Sunday, July 8, 2007

Impact Fees and Affordable Housing

The Rogers City Council approved development impact fees for new water and sewer hookups, but they did so with a plan to protect low-income homebuyers seeking affordable housing. There will be a lower fee structure for smaller homes built in the city’s affordable-housing zone, but overall impact fees will still provide the needed resources for the continued infrastructure demands on the city.

The ordinance will reduce the fees for homes smaller than 1,200 square feet in the affordable-housing zone, which was created to allow for the building of smaller structures on smaller lots, increasing density and lowering the overall cost. The lowered fees will be $350 for water service and $1,100 for sewer service, a fee more sensitive to a home’s actual impact on the overall infrastructure, instead of the standard combined cost of $2,900.

Fayetteville should consider this approach to road impact fees, designating an affordable housing zone in the city center to encourage infill and applying larger impact fees on new construction that creates traffic congestion and enormous infrastructure costs at the outer edges of the city. It advances City Plan 2025, makes sense for smart growth, and assures that everyone pays their fair share. All we need are a mayor and city council with the courage to stand up to the developers' Free Lunch Club and do the right thing.

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