Impact fees for developers in unincorporated Sarasota County who intend to construct affordable housing will soon be lower than those for developers constructing only market-rate housing. On January 31st, an ordinance providing financial incentives for the creation of affordable housing was unanimously approved by the Sarasota County commissioners.
Permit applications received on or after March 1 will be affected, said county officials. Municipalities may levy one-time levies called “impact fees” on new construction to fund the construction or expansion of infrastructure like roads and utilities to accommodate population growth.
There are nine such fees in Sarasota County, and the new ordinance affects three of them (those for transit, libraries, and parks). Fees in this category may be lowered if and when a developer creates affordable housing. There will be no discounts for market-rate units in a development that also includes affordable ones.
Below, we’ve provided a link where you can read more articles on the topic of housing if you’re interested.
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How Much will the Fees be Reduced?
Sarasota County has decided to use a tiered approach, with lower impact fees for low-income housing developments and higher discounts for middle-income developments. In 2022, the median income for a family of four in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro region was $90,400, thus these figures are adjusted based on that number.
For the Library and Park Impact Fees:
- Developers building multi-family housing for household incomes at or below 60% of the area median income won’t have to pay those two fees. (60% of the AMI was $51,780 for a family of four in the Sarasota metro area in 2022.)
- Developers building housing for 60% to 80% of the AMI will pay half of the two fees.
- For housing from 80% to 120% of the AMI, they’ll pay 75%.
- For housing over 120% of the AMI, they’ll pay the full fee.
For the Mobility Impact Fee:
- Developers creating multi-family or single-family housing for 60% of the area median income or below won’t pay the impact fee.
- For housing from 60% to 80% of the AMI, they’ll pay half.
- For housing over 80% of the AMI, they’ll pay 100%.
Why is This Action Important?
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s senior vice president for community leadership, Jon Thaxton, said the commissioners’ fee structure “deserves nothing but kudos.“
For our service workforce,
“It is a huge step in the right direction for bringing relief to the cost of housing,”
Housing for people with earnings of less than 60% of the area median income (AMI), according to Thaxton, provides “the most benefit for the most needed housing” because of the tiered structure. Commission Chair Ron Cutsinger has stated that the board is considering a wide variety of options to solve the housing situation in Sarasota County.
One example of a decision made by the commission concerns the legalization of accessory housing units in 2019. The efforts taken by the county “help fix the problem a little bit,” Cutsinger said. This, I believe, is a very promising first step in that direction.