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Tavares creating incentive for apartment development

There aren't many for-rent apartments in Tavares, so the City Council has voted to try to tempt some to town by deferring impact fees.

The City Council recently voted to allow developers of apartment complexes with more than 100 rental dwelling units to defer paying as much as half of the required impact fees for two years after getting permits.  The council is set to vote a second and final time on the plan January 20.

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There is a need and a demand for this," said Bob Tweedie, Tavares economic development director.  Specifically, there is little for-rent attached housing for young professionals in the area, many who work at Waterman Hospital.

He said apartment developers asked if there was anything that could be done to make their upfront investment in attached housing lighter since the pay back for constructing apartments and other attached housing doesn't come until all the units are built and leased.

City staff came up with the idea of allowing qualified apartment builders to defer as much as half of their impact fees until two years after pulling permits.

There are some caveats, including requiring that all the building permits must be submitted at the same time. Also the debt will occur interest at the federal rate and, in case the project goes bust, the developer is required to put up an irrevocable note of credit for the borrowed sum.

"We had to figure out how we could do this without risking city funds," said Tweedie. The city will be paid interest on the "loan" and it is protected by the letter of credit in case the projects go under.

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at teresaburney4@gmail.com

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