HIGH SPRINGS – During the July 23 City Commission meeting, Commissioners considered increases in land development code administrative fees; some of which might be considered significant. However, in discussion some Commissioners expressed concern at the amount of those increases for the average citizen.

Although all commissioners agree it was time to increase those fees, which had been set by resolution in 2009, consideration of the small property owner was also a concern.

High Springs Finance Director Jennifer Stull pointed out that the funds being collected were inadequate to pay for the costs associated with land-related changes.

Following discussion as to the best way to address the needs of the City while also balancing the citizens’ ability to pay the fees for smaller changes, Commissioner Scott Jamison made a motion to approve the new fee schedule with modifications.

Annexations of less than five acres of property would have increased from the present rate of $150 to $500. Jamison’s motion reduced the amount to $250. Annexations greater than five acres but less than 10 acres would have gone from the present $150 to $1,500. That amount is now set at $500.

A Certificate of Appropriateness (Board) would have increased from $100 to $150. It will now remain at $100.

Conditional Use Permit (Administrative) was set to increase from $100 to $500, but is now set at $250.

A homeowner wanting to split their lot would have had to pay $750 under the proposed rate increase, but now the rate is reduced to $500.

And finally, a property owner requesting a variance would have had to pay a fee of $750, an increase of $450. Instead the rate will now be $500.

All together these changes represent a reduction in the proposed land development fees, but an increase over the 2009 fee schedule.

Commissioner Nancy Lavin requested a clause to be added to the resolution to address hardship situations. Stull said there was already language to address hardship situations in another ordinance and it stipulates the criteria by which an applicant could qualify for a reduced rate. The city attorney said he could incorporate that language into this resolution.

Lavin seconded Jamison’s motion with the hardship clause added. Commissioners approved the motion unanimously in roll call vote. Resolution 2020-E took effect immediately upon Commission approval, although the resolution stipulated an earlier date due to the intention to hear the item at the last meeting. A second motion to approve the effective date was also unanimously approved.

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