Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Give OakLeaf Impact Fee Exemptions; Board OKs $1.7 Million Plan for Land

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Give OakLeaf Impact Fee Exemptions; Board OKs $1.7 Million Plan for Land

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

As land values rise, so does the value of property that developers donate for school sites.

In Clay County, as school site values rise, so do the size of the impact fee exemptions they win for the developers who donated them.

That's what the School Board discovered last week when it reluctantly approved an agreement that gave the developers of OakLeaf, a new community in Argyle, about $1.7 million worth of impact fee exemptions. That's about $57,000 an acre for the donation of a 30-acre school site.

"I was flabbergasted," said board member Carol Studdard. "I know property [value] is going up . . . but we are setting a precedent here for a huge value.

"It is worthy of a conversation," she said.

An educational impact fee was enacted by the Clay County Commission, at the request of the School Board, to raise funds for school facility needs. As of May 1, before any new permit is issued for residential construction in the county, developers and builders have to pay impact fees up to $2,000 for each new home.

But in certain communities, such as Argyle, Eagle Harbor and Fleming Island Plantation, hundreds of homes will be exempt because those communities, termed "developments of regional impact," or DRIs, earned credits for land the developers donated for school sites.

Under separate agreements approved earlier, Eagle Harbor got $542,000 in credits, about $12,000 per acre for the Fleming Island Elementary site, and Fleming Island Plantation got $3.25 million, $25,000 per acre for the Thunderbolt Elementary site. Eagle Harbor is several years older than Fleming Island Plantation, and rising land values played a role in the difference between their credits.

Land values have continued to rise since Fleming Island Plantation opened two years ago, hence the heftier amount for OakLeaf. …

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