The North Port City Commission, in a 5-0 vote, placed a two-year moratorium on transportation and solid waste impact fees. In addition, the City Commission adopted new impact fees at a 50 percent reduction from the recommended rate by the consultant for parks, fire rescue, law enforcement and general government. Overall, this translates to a lower cost associated with building a new home or commercial building in the City of North Port.
“This isn’t just good for North Port, this is great for North Port,” said Commission Chair Tom Jones during the January 30, 2012, City Commission meeting. “As the economy picks up, we are positioning ourselves to grow. We have the population to grow, we have available property that’s priced correctly, and we’re developing a reputation in this area and around the state as being a community that works with businesses, promotes business growth and is dedicated to economic development.”
If the fees had been adopted at the recommended rate and the decision to place a moratorium had not been made, a single family home would have cost $7,580.02 in impact fees. With the new reduction, a single family home now will cost only $1,136.94 in impact fees. A hotel would have paid a maximum of $2,720.34 per room, and now will pay no more than $319.20 per room in impact fees. A shopping center greater than 50,000-square-feet would have paid a maximum of $7,488.21 per 1,000 square feet, and now will pay $675.44 per 1,000 square feet in impact fees.
North Port joins a growing trend of local governments across Florida that are cutting impact fees in an attempt to boost the local economy and give breaks to developers and new home owners. City officials hope that with the lower costs, coupled with North Port’s large workforce, open commercial space and accessibility, the City will experience some gains in new development.
Lowering impact fees is one of many initiatives the City of North Port has implemented to attract new development in recent years. From the creation of economic development incentives to making more than $1 billion in infrastructure improvements throughout the last few years, North Port has been positioning itself in the marketplace as an ideal location for business. As the largest city in Sarasota County, North Port is only 20 percent built out. With more than 10,000 school children and a young workforce (median age is 40), the City has easy accessibility to Interstate 75 and U.S. 41.
In addition to the City’s recruitment efforts for new industry, lowering the impact fees may result in good news for local entrepreneurs. Commercial developers often pass on the cost of impact fees to local business owners who rent space in commercial buildings. The lower cost could translate into more local business opportunities, said Allan Lane, the City’s Economic Development Manager.
“North Port wants businesses and developers to know that the City is open for business,” Lane said. “With premier locations, a large workforce and easy access along Interstate 75, North Port is an ideal location for those interested in relocating their business or starting a new business.”
For more information about the City’s impact fees, contact the City’s Neighborhood Development Services Department at 941-429-7156. For more information about the City’s Economic Development efforts, call 941-429-7003.
About the City of North Port
For those who enjoy being part of an up-and-coming, accessible community, consider the City of North Port, which is located in Sarasota County between Tampa and Fort Myers. As part of the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota Metropolitan Statistical Area, North Port boasts more than 58,000 residents with a median age of 40. The City spans an estimated 104 square miles and is only 20 percent built out. North Port is known for its unique natural environment and its youthful population.
Grapevine Communications (grapeinc.com) is a full-service, award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations firm based in Sarasota, Florida, and serving clients nationwide. The firm was awarded the 2010 Frank G. Berlin, Sr., Small Business Award by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.