GatorTown Review

City and County Commission public video clips of interest

Sound policies are those that consistently produce time tested tangible results, while shaky, all hat and no cattle policies result in horrific revenue management and tax increases. Shaky policies that promise much but produce very little are easily exposed by going back and looking at what was promised and comparing it to what was delivered.

Reviewing policies based on chronological video evidence allows us to see who had/has vision and who lacked/lacks vision. Video evidence from the past has a tendency to make one look like a genius, or a fool. Gatortown Review by means of short video clips fact check what was said then, and how it compares to what is being said now, and subsequently what were the results.

  • County Still Subsidizing Developers

    2022-01-26 20:58:17
    Who really pays for growth was the sixty-four thousand dollar question put before the board in 2011. Almost twelve years later we at least have a partial answer to that question. Developers do not pay for growth in the Urban Cluster. In 2011 Growth Management floated a plan to the board that was as close to a subsidy as one can get without it actually being called a subsidy. Alachua County chose to give developers a huge break on impact fees in order to spur growth in the then heralded urban cluster area. It was made official when the Board of County Commissioners approved a plan that rejected the traditional Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation model in favor of a devised home rule plan called the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation (MMTM) program for dealing with development impacts and traffic concurrency. The MMTM model has left huge deficits that must be made up by creative assessment schemes like Special Assessment Districts (SADs). Developers today continue to enjoy the generous offer of limited impact costs if they confine their development projects to the urban cluster.

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  • Just-In-Time Solution

    2021-12-11 19:09:52
    The idea of just in time infrastructure money from Washington sounds like music to the ears. The Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation fee experiment has failed. The County's road infrastructure budget is now officially bankrupt. What shall we do now? County Commissioner Cornell says don't worry, things are going just the way we planned it. He knew we would be rescued just in time before the day of reckoning. We just needed to be ready that's all.

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  • Why not turn to Tallahassee for a solution?

    2021-12-11 19:07:09
    Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation was put in the Florida Statues (163.3180 Concurrency) as an option for counties to deal with growth, but Alachua County would have none of it. Now that the MMTM program has officially bankrupted Alachua County's infrastructure budget, the mood now is to see what Tallahassee can offer up as a lifeline. Tallahassee should have anticipated some counties would not be able to bring themselves to follow the framework of the Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation program recommended by the State. Surely those jackasses in Tallahassee made provisions for those who went astray from State recommendations and would not follow the State's tried and true, time-tested methodology on how to best handle growth. What should we do now?

    Consult the attorneys, hire mercenaries from UF, call in the Chaldeans, whatever it takes to get us out of this mess. Public Works has found a way forward that is worth giving a shot. Unfortunately, using provisions in the statues to implement Special Assessment Districts (SAD), while still clinging to the MMTM program will not work.

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  • What is the biggest issue with the County's MMTM program?

    2021-12-11 19:04:05
    After ten years of the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation fee being used as a way to fund roads in the urban cluster, the current Board of County Commissioners are experiencing the day of reckoning previous Boards knew would come. Previous Boards recklessly changed the County Comprehensive Plan in ways that lowered costs to developers in order to promote a certain type of growth. MMTM lets developers off the hook too easily. Developers are eager to build in the urban cluster because they get huge breaks on impact fees from the county.

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  • Looking back at what we were told about how to handle growth

    2021-12-11 18:54:43
    The Urban Cluster design calls for Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) and Transient Orient Development (TOD). High density neighborhood development will be required in order to comply with the rules of the Comprehensive Plan. High density can be achieved by limiting where new development can take place in the County. Transportation Concurrency was not a priority in the beginning but it did start to creep into the discussion as density levels ramped up.

     500     188       15
  • Is Alachua County staff making the right recommendations?

    2021-12-11 18:51:19
    Alachua County staff recommended, and the BoCC approved a plan to get around the Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation Fee methodology put forth by the State. The Florida Statues allows Counties the option of using the State's recommend framework to manage growth or a County could devise its own custom methodology, as long as it satisfied the requirements on the Comprehensive Plan. Alachua County's natural impulse is to reject any recommendations from Tallahassee, so a roll-your-on methodology was adopted.

    The County's methodology gave major concessions to developers compared to the plan put forth by the State. The plan recommended by the State stressed developers should be held accountable for impacts through a fair share mitigation fee. The framework put forth by the State is transportation concurrency centric.

    What is Transportation Concurrency? In the simplest terms, it means measuring to determine if the transportation network is adequate to accommodate the growth that the Comprehensive Plan anticipates. In other words, if a developer plans a large scale development project, can the surrounding infrastructure handle it? If not, the developer is required to pay a fair share of the cost for upgrading the infrastructure.

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  • Sticking your neck out for something you don't understand

    2021-12-11 18:47:01
    MMTM, TND, TOD, Urban Cluster and Transportation Concurrency talk took the Board of County Commissioners by storm, and left them looking like deer in headlights.

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  • Gambling with the future of County infrastructure

    2021-12-11 18:45:32
    Growth Management decided to place a bet in a high stakes game of dice when they adopted the TND and TOD approach to development. Developers took advantage of their bliss and were able to avoid paying millions in impact fees.

     542     234       6

  • MMTM program offers a mulligan to developers

    2021-12-11 18:43:39
    Cutting corners to fast track the MMTM program was a major mistake and the consequences will forever be felt. No development should be allowed to move forward until the concurrency issues are resolved.

     613     119       5

  • Is it mandated that a TND, TOD model must have to a Multi-Modal Transportation Mobility Fee?

    2021-12-11 18:40:32
    The State does not mandate mobility fees. An acceptable Comprehensive Plan must list some type of provision for traffic concurrency. Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) and Transient Oriented Development (TOD) are somewhat ubiquitous terms simply because they grant ample wiggle room for implementation. Growth Management's gamble on cutting impact fees for TNDs and TODs indicates a reflection of their degree of moral hazard. The Board of County Commissioners went along simple because of staff's embellished recommendations.

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  • Replacing the Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation Fee

    2021-12-11 18:37:50
    The County Manager did not bite his tongue when stressing to the Board what replacing proportionate fair-share mitigation with MMTM. He knew this was a big deal that shouldn't be taken lightly. The move was highly speculative at best with no use cases that could be pointed to as a working model. This move has turned out to be a high stakes proof of concept that has bankrupted the Alachua County roads budget. When will the proof of concept end is the question we should all be asking.

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  • Sub-prime Transportation Concurrency fees

    2021-12-11 18:34:30
    The urban cluster model has front and back-end costs. Back-end costs usually fall on the homeowners in the form of new taxes. A Special Assessment District is a good example of backend costs a homeowner can pay to compensate for incentives that were given to the developer.

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  • What fundamental changes did MMTM bring about?

    2021-12-11 18:30:34
    If the discounts the County offered to developers on impact fees weren't enough, now under MMTM other projects could dip into the road infrastructure kitty and take money that used to be designated solely for roads. The MMTM Fee began to become a slush fund for pet projects. Many road projects were forced to take a back seat to various types of mobility projects.

     405     108       19
  • Blue light special on urban cluster developer fees

    2021-12-11 18:28:28
    Growth Management convinced the County Commissioners that even though they would lose infrastructure funding dollars on every developer project within the urban cluster, they would be able to make up for those lost dollars through increased project volume.

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  • MMTM Fee? who must pay it, and how often must they pay it?

    2021-12-11 18:26:46
    Transportation concurrency fee formulas are not an exact science. Basing an important fee on assertions can be very risky. It could lead to serious shortfalls in the infrastructure budget if not assessed correctly.

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  • Doubling down on the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation fee

    2021-12-11 18:25:01
    Preventing developers from having a choice of where to build by drafting strict County regulations on land development was a strategy applied by staff prior to adopting the TND and TOD land use models. However, given the incentives developers are receiving for building within the urban cluster, developers have very little desire to build anywhere else in the unincorporated areas. The restrictions and regulations (which weren't needed) that were put in place to discourage development outside the urban cluster do not come without nasty side effects.

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  • Can we sweeten the MMTM pot a little bit more for developers?

    2021-12-11 18:12:25
    Why let a good Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation special go to waste?

     401     54       10

  • Thinking outside the box when it comes to infrastructure spending

    2021-12-11 18:09:44
    The Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation way of doing things really upset the apple cart when it came to funding projects from the MMTM fees. Funding traditional roads designed for cars became secondary to County staff and the Commissioners. This idea has backfired and exacerbated the road infrastructure problems of Alachua County.

     400     73       13
  • Is the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation program just another fallacy?

    2021-12-11 18:07:10
    Is the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation program just another fallacy? The Proportionate Fair-Share Mitigation program is tried and true. The fact that it can impede growth because of the cost developers would have to pay to meet concurrency standards can be viewed in two ways: a) If the project is valuable enough to the developer they will not let impact fees stand in the way. b) A government who strictly insist on adhering to the Fair-Share program will never find itself in road infrastructure budget financial hell.

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  • TND rules were made to be broken

    2021-12-11 18:03:34
    The guaranteed outcome for any government that makes a commitment to urban cluster principles but refuse to strictly adhere to those principles will be a bankrupt roads budget.

     400     67       17

  • There was some malaise when it came to implementation

    2021-12-11 18:01:20
    Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation is not a proven methodology for collecting the proper amount of impact fees from developers. The proportionate fair share model put forth by the state is tried and true.

     400     101       6

  • Infrastructure budget priorities should not favor roads

    2021-12-11 17:59:00
    It is high time Alachua County staff take a long look in the mirror to decide whether it will follow the will of the overwhelming majority of the citizens, or cater to the desires of a few neo-liberal elites.

     400     132       23

  • What is the main issue we now find with MMTM?

    2021-12-11 17:50:44
    After ten years of the Multi-Modal Transportation Mitigation fee being used as a way to fund roads in the urban cluster, the current Board of County Commissioners are experiencing the day of reckoning previous Boards knew would come; yet previous Boards recklessly changed the County Comprehensive Plan in order to implement the MMTM program. MMTM lets developers off the hook too easily. Developers are eager to build in the urban cluster because they get huge breaks on impact fees from the county.

     400     77       9