Impact Fees2019-02-03T16:21:45+00:00

Impact fees, setbacks and lot restrictions in St Johns County, FL

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If you’re building your own home in St. Johns County, you’ll be faced with more than the cost of materials and labor. You’ll also be receiving a bill or two from your local government. One significant bill relates to the impact fee to which all developers are subject.

Below is an explanation of this impact fee for residential homes, the main residential lot restrictions imposed by the municipalities of St. Johns County and the City of St. Augustine, and the schedule of fees.

What is a Residential Impact Fee?

The prices of homes in St. Johns County, Florida, is pretty high compared to most other counties in north-east Florida. That’s not entirely surprising. The county is blessed with A-rated schools, a comparatively low crime rate, the beautiful historic city of St. Augustine, wonderful beaches, and a good road network. Consequently, it’s a popular place to live and work.

However, one other reason for the higher house prices is the impact fee imposed on developers (and then passed on indirectly to home buyers). Surrounding counties have lower or no impact fees, but St. Johns County uses a residential impact fee as a revenue-raising tool. It’s a way of getting builders to pay towards the county’s cost of growth.

Think about it. Each new development has an impact on regional infrastructure and services such as water and sewer networks, police and fire department services, schools and libraries, so it’s only natural that municipalities look for ways to cover the additional cost of having more residents. However, some in the housing industry worry that impact fees will price some homeowners out of St. Johns County.

What is a Lot Restriction?

Lot restrictions are imposed by municipalities to control the development of property within their borders. Developers must comply with these restrictions, which cover aspects like minimum lot width, minimum lot area, maximum lot coverage (i.e. how much of the lot your building can cover), setbacks, height restrictions, impervious structures, off-street parking and the number of buildings on a lot:

  • Impervious structures are artificial structures such as driveways and sidewalks that are covered by impenetrable materials like asphalt, concrete, brick and stone. Municipalities restrict the percentage of a lot’s impervious surface area to reduce environmental damage. If the minimum impervious rate is 70%, that means the maximum impervious surface area of a 10,000 ft2 lot is 7,000 ft2.
  • Setbacksare imposed by municipalities to indicate how far a property must be from a boundary line or adjacent properties. In other words, you can’t build your home too near the street or your neighbor’s house. How near or far is determined by the setback.
  • Maximum height restrictionsrefer to the maximum height in feet of the structure to be built, from the peak of the roof to the lowest grade (ground) at a maximum of five feet from the perimeter of house.

(restrictions are subject to change)

Building Zones in St. Johns County, FL

Like most municipalities, St. Johns County divides its area into districts or zones. There are 24 different zone types. Each zone is identified by an abbreviation and subject to various ordinances and restrictions. Single family residential zones are abbreviated to RS-1, RS-2 and RS-3. Open rural zones are abbreviated to OR.

Residential Impact Fees (Impact fees are assessed based on conditioned space only.)
(fees are subject to change)

Square Feet July 2, 2018 Jan. 1, 2019
Under 800 $6,811 $8,603
801 – 1,250 $9,161 $11,339
1,251 – 1,800 $10,610 $12,882
1,801 – 2,500 $13,214 $16,043
2,501 – 3,750 $16,600 $19,924
3,751 – 5,000 $18,542 $22,417
5,001 and Over $19,431 $23,564

Effective February 4, 2016 (fees are subject to change)

Under 1800 Square Feet $9,770
Over 1800 Square Feet $13,952

Typical Lot Restrictions (restrictions are subject to change)
St. Johns County Land Development Code VI-1
St Johns County Table 6.01
June 23, 2017

 Zone Min. Lot Width Min. Lot Area Max. Lot Coverage
RS-1 120 F 13,200 S.F. 25%
RS-2 90 F 10,000 S.F. 30%
RS-3 75 F 7,500 S.F. 35%
OR-SF 100 F 1 ACRE 35%

Lot Coverage

 Zone Min. Impervious Setbacks Max. Height
RS-1 70% 30F/10S/15R 35
RS-2 70% 25F/8S/10R 35
RS-3 70% 25F/8S/10R 35
OR-SF 70% 25F/10S/10R 35

Read more: Setbacks – Planning, Zoning And Building Departments

Please see: How to maintain vesting of current impact fee schedule