The Osceola County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) is scheduled to vote on a proposed Mobility Fee Ordinance on March 16, 2015. Public officials have indicated that the proposal is likely to be enacted, with an effective date of June 22, 2015. Thereafter, a transportation mobility fee and related administrative fee will be assessed for any new development within the unincorporated area of the County, upon issuance of a building permit or tenant occupancy permit.
Until January 1, 2016, the mobility fee will be charged at a reduced rate (approximately 70% of the full mobility fee). The proposed reduced rate table is attached to this update (click here to view). If the County's proposed Transportation Sales Surtax referendum passes in November, however, the reduced rate will become permanent, as further explained below.
Basis and Administration of Proposed Mobility Fee Ordinance
The proposed Ordinance cites the need to impose mobility fees and related administration fees to fund transportation facilities required to serve new development. The Ordinance is based on a mobility fee study and administration fee analysis conducted by the County.
The proposed mobility fee for each type of use is based on the average cost per "person mile of capacity" (PMC) rate times "person miles traveled" for each use. The calculation is then adjusted using transportation revenue credits to ensure that new development receives credit for its payment of general taxes that are used for transportation capacity. The County's proposed Transportation Sales Surtax, if imposed, will constitute such a credit, thereby allowing the initial reduced mobility fee rate to remain in place.
Lower mobility fees are assessed for mixed-use and transit-oriented development, due to internal capture and mode share. Applicants who believe that the mobility fee calculation does not accurately reflect the impact of the proposed development may elect to undertake an independent mobility fee study, in accordance with the administrative procedures manual.
The Ordinance establishes two mobility fee districts for the entire County, separated by the Florida Turnpike, with a separate mobility fee fund for each district. Mobility fees must be used for capital expenses of transportation facilities that are included in the County's capital improvement plan or comprehensive plan and that benefit new development within the district in which they were collected. Moreover, mobility fees run with the land and must be encumbered within eight years from the date paid or returned to the then present owner.
Mobility Fee Credit Available
The proposed Ordinance allows for credits when a person constructs, conveys right-of-way for, or pays cash for transportation facilities to mitigate impacts from the proposed development. Eligibility for the credit requires that the facilities be included in the transportation element of the comprehensive plan, be appropriately documented and submitted, and not be necessary to provide project access to the county transportation network (unless otherwise approved by the BCC).
Parties that have transportation impact fee agreements in place pursuant to Ordinance 2003-24 (as amended by Ordinance 2006-38) are protected. Under certain conditions, development entitled to a transportation impact fee credit under such an agreement may be entitled to a mobility fee credit.
Except for those properties with a transportation impact fee agreement, the proposed Ordinance does not generally provide mobility fee credit for prior transportation impact fee payments. A credit is, however, available for property on which a transportation impact fee was paid (pursuant to the above-cited ordinances) in connection with a retail shopping center building permit, foundation permit or a nonretail multiuse building permit for an unfinished building; said credit is applicable to building permits for completion of units in the shell structure.
Mobility fee credit is also available for qualified transportation mitigation provided in the period between the impact fee moratorium for nonresidential or residential construction, as applicable, and the effective date of the Mobility Fee Ordinance.