April 2011

caterpillar_front_loader_283346_l.jpgIn light of the significant reduction in property values and construction costs across Lee County, a recent study conducted by Duncan Associates (a consulting firm based out of Texas) concluded that the Board of County Commissioners should consider similarly significant reductions in its road impact fees.

Road impact fees are generally assessed on new construction projects to mitigate the growth impacts associated with that development. Most notably, if your project is going to result in an increase in the usage of existing roads, or require that new roads be built, the idea is that the new project should pay for that impact. This “pay as you grow” fee is common across Florida, but the actual amount imposed for the fee varies greatly by jurisdiction. Typically, this impact fee is based upon such things as the construction costs in widening or creating roadways, or the purchase price for acquiring right-of-way if needed to improve the road. Since the costs of both have dropped, it naturally follows that this fee should drop as well.

On average, Duncan Associates is proposing a 27% reduction in the county’s road impact fees. In addition to this reduction, the study also proposes to roll medical office into general office use. Traditionally, medical office uses have borne a higher road impact fee, so this would even further reduce development costs for potential medical uses, if adopted.

Specific proposed fee changes include:

  • Single family detached: Drop 25% from $8,976 to $6,701
  • Hotel/Motel: Drop 25% from $5,172 to $3,861
  • Shopping Center/General Retail: Drop 28% from $10,983 to $7,933
  • Banks: Drop 32% from $25,134 to $17,187
  • Office: Drop 27% from $7,305 to $5,355

These proposals will be reviewed by various Advisory Committees before going before the Board of County Commissioners in June. You can obtain a complete copy of the 2011 Road Impact Fee Update here and find a listing of the Advisory Committee meetings here.


On March 25, we reported on a recent appellate case in which the court refused to recognized the “superpriority” status of code enforcement liens established by a local ordinance. We indicated that a motion was pending to certify the case to the Florida Supreme Court. In a recent ruling on that motion, the 5th District Court of Appeal certified the following question to the Florida Supreme Court as one of great public importance:

Whether … a municipality has the authority to enact an ordinance stating that its code enforcement liens, created pursuant to a code enforcement board order and recorded in the public records of the applicable county, shall be superior in dignity to prior recorded mortgages?” 

City of Palm Bay v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 36 Fla. L. Weekly  D630a (Fla. 5th DCA March 25, 2011). 

We will report further on this case as it progresses.

I came across an article by Lora Shinn entitled “5 Buyer Mistakes in a Short Sale.” Number 3 on Shinn’s list is “ignoring legal and insurance information.” Although I agree with the author’s list, the list focuses more on the physical attributes of a short sale property than legal issues (specifically title issues) that are often overlooked until they become a problem — either just before closing when such problems can cause further delay, or worse yet, after closing when they can become a legal and financial nightmare. I would like to expand on the buyer’s mistake of “ignoring legal information” while being blinded by the seemingly “good deal” they are getting.

Continue Reading Short Sales and Judgment Liens: Unforeseen Issues