use and business litigation, McGregor previously worked for other law firms where he focused on the representation of Florida businesses and business investors.

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