SARASOTA COUNTY, FL - New home construction is on the rise. Local building departments saw a significant jump in 2013. Now some say reduced impact fees should be brought back up.
North Port had more than 350 new home permits issued last year. A 60% increase. The city of Venice reports a record 36% increase. Sarasota County saw a more than 40% increase at nearly 900 homes.
In recent years local governments have reduced building fees in order to help stimulate growth and create jobs.
Those fees help pay for infrastructure needs says North Port building official Bryan Holland. "It provides for the infrastructure. Water, utilities, sidewalks, the road expansion currently on Sumter boulevard. These are all the benefits of heavy construction."
Some like Dan Lobeck with Control Growth Now says the area is losing out on the money from developers which means tax payers will be stuck with the bill. "Sarasota County and other local governments have slashed impact fees. They are at half of what they should be. What we are seeing now is inadequate road programs because of that. The shifting of the impacts of the growth onto the tax paying public."
Local building officials we talked to say they're predicting around the same number of permits or better in 2014.
We will have much more on the story coming up this evening on ABC 7.