Impact Fees and GFCs Thank you to all the people who took time to write letters, attend council meetings and testify. We were successful! The council voted Monday night to increase the transportation impact fee for new development in the Latah Valley to include Grandview/Thorpe increasing the fee from $1200 to $7500 for each new home. These fees will go directly to our neighborhoods and help build and pay for the needed road infrastructure within the city. However, keep in mind that the fees are only collected once permits are applied for and the money collected only equals about 50% of the funding actually needed. What this means is the city needs to find (e.g. state and/or federal grants) or generate (i.e. taxes, levies, bonds) funds to make up the cost difference and with that the actual road construction is likely 5+ years out from occurring.
General Facility Charges (GFCs) were also increased city-wide. This is a bit more confusing and the final rate increases are stated to be amended at the Mar 27th Council meeting. Since 2002, the water connection fee has been $1,232 and the sewer connection fee has been $2,400 for a 1-inch water pipe smaller. In this new ordinance, water connection fees have been split into two zones, lower and upper depending on elevation which drives costs. In the upper zone, the south and northwest part of Spokane, fees will increase to about $10,000 (combined water and sewer). In the lower zone, downtown, the north and east part of Spokane, the fees will increase to only $2800. This has created a lot of turmoil therefore the council agreed to discuss and possibly amend this fee to a lower rate in two weeks. This ordinance left out important incentives for affordable housing and will likely be revised. And finally, the moratorium was not extended but we expect developers will wait to see how the GFCs are amended which will determine project feasibility or pull any permits. WSDOT will continue to place restrictions on development until infrastructure is in place to reduce traffic on US 195/I-90. So even with the moratorium lifted, developers have numerous factors to consider prior to initiating construction.
So where do we go from here?
The letters and phone calls were very effective. We need to keep this up including our advocacy for a new moratorium. 1. Look for an email next week outlining our direction from here. 2. We will be meeting with our Legislators from District 3 in May and have provided updates on the key issues facing our neighborhoods. 3. We are also meeting with some key political figures in the next two weeks. The fight is not over, in fact we are gaining momentum!