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
of Planning and Zoning that inhibits the production of affordable
housing. The Department
is imposing requirements not authorized by the County Code as a
the refund of impact fees previously paid that are covered by the
The Department's current procedures are outlined as follows:
- Affordable housing
exemptions are found in four of the five impact fee chapters of the
County Code. All of these provisions are virtually identical. The
exemptions found at: 33E-14 (roads), 33H-14 (parks), 33i-7 (police) and
33J-8 (fire & medical emergencies). Copies of these provisions
- Developers otherwise
entitled to an exemption must go ahead and pay the impact fees prior to
obtaining a building permit. They can then later apply for a refund.
- The Department imposes
a requirement that is not authorized by County Code as a precondition
to issuing the refund. It requires that the developer execute a
"covenant" that is to be recorded in the Public Record. It further
requires that the developer's construction lender co-sign the covenant
so as to subordinate its mortgage
- Construction lenders
typically refuse to execute such subordinations because their mortgages
are required to be in a first lien position. As a result, developers
can seldom qualify for the refund.
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
be entitled to a refund . . . upon submitting a formal application for
to and receiving approval from the County Planning and Zoning
is no requirement that a covenant be executed.
Covenants are required ONLY in the situation where a nonprofit CDC or
to avoid paying the impact fee PRIOR to the issuance of the building
is no authority in the Code for requiring a covenant in cases where the
has already paid the fee and is merely asking for a refund.
Attached are copies of correspondence from a developer of affordable
was unable to obtain a refund because his construction lender refused
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
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
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
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
Attorney at Law
cc: Rene Rodriguez
Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler