At a time when Apopka has more than 11,300 residential units and more than 20 million square feet of non-residential space in the development pipeline, the city is moving forward with significant impact fee hikes in order to generate more revenue for road improvements around all of the growth.
The changes approved by the city commission on May 3 call for developers to pay up to 230% more per unit in impact fees for new single-family homes and up to 197% more per unit for new apartment communities.
The changes will take effect on July 1.
“The request to update the city’s transportation impact fees are well-justified,” Pam Richmond, the city’s transportation coordinator said at the April 19 commission meeting. “With our present and future roadway capacity needs, the existing impact fees will never allow the city to provide roadway infrastructure.”
The impact fees haven’t been updated since 2006.
“We need to do this,” said Commissioner Nick Nesta. “This should have been done a long time ago. This is why our infrastructure is the way that it is.”
The update also adds several new land use categories including nursing home and medical office. Some of the existing categories have been expanded to be more specific. For example, in the existing fee schedule, there is only one category for single-family residential. In the newly adopted fee schedule, there are three single-family residential fees based on the size of the house.
Currently, impact fees for a detached single-family home, regardless of size, are set at $3,101 per dwelling unit. Starting July 1, developers will pay $8,076 per unit for a home less than 1,500 square feet, $9,000 per unit for a home between 1,501 and 2,499 square feet, and $10,255 per unit for a single-family home larger than 2,500 square feet.
Currently, developers pay $2,178 per dwelling unit for an apartment community. Starting July 1, developers will pay $6,480.00 per unit for a two-story low-rise apartment, $4,829 per unit for a three to ten-story midrise apartment, and $3,951 per unit for a highrise apartment tower taller than 10 stories.
Impact fees for a “quality restaurant” will increase from $11,125 per 1,000 square feet to $30,030 per 1,000 square feet, representing a 170% increase, while impact fees for a fast food restaurant will increase from $24,423 per 1,000 square feet to $81,668 per 1,000 square feet (a 234% increase).
Tony Benge, a developer with several mixed-use projects underway in Apopka, said he supports the impact fee increases.
“I think it’s actually a very good move for the city of Apopka,” the president of Benge Development said. “With the immense amount of growth they have coming in it’s critical to ensure the infrastructure is going to be ready for development. What Apopka raised the fees to really kind of brought them in line. Compared to the county and everywhere else, it really was lagging.”
He said the changes shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone actively looking to build in Apopka.
“This has been in the works for a long time,” Benge said. “And the city did a great job of letting everybody know. It definitely wasn’t an ‘Oh my God, what are you doing?’ kind of thing. It was more like everyone knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. The whole point of impact fees is to sustain the new growth…by having the development community pay for impacts along the way is really the best way to be on the forefront of all the new growth.”
Industrial developers will see less significant changes. Impact fees for an industrial park will actually decrease from $2,633 per 1,000 square feet to $2,328 per 1,000 square feet.
Richmond said the changes bring the city’s impact fee rates more in line with Orange County’s.
“The impact fees need to go up,” she said. “This was advertised, I’ve been very vocal about this. And I feel like I’ve talked to most of the people who have some concerns.”
Currently, developers pay either $4,955 or $3,090 per 1,000 square feet for an office complex in Apopka, depending on size. Under the changes, developers will pay $8,020 per 1,000 square feet, regardless of size.
Developers of medical offices will pay though: $20,457 per 1,000 square feet for a building under 10,000 square feet or $29,295 per 1,000 square feet for a medical office greater than 10,000 square feet.
The city also charges impact fees for recreation, police, fire/EMS and utilities. No changes for those rates are being proposed at this time.
As of January, the city of Apopka had 114 development projects in the pipeline totaling 11,366 residential units and 20.8 million square feet of non-residential space, according to city records. Of those projects, 2,952 residential units and 4.5 million square footage of non-residential space are under construction.
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