Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So, It Wasn't the Impact Fees?
Remember last spring when Ben Israel, Jeff Koenig, Bill Ramsey, and the rest of the Free Lunch Club were tying to make us believe that reasonable fees to cover the impact of development would hurt Fayetteville's reputation and kill new development? They fooled half of the voters and got their way. Now the truth is out.
“Due to the current instability of the commercial and residential markets, the progress of the development has been delayed,” wrote Michael Morgan of McClelland Consulting Engineers in one of several requests by developers to the Planning Commission for more time to get needed building permits and complete projects. Kathy Deck, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, presented the Quarterly Business Analysis yesterday and told local real estate developers that the good news is that residential building permits are down, when we were earlier told that would be bad news.
It wasn't impact fees that caused Mason Hiba to sue Brandon Barber and John Ed Chambers because of missed construction deadlines and several liens that were being placed on the Bellafont building due to nonpayment to subcontractors. It wasn't impact fees that caused the glut of empty houses and more than 1.6 million square feet of vacant office space in the two-county area, up 76. 98% from the same quarter last year. It wasn't impact fees that stalled the city-subsidized Renaissance Towers Marriott and led to monthly payments for liquidated damages.
You can blame "market conditions," or you can blame developers looking for a quick buck who didn't think through projects or plan for changing conditions. You can't blame the proposed impact fees, because the Chamber and the developers made sure that didn't pass. Those who falsely cry wolf should not be surprised by a lack of smypathy when he's at their door.