Impact Fees Lag, Expert Tells City; Fernandina Beach to Make Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Fernandina Beach impact fees are about seven times lower than the state average, a land-use management consultant told city commissioners this week.

But that might not be for long.

City commissioners have directed James Nicholas, a University of Florida law professor and growth management expert, to prepare a fee schedule that's more appropriate for the city's needs.

That could mean extra revenue for the city and higher up-front costs for building new homes.

Impact fees are imposed on developers to pay for increased infrastructure capacity needed to handle growth. The fees include the projected costs for roads, parks, public safety, sanitation, public buildings, schools and libraries to serve the people living in houses the developers build.

The city charges fees for parks and recreation, public safety, sanitation and public facilities, but the fee schedule has not been regularly updated as required by the City Code, City Manager Robert Mearns said.

Nicholas said municipalities across the state have become increasingly reliant on impact fees as a revenue source. …