Earlier this year, the Gold Coast Builders Association (GCBA)
and the Builders Association of South Florida (BASF)
were awarded funding from NAHB's State and Local Issues Fund to help educate community members and leaders about the detrimental effects of impact fees on housing affordability. The infusion of support from NAHB helped launch a public relations campaign that has generated significant attention toward this issue.
Recently, Broward County School District, which is in both associations' jurisdictions, proposed increasing school impact fees from $6,888 to $9,049 for three-bedroom properties and $6,888 to $12,295 for four-bedroom properties. The fees collected are intended to help the school district build new schools and meet the demand for new classrooms fueled by new developments. However, Broward Public Schools enrollment is on a downward trajectory, and the trend is expected to continue through 2026, according to the district's analysis. Despite objections from the GCBA and the BASF, the district increased school impact fees by 25%.
"That was the straw that broke the camel’s back," GCBA Executive Officer KT Catlin said. "I knew we had to do something about this. Our marketing campaign grew out of a passion to create affordable housing."
The Homes for All Now campaign
encourages community members to ask city, county and school district elected officials to curb excessive impact fees. The campaign website educates the public on how impact fee increases are further escalating home sale prices. Messages throughout the website emphasize that keeping impact fees at reasonable levels can increase housing affordability. Community members are also invited to sign an online petition demanding targeted elected officials to stop the excessive increase of regulatory fees to build new homes.
"There was no way we could take something on like this without the support of NAHB," Catlin stated.
A robust media relations and social media strategy are also critical components of the ongoing campaign. The Sun-Sentinel
wrote a comprehensive news piece, "The hidden fees that are driving up home prices
" (subscription required), outlining how impact fees contribute to soaring housing costs locally. The HBAs continue to receive interest from the local media to discuss the topic.
In addition to local media outreach, BASF Executive Vice President Truly Burton is working with Broward County Mayor Geller to schedule quarterly informative Developer Forums. These sessions are intended to keep builders informed about upcoming county fees or regulations that will affect housing affordability. BASF continually looks to inform the elected officials and home buyers about the ever-increasing cost of higher government fees and its direct impact on their ability to buy a new home in South Florida.
Palm Beach County and Broward County are in the process of reviewing their regulatory fees for the upcoming year. GCBA and BASF hope that through their comprehensive outreach efforts, the dream of homeownership will eventually be within reach for more families in South Florida.