Pima County moving toward increasing impact fees - Inside Tucson Business: News

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Pima County moving toward increasing impact fees

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Posted: Friday, November 18, 2005 12:00 am

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to begin the process of raising transportation impact fees by $708 a home next year because of the increased costs of road building. Apparently home builders aren’t going to actively object to the idea.

The supervisors directed staff to bring back a proposed ordinance within the next four months and to research how the county and other jurisdictions set their commercial impact fees and whether the county impact fees should be raised.

County staff had recommended no change in the commercial impact fees, which were instituted June 7, 2005, but Supervisor Richard Elias said he felt that new businesses that attract significant numbers of shoppers should help pay for roads.

Home impact fees now are $3,692 and would go up to $4,400 next year under the staff proposal.

Also, the county would begin using a construction inflation index rather than the consumer price index, which would reflect the more rapidly rising costs recently of such building materials as concrete and steel and thus would mean fees would increase more rapidly.

The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA) said in a letter to Supervisors Chair Sharon Bronson that “given the escalation of costs due to a variety of factors this year, it is not inappropriate to raise the current fee by the recommended amount of $708.”

SAHBA also endorsed entering a dialogue with the county on investigating why various cities and towns have different impact fees and on the use of the construction inflation index.

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry called for making those impact fees uniform throughout the region.

In a memo, Huckelberry requested “a regional jurisdictional review of all residential and commercial impact fees through the Regional Transportation Authority, with the goal of improving regional uniformity in fee amounts and ensuring that the use of said fees contribute to regional mobility needs caused by urban growth.”

Supervisor Ann Day said she supported the investigation into various components of the commercial impact fees, and Huckelberry’s call to bring fees into uniformity because she didn’t want developers to engage in “fee-shopping” among cities and towns.

SAHBA government liaison Lori Lustig said her agency supported the idea of the county using the construction inflation index, writing “as part of the report’s recommended effort to adopt a fee more closely resembling current costs and the fees of neighboring jurisdictions, it also seemed appropriate for us to begin a dialogue with the county on particular items the neighboring jurisdictions include in their fee ordinances, and the manner in which they are utilized.”

Contact Philip Franchine, a reporter for the Green Valley News, by e-mail at pfranchine@gvnews.com or call (520) 547-9738.

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