Orange County offering $10 million in financial incentives to builders

Orange County is trying to help builders struggling from the pandemic to recover as quickly as possible.

Orlando builder Clayton Altman says the construction industry, like most others, has slowed tremendously because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a lot of reluctance on what’s going to happen to the market, what is going to be the impact of the coronavirus, are there going to be new safety precautions that are necessary,” said Altman, a general contractor. “There have been issues with supply chains where materials might be at a shortage, having to get your employees regularly tested for COVID and anybody who may have a family member at risk generally will opt to not be at a construction site, where it’s really hard to contain what could potentially go on, so even labor is getting affected.”

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Orange County is stepping in to try and help builders get back to work, setting aside $10 million to waive building permit fees for six months or until the funds run out. The county is also extending current building permits by six months.

“To stimulate the economy and to see what we can do to get things moving back in the direction where they have been in the past,” said Alan Plante, Orange County Manager of Division of Building Safety, “let’s see if we can get some of those projects to come off the shelf who might be sitting there and are a little reluctant.”

“Within what the county can actually do themselves, to help incentivize, I think it’s one of the few tools that they actually have at their disposal,” said Altman.

However, Altman feels the times are still too uncertain.

“I think it’s still a little bit of a waiting game and then once that comfort level gets established, we’ll see a bigger influx of projects,” said Altman.

The money will also be offered for home renovations projects, so if you’re looking to do some home improvement, you will also qualify for the free building permits.


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