Osceola County has extended the deadline to April 20 for homebuilders to file building permits and still avoid the 89 percent mobility fee hike.
The new mobility fees go into effect May 1, raising the fees for a single-family home from $4,585 to $8,688. The county's planning staff had previously pledged to review and approve any new home building permits submitted by March 22.
The building permit deadline for non-residential projects was March 9, and several developers filed their plans just in the nick of time.
But those deadlines coincided with the county's disastrous rollout of its new Accela cloud-based permitting site on Feb. 12. The $2 million software system still isn't fully functional.
Deputy County Administrator Joe Johnston referenced the software issues indirectly in the new policy determination.
"The Community Development Department has experienced significant delays and disruptions to its building permit and plans review operations, since February 12, 2018," he wrote.
"We express our sincere regret for any inconvenience or service failures to our customers. Our staff is committed to ensuring that all permits, submitted by the deadline date, are issued prior to May 1st."
Greater Orlando Builders Association spokesman Raleigh Steinhauer praised the decision to extend the deadline.
"The ongoing issues with Osceola County’s electronic permitting system have been a source of disruption, frustration, and significant delays for the homebuilding industry," he said on Thursday. "However, we understand and appreciate that county staff is working extremely hard to resolve these issues for their customers."
Another incentive to apply before the April 20 deadline is that under the current ordinance, mobility fees are collected when the building receives a Certificate of Occupancy, or CO. After May 1, the county would require payment at the building permit stage, which means developers and their investors have to carry those costs during the entire construction period.
Homebuilders and multifamily developers are facing even stiffer fees once the new school impact fees take effect on Aug. 1. Osceola Commissioners approved a school impact fee ordinance, which doubles fees for new apartment complexes, on March 12.
The school impact fee for single-family homes will increase 16 percent to $11,823 per house, making it the highest in the state.