Impact Fees Hike

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Right now anyone building a new home, condo or business in Panama City has to pay a $1,700 impact fee per unit. Under this new proposal, that impact fee would go up to $16,000.

It's one of the biggest increases in the state, and developers aren't happy. Impact fees are a way for governments to pay for new roads, utilities and other services necessary to support new growth.

With the development explosion in the downtown Panama City area, commissioners feel it's time to increase those impact fees. Many developers say they expect the fees and increase, but not this magnitude.

The city hired PBS&J consulting firm to conduct a cost study for necessary improvements. The study determined the $16,000 impact fee would cover the costs.

The commissioners are acting fast to implement the increase, that is, if the commissioners give their final approval to the rate hike.

If they do, developers say the larger fee may discourage some from building in the area, but some city officials say the increased fees won't matter to some developers.

The impact fees will affect developments from Florida Avenue to about Bay Street. There are 13 proposed condos in that area now, and not many residential homes.

For now the city plans to pay for the street and utility improvements, then recoup the money when those impact fees start rolling in.