[author: T.R. Hainline, Jr.]
Ordinance 2011-536 has been introduced to the Jacksonville City Council and is currently scheduled for committee hearings during the week of September 5 and a vote by the Council on September 13. The Ordinance would:
End the current system for traffic concurrency and fair share assessment contracts.
Adopt a new system of mobility fees.
Vest (grandfather) existing concurrency certificates, fair share contracts, development agreements, redevelopment agreements, DRIs, and vesting certificates (VPACs).
List certain exempt uses.
Provide credits for the construction of improvements.
Provide for adjustments to mobility fees for development locational and design features.
Provide for mobility fee contracts for phased projects.
The Ordinance implements the Comprehensive Plan policies adopted earlier this year (Ordinance 2011-241) which establish a Mobility Plan for the City of Jacksonville. The Ordinance provides the details for the termination of the traffic concurrency system and the implementation of the mobility fee system.
The Ordinance has been the subject of six months of review by City staff and a Mobility Task Force comprised of representatives from various disciplines, interest groups, and citizens groups.
The end of the concurrency system and beginning of a mobility fee system represents fundamental change. There will be no more “reservations of concurrency capacity”; no more rush to be first “in line” for available capacity; and no more extensions of reservations to maintain position “in line” for long periods of time. There will be no more fair share assessments based on the absence of concurrency capacity.
That system, in place since the mid-1990’s, is proposed to be replaced with a system that requires everyone to pay a mobility fee driven, for the most part, by a straight calculation of formula inputs. Because the fee is more broadly based (paid by everyone), it generally will be less than fair share assessments. The fee also should be more predictable and more uniform in its application.
Below are some important features of the ordinance and the mobility fee system. This is a generalized listing of the “highlights” of the Ordinance; the provisions of the Ordinance itself should be consulted and specific advice obtained for any decision on a property or project.
The Ordinance sets for the formula for the calculation of the mobility fee for development. The Ordinance and a traffic engineer should be consulted to determine the applicable fee for any given development. In summary, the fee is a function of the following formula: Cost per Vehicle Mile Traveled (as proposed, $24.31) X Average Vehicle Mile Traveled in the applicable Development Area (as proposed, ranging from 9.09 miles for the Central Business District to 12.27 miles for the Rural Area) X the development’s projected (Average) Daily Vehicle Trips. The last element of the formula, the development’s projected (Average) Daily Vehicle Trips, is derived from the widely-used Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE) Manual or from a special trip generation study approved by the Planning and Development Department. This number also is subject to adjustments based on certain locational and design factors which can operate to reduce trips generated by development (such as mix of uses, transit service, pedestrian/bicycle friendliness, etc.).
A certificate for the calculation of a mobility fee is valid for 1 year but may be extended by a payment of the annual inflation adjustment.
“Di minimis” uses, which are not subject to the mobility fee, include: a change in the use of an already-completed structure without the addition of square footage and within the same zoning; development with no trip generation; church uses; private schools.
Exempt uses, which also are not subject to the fee, include: uses with existing and valid concurrency approvals (CCAS, CRC, VPAC); uses with specified or common law vested rights; public schools; certain transportation facilities; and up to two (2) single family homes on a lot of record. Although valid concurrency certificates may be extended, any existing concurrency certificates will not be able to convert to a development agreement once the Ordinance is adopted.
Payment of the fee is generally required prior to the issuance of final development permits (building permits). For single family development, fees can be paid either prior to the issuance of final construction plans for a subdivision (if an applicant wishes to “lock in” fees for units) or the issuance of building permits for individual homes.
Properties subject to valid development agreements may remain under those development agreements or may seek to terminate the development agreement for all or a portion of the properties subject to the agreement. Termination of a development agreement (or portion) must be approved by the City Council.
Properties subject to valid fair share contracts may remain under those fair share contracts or may seek to terminate the contract for all or a portion of the properties subject to the contract. Termination of a fair share contract (or portion) may be approved by the Director of Planning and Development. Fair share contracts may be extended, by the Director of Planning and Development (if originally approved by the Director) or by the City Council (if originally approved by the Council). Extensions may be for 5 years per application or up to 20 years cumulatively. The Ordinance sets forth criteria for extensions.
Credits for transportation improvements funded or constructed by a landowner or developer are permitted in the context of existing and valid fair share contracts (as is provided under current law), and, unless the fair share contract contains a contrary provision, such credits may be applied toward the payment of a mobility fee for development within the same Mobility Zone as the improvements. Such credits also may be transferred to others for payment of a mobility fee in the same Mobility Zone.
Similar credits for transportation improvements also are permitted in the context of mobility fees for development which is not the subject of an existing and valid fair share contract. The Ordinance sets forth criteria for such a credit arrangement. Such credits may be transferred to others for payment of a mobility fee in the same Mobility Zone.
Mobility Fee Contracts may be sought to lock in mobility fee amounts for phased developments, to memorialize trip adjustments (for design factors, as described above) or credit arrangements (for transportation improvements, as described above).
Infill development can benefit from credits received for the demolition of existing structures and from the adjustments in (Average) Daily Vehicle Trips mentioned above. In some instances, the latter can be transferred to others for payment of a mobility fee in the same Mobility Zone.
The Ordinance would take effect upon its adoption. Pursuant to the Comprehensive Plan, the concurrency/fair share assessment process is in effect until the mobility fee system is adopted.
The hearings on the mobility fees may result in amendments to these provisions. We will keep you advised as this Ordinance advances through the City Council’s review.
 The Mobility Plan in the Comprehensive Plan established the Development Areas and includes a map. The designations affect the ultimate amount of the fee charged in each Development Area.
 The Mobility Plan in the Comprehensive Plan established the Mobility Zones and includes a map. The designations affect where the mobility fee revenues are spent.