Mobility fee debate heats up

Council to vote on whether fee for developers remains on hold

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mobility fee being taken up by Jacksonville City Council is a lot more than bike lanes and walking paths. It deals with all forms of transportation, from new roads, rail and bus alternatives.

The fee is for developers. It's charged when building on land away from downtown, with higher fees being applied the farther they develop from the urban core.

For the last year, it's been on hold, and the council is now trying to decide to extend that hold, or moratorium, for another three years.

Those against the moratorium, like Robert Mann, say it's a full-funding mechanism for completed streets that will attract far more companies and new residents than mindless urban sprawl. He says it guides development.

Builders and their lobby groups disagree. State Rep. Dan Davis, who's also executive director of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, says bringing back the fees will hurt current recovery efforts.

"We think if we pass this waiver we will continue to grow jobs in northeast Florida," Davis said.

Mayor Alvin Brown was asked Monday if he supports extending the moratorium or if Jacksonville needs to start collecting the money now.

"You know how I am with council," Brown said. "I let my colleagues talk about the issues, workshop it. I believe there is a workshop today. Let them go though their own issue and see what happens. The same thing I did last year -- I let them debate the issue and talk about it."

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