A work session of the Waxahachie City Council was held on Monday to discuss the future of the abatement program for roadway impact fees for residential construction. Presenting this item before the council was director of planning Clyde Melick.
Roadway impact fees play a large part in the growth, development and future of a city. Impact fees are levied by the city and imposed on developers and builders. These fees help to pay for the future expansion of the roads due to the increasing capacity placed on them. The single-family roadway abatement program is scheduled to lapse in August.
“Impact fees kind of beg the question where are we going and where do we want to be in 15 or so years. Do we want to be reactive to every different development that comes in or proactive in letting the developers know that we a have a vision where we are looking to go in our future,” Melick said. “The advantage of having a funding source is that it provides cities with the ability to plan and construct capital roadway facilities so the needed capacity is available when the market warrants.”
When adopting impact fees the city establishes a capital improvements plan. This plan helped to identify where future growth might take place and what projects would be needed in those areas.
A number of public hearings were held during the process when the capital improvement plan and impact fees were established. Making up the impact fee advisory committee are members of the planning and zoning commission and one person from Waxahachie’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. When adopting impact fees the city council adopted a 25-percent collection rate from developers and builders. The state will only allow a city to collect half of the actual cost of a capital improvement through impact fees.
The city is divided up into seven service areas. Funds collected from one service area can’t be spent in another. The council approved to abate these fees in August of 2010, The hope was to encourage more developers to come into the city and build homes to foster growth.
Melick said when looking at impact fees, it is important to look at what the land use assumptions in each of the services areas to see if they have changed. This aids the city in determining the time when capital improvement takes place.
In 2007 and 2008 the city had a projected growth rate of 3 percent. Since that time the growth rate has been around 1-1.2 percent. Land use assumptions help to determine the carrying capacity on the roads.
The council discussed setting a flat collection rate for all seven service areas, but decided against it. They also discussed using impact fees to market areas for higher quality of homes, which help to bring in higher paying jobs.
The council decided to not renew the abatement program.
They are also going to possibly look into amending the roadway impact fee collection rate for service area two, which is located near Grove Creek Road.
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