Hendry lowers development fees

LaBELLE — During the April 23 Hendry County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, the board voted to adopt county Planning & Community Development Director Margaret Emblidge’s recommendation for a reduction in planning and zoning fees.

The newly amended fee schedule is part of an ongoing effort to further promote economic development in Hendry County, as lowering fees would decrease the cost burdens of development.

The department has made several adjustments to its fee structure since 2015 to encourage growth; at the time, the fee for a Large Scale Map Amendment was $5,000. That fee will now be lowered from $3,000 to $2,000.

The fee for a Small Scale Map Amendment will be lowered from $1,500 to $1,000; originally $2,500 in 2015.

The fee for Administrative Waiver Review will be lowered from $500 to $150, a fee established in 2016.

Ms. Emblidge states that the biggest costs associated with the application process are related to state-mandated requirements for comprehensive plan amendments. The reduced rates collected from Hendry County can offer some assistance and promote an incentive to build in Hendry County.

Due to the decrease in application fees and the increase in market demands, there have been several approvals for new development. The new rates are anticipated to further increase those numbers as more developers and residents discover the opportunities Hendry County has to offer.

The board reaffirmed its support to continue to not impose impact fees in order to incentivize future development. Commissioner Michael Swindle commended the Planning Department’s approach as “an ongoing effort to make Hendry business-friendly.”

The Hendry County Planning and Development Department is located at 644 S. Main Street, LaBelle, and can be reached at 863-675-5240.

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