Leesburg Waives Impact Fees

Leesburg Waives Impact Fees
 
Posted Date:10/29/2014
The City of Leesburg has extended impact fee waivers to encourage redevelopment of existing buildings, allowing for new businesses and jobs. 

The City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to suspend impact fees for water, wastewater and municipal services through March of 2015. The waiver is targeted at new businesses that redevelop existing structures throughout the city. 

The decision provides significant savings for redevelopment projects - potentially waiving tens of thousands of dollars in public fees. The goal is to provide ample incentive for businesses to utilize Leesburg’s vacant buildings amid the area’s growing economic development. 

Leesburg temporarily waived impact fees in August and September only for the city’s three community redevelopment areas, which include the historic downtown area, certain commercial zones along U.S. Highways 27 and 441 as well as the Carver Heights community in west Leesburg. The city received numerous responses to that previous waiver, so officials voted Monday night to expand the benefits to all municipal areas. 

“I was very happy that our waiver for downtown was so well received,” said Leesburg City Commissioner David Knowles. “This could stimulate business throughout the city.” 

Impact fee waivers are proving to be successful. 

“We would not have done it without the impact fee waiver,” said local businessperson Ben Mosely, who owns four buildings in downtown Leesburg including a vacant, 10,000-square-foot building that he and partners bought at 712 W. Main Street. That site has been mostly empty for five years, and now, Mosely said, he is developing a commercial mall for up to ten tenants. 

Mosely also purchased a site at 707 W. Main St. – a former candle shop - that will open around the Thanksgiving holiday as a jazz and blues restaurant with food and live entertainment. The business will employ ten people. 

The impact fee waiver saved Mosely an estimated $40,000 for the redevelopment of those new sites. In return, Leesburg gets more economic activity and jobs downtown. 

Businessperson John Dance is opening a new restaurant and catering service – Hook’em Horns – at 1707 South St. in Leesburg. “It’s a tremendous blessing, and it enables a small business person to utilize those dollars for redevelopment of the property,” said Dance, who will save $16,389 in impact fees. The business will serve Texas-style barbecue with a 49-seat reception area and off-site catering. 

“I wanted the business to be here in Leesburg, and the impact fee waiver made it possible,” Dance said. 

For more information about impact fee waivers and new construction, contact the Leesburg Community Development Department at (352) 728-9760. To inquire about economic development, contact Assistant City Manager Michael Rankin or Public Information Officer Robert Sargent at (352) 728-9704. 

Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 21,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday. For more information, visit www.leesburgflorida.gov.