City continues reviewing impact fees, builders wary of potential rate hikes

Washington City, May 23, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – City officials continued to mull over proposed impact fees attached to updated capital facilities plans set before the Washington City Council Wednesday.

The impact fees are one-time charges to new construction that are applied to the expansion of city services to accommodate continued growth.

“We feel if you keep impact fees low you’ll spur growth,” said Mari Smith, executive director of the Southern Utah Home Builders Association, or SUHBA.

SUHBA has been working with city staff concerning the various capital facility plans presented to the city thus far, and has been quick to point out concerns, particularly when impact fees start to rise. Smith thanked the City Council for allowing SUBHA to be involved in the process, though also warned against allowing impact fees to go too high.

She said Washington City already has one of the highest impact fee rates in the area, and it could impact future development.

“Home builders are willing to pay impact fees when they are needed and justified,” Smith said.

Proposed impact fees presented and reviewed

The City Council continued discussion from it’s Aug. 13 meeting concerning the city’s stormwater capital facilities plan. The city’s current impact fee rate for stormwater drainage is $4,630 per acre.

An updated plan gave the council two choices on how to move forward. One option suggests the City Council could split the city into various drainage basins with their own impact fees, the highest of which jumps to $6.222 per acre. The other option recommends a city-wide rate of 4,214 per acre.

Though members of the council said they favor the city-wide fee, they ultimately voted against approving the proposed plan so it could be re-evaluated and revised to address lingering concerns.

The City Council was also presented with an updated transportation master facilities plan with an option of raising impact fees 29 percent in order to cover various short and long-term road projects. The current fee is $2,670. The recommended proposal jumps it to $3,435. Other options raise the fee by 43 percent, or lower it by 8 percent, depending on which new and preexisting projects are prioritized for funding.

“Some of these new project costs are significant,” Councilman Jeff Turek said.

Among some of the projects highlighted for the City Council are Merrill Road, continued work on the Southern Parkway and Washington Dam Road, as well as a concept study for a proposed highway interchange at milepost 11 of Interstate 15.

The City Council chose to table the item and voted to continue the public hearing to its next meeting on Sept. 24.

An ordinance adopting the proposed public safety capital facilities plan was approved by the City Council that will bring the current rate of $200 to $385 per residential unit. Originally $564, the proposed fee was  recalculated by city staff after SUHBA pointed out some issues of concern, which the two entities worked together to rectify.

Other business

The Washington Council City honored 10-year resident Arden Lafemina who won the 100-meter run at the Hershey’s Track and Field meet in Pennsylvania this summer with a time of 14.88 seconds.

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Copyright St. George News, Inc., 2014 , all rights reserved.


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