Osceola County Commissioners voted Monday to increase to the county’s mobility fee rates for most new development in the county, beginning in March 2021.
The spikes would hit most businesses and all housing categories. But townhomes, retirement communities and apartments would take the biggest hits, according to the rate study released by the county on Tuesday.
The mobility fee for a single family home will jump 10%, to $9,999. The fee for apartments would go from $6,326 per unit to $7,754 per unit – a 23% increase. The same fee will apply to condos, townhomes and urban flats, but in those cases it reflects a 40% increase from the current rate. Active adult communities would see their mobility fees go up nearly 25%, and new assisted living facilities would see their rates virtually double, to $4,440 per unit.
The new rates are based on the latest version of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Manual, the standard basis for determining mobility fees. Osceola County offers a 25% mobility fee discount for any building located within a mixed use project and a 50% discount for transit oriented development.
The proposed fee changes for non-residential uses vary. For new office construction, small offices of less than 20,000 square feet would be charged significantly higher rates (63%), but larger offices would see only modest increases.
Some retail businesses, like grocery stores and pharmacies, also would take a financial hit. But other types of retail would see their fees increase about 10%.
Industrial warehouses would benefit with a 43% reduction in mobility fees. Under the proposal, a developer building a 1 million square foot distribution warehouse would see its mobility fees drop from nearly $4 million to $2.27 million. The rates for mini-warehouses would also drop by 33%.
The higher mobility rates will likely coincide with an increase in school impact fees, which are already highest in the state. The School District of Osceola County has hired a new consultant and has not presented the findings yet to the school board.
County Commissioners adopted the mobility fee ordinance in 2015 to replace transportation impact fees, which the board suspended in 2011 and later repealed. Most jurisdictions update their mobility fees every three years, so the county is due for a revision in 2021.
The adjusted fees are one part of the update. The other would affect where the money is spent. The 2015 ordinance divided the county into two district, with the Florida’s Turnpike as the dividing line. The ordinance requires the county to spend its mobility fee revenue on transportation improvements in the same district where the fees were generated.
The county’s transportation consultant, HNTB, recommending splitting the East District in two, with U.S. 192/Nova Road as the dividing line. This would keep the fees collected in the fast-growing Narcoossee Corridor and Sunbridge in the new Northeast Mobility District. Osceola County Commissioners already have approved a statement of legislative intent noting that the revised ordinance would adjust the fees and create the third district.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article was published on Aug. 11, 2020.