City Wants Tiered Impact Fee



It will take a little longer than expected to calculate a new impact fee rate in the city of Sarasota. After hearing a report from consulting firm Tindale Oliver, Sarasota City Commissioners on Monday asked staff to go back to the drawing board on establishing a multimodal impact fee and to come up with a tiered system with possible exceptions for daycare centers, workforce housing and redevelopment areas.

Consultant Steve Tindale said a tiered system on residential development would be fair. That would mean larger homes could potentially be charged a higher fee than smaller ones, similar to the way commercial construction is charged an impact fee on a square footage basis. “There are always some good and bad parts when you start tiering,” he said. “But it’s fair. If a person is only building a 1,200-square-foot structure, that person has a right to a lower fee because that structure generates less traffic.”

Impact fees are typically one-time charges on new construction to help pay for infrastructure needs generated by the new growth. Sarasota officials have been in the process over the past few years of moving from a road impact fee to a multi-modal impact fee, something that would allow revenues to be used for all sorts of transportation infrastructure from roads to bike trails to bus stops. 

City Commissioner Liz Alpert questioned if having fees in the city would lead developers to build outside the city limits. Tindale, though, said market quality generally has a greater impact on development decisions than a fee that can add a few thousand dollars to a project’s cost. In looking at trends statewide, Tindale said communities with higher impact fees on average have more growth.

Commissioners on Monday could have approved a non-tiered system that charged a fee based on type of construction; a detached single-family home would have been charged a $2,887 impact fee, for example. But commissioners unanimously opted to send staff and Tindale to develop a tiered system instead.

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