Should a School Impact Fee Be Imposed on Adult-Only Facilities ?

In State v. City of Port Orange, 650 So. 2d 1, 3 (Fla. 1994), the court defined user fees as fees that are "charged in exchange for a particular governmental service which benefits the party paying the fee in a manner not shared by other members of society." City of Port Orange, 650 So. 2d at 3. We further explained that "the party paying the fee has the option of not utilizing the governmental service and thereby avoiding the charge." Id. In St. Johns County v. Northeast Florida Builders Ass'n, Inc., 583 So. 2d 635 (Fla. 1991), the Court expressly adopted the dual rational nexus test for determining the constitutionality of impact fees: the local government must demonstrate reasonable connections between: (1) "the need for additional capital facilities and the growth in population generated by the subdivision"; (2) "the expenditures of the funds collected and the benefits accruing to the subdivision." St. Johns County, 583 So. 2d at 637 (quoting Hollywood, Inc. v. Broward County, 431 So. 2d 606, 611-12 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983)). In St. Johns County, court held that article IX, section 1 of the Florida Constitution prohibits counties from imposing school user fees on new development. See St. Johns County, 583 So. 2d at 640. Specifically, court said that exempting households simply because they did not contain students constituted an unconstitutional user fee. St. Johns County, 583 So. 2d at 640. Court further indicated that a school impact fee will not be deemed a prohibited user fee simply because adult-only facilities are exempt: "We would not find objectionable a provision that exempted from the payment of an impact fee permits to build adult facilities in which, because of land use restrictions, minors could not reside." Id. at 640 n.6.