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Here is a letter from the Coalition asking for compliance with the County Code by allowing impact fees for "affordable housing" to be refunded.

June 27, 2002

Diane O'Quinn Williams
Department of Planning & Zoning
111 NW 1st St., 15th Fl
Miami, FL 33128-1974

Re: Impact Fee Exemptions (affordable housing).
Requirements imposed that are not authorized by County Code

Dear Ms. Williams;

I am writing this letter to call to your attention a practice of the Department of Planning and Zoning that inhibits the production of affordable housing. The Department is imposing requirements not authorized by the County Code as a precondition to the refund of impact fees previously paid that are covered by the affordable housing exemption.

The Department's current procedures are outlined as follows:

The requirement that developers must execute a covenant as a precondition to obtaining the refund is completely unauthorized by the County Code.

Each of the exemption provisions of the Code states that "the feepayer shall be entitled to a refund . . . upon submitting a formal application for a refund to and receiving approval from the County Planning and Zoning Director". There is no requirement that a covenant be executed.

Covenants are required ONLY in the situation where a nonprofit CDC or CBO wishes to avoid paying the impact fee PRIOR to the issuance of the building permit. There is no authority in the Code for requiring a covenant in cases where the developer has already paid the fee and is merely asking for a refund.

Attached are copies of correspondence from a developer of affordable housing who was unable to obtain a refund because his construction lender refused to co-sign the covenant. His letters were sent to Freddie Mac, United States HUD, and the Miami Dade Housing Finance Authority. As you can see from the responses it is clear that his lender was fully justified in refusing to co-sign the covenant because it would have created an impermissible subordination of its first lien position.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Rene Rodriguez, director of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. You may want to call him at (305) 644-5112 to discuss how all of this adversely affects the successful implementation of MDHA's Infill Housing Initiative.

Please undertake a review of the Department's current procedures and then do whatever is necessary to correct this situation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours

John Little
Attorney at Law

cc: Rene Rodriguez
Steve Shiver
Alex Penelas
Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler
Jerry Flick