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County delays enacting two laws

Commissioners return proposals for school impact fees and adult entertainment rules to the county's legal staff.

By ALISA ULFERTS

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2000


Several court cases and a recent gubernatorial veto were enough to convince county commissioners to scrap two proposed ordinances and start over.

Commissioners were scheduled Tuesday to adopt both a school impact fee and regulations of the adult entertainment industry. But they canceled both hearings after county legal staffers said they wanted more time to review two court cases -- one from the U.S. Supreme Court and the other from the Florida Supreme Court -- that could affect the county's proposed ordinance.

Also, Gov. Jeb Bush's recent veto of a ban on new school impact fees bought the county more time to polish that ordinance, county officials said.

Because of the likelihood that the county could get sued on either front -- by builders against the impact fee ordinance and by adult establishment owners against that ordinance -- commissioners agreed to send the legal department back to the drawing board.

But they said they want those ordinances back -- fast.

"Bring it back as soon as you can," said Commissioner David H. "Hap" Clark, whose district includes Hudson and the adult clubs that have proliferated there in the last two years.

Hudson residents say they have counted no fewer than 13 adult bars or video stores in the vicinity of U.S. 19. Unless commissioners do something, they have said, they fear more could be on the way. Commissioners adopted an ordinance last year that restricted where such businesses could locate, but not what they could do within their walls. The county wanted to study a U.S. Supreme Court decision -- handed down earlier this year -- before it adopted the second part of their regulations.

As for the school impact fee ordinance, county legal staffers say they may have to redo their math, now that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that adults-only retirement communities are exempt from paying school impact fees. Those fees are one-time charges on new construction intended to help pay for growth, and are passed on by builders to the buyers of new homes.

The county originally had proposed charging about $1,706 for a new single-family home, but now might have to figure out how many communities are seniors-only and then rework their numbers, Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Blair said.

-- Staff writer Alisa Ulferts covers Pasco County government. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6244 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6244. Her e-mail address is ulferts@sptimes.com.

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