Lake Commissioners postpone vote on raising transportation impact fees

Lake County's bargain-rate transportation impact fees will stay in place for the foreseeable future after commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to postpone action on the fee hikes indefinitely.

The board debated whether to raise impact fees in the North and Central areas of the county to the level they adopted in 2014 for South Lake County. That would have represented a 500-percent increase across most categories.

The impact fee for a typical single-family home in Central and North Lake county is just $500, by far the lowest in Central Florida

Commissioner Leslie Campione urged to board to act, even if the increase was phased in over two years. She asked them to drive on Round Lake Road, S.R. 46 or to try to get on the Wekiva Parkway in the afternoon.

"Just tool around Northeast Lake County and see what a mess it is," she said. "I mean, we've got to do something."

Chairman Timothy Sullivan agreed, saying the county simply isn't collecting enough impact fee revenue to pay for new road construction across two-thirds of the county. 

Even in South Lake, the county's impact fee equates to just 70 percent of the estimated cost for new road capacity. County Engineer Fred Schneider calculated the percentage discounts to raise the impact fee for a single-family home by $500 increments.

But commissioners couldn't agree on whether to make the fees uniform throughout the county or to set a lower fee in the Central district. And while they mostly agreed on a phased approach, there were differences of opinion on whether the district boundaries should be changed.

Ultimately, Commissioner Josh Blake, who said he opposes any form of fee increase, convinced Sean Parks and Wendy Breeden to table the matter.

Commissioners will hold a workshop on Aug. 21 to discuss transitioning from impact fees to a mobility fee program, which allows greater flexibility in how the money is spent. They also could consider adding more categories to differentiate between different types of non-residential uses. 

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