Palm Coast Raises Land Development and Rental Fees

Palm Coast Raises Land Development and Rental Fees

Land development, site permitting and inspection fees are going up in Palm Coast for the first time in 15 years. The City Council approved a measure earlier this month after discussing the issue at an April 9 workshop. The city is also raising the registration fee it charges owners of rental properties.

The land development fees would be raised in line with the rise in consumer prices since the last time they were raised, and the rental registration fee goes up from $5 to $35.

“City Council directed staff to re-evaluate and look at our development fees – site plans, master plans, land-use items, comp plan amendments,” said Ray Tyner, deputy director of community development, at the workshop meeting. “We went back (and) these fees have not been increased since 2009.”

Senior planner Phong Nguyen said city staff looked at the consumer price index over the years since the fees were last increased, saying there has been a more than 43% increase in the CPI.

“In terms of percentage, it is high, but if you look at the fee it is a modest increase,” he said, adding that compared to fees charged by other area jurisdictions “we are relatively at the lower end of the fee changes among our area.”

At the workshop Mayor David Alfin expressed concern that if the land development fees are raised, the cost will ultimately be passed to consumers.

Tyner said the fees are “pretty nominal” in the overall cost equation.

“That’s what I am getting to,” Alfin said. “(That) we’re not sticking it the homeowners.”

Chief of Staff Jason DeLorenzo reminded council members that the land development fees are different from others the city assesses.

“This is not the building permit fee, but on the planning side,” he said.

On the rental registration fee side of the discussion, Councilmember Cathy Heighter said she thought the initial $35 fee was “a little low” and suggested it be raised to $50.

“We have a lot of corporations coming in and purchasing homes just for rentals,” she said.

Tyner said the current $5 rental registration fee generates about $45,000 annually. The increase to $35 would generate almost $318,000.

“That’s a pretty good increase for our general fund,” he said.

Councilmember Nick Klufas asked Tyner if the land development fee increases would cause some developers to look outside the city for projects.

“I’ve had discussion with (the Volusia County Association for Responsible Development) and I don’t believe that’s the case,” Tyner said. “For the level of service we provide for application reviews, I think we’re providing a very good service.”