Park impact fees to rise for new development | SierraSun.com

Park impact fees to rise for new development

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun
Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun file photoJeff Adams and Todd Kluever work on the new gate house at Timilick in Martis Valley earlier this year. If the Town of Truckee endorses a park-impact fee the local recreation district passed, housing projects in the recreation district would pay significantly higher fees for parks and recreation.
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In order to make new residential development pay for future recreation improvements, the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District board of directors voted last week to boost park impact fees by 455 percent.

But contractors in the Truckee area say they are already feeling pain even before the fee increase goes into effect due to the current sluggish economic climate.

“From a timing standpoint, it is our opinion that this increase could not come at a worse time,” Executive Director Pat Davison of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe told the board Thursday in a prepared statement.

Davison and other members of the local development industry are concerned that the fee increase, coupled with the recent slowdown of new construction, will generate an even greater slump in the Truckee housing market.

The new fee will go into effect once the Truckee Town Council endorses it, and will raise the rate from $0.40 to $2.22 per square foot for a single residential family unit.

The new rate would add $5,723 to the cost of an average new home, a cost that would be added to the construction budget or loan package.

The district’s goal is to acquire five acres of community parks for every 1,000 residents.

“The fact is, we have to be able to adjust our fees to maintain our level of service ” it’s tough, but we don’t have a choice,” said board chairman Marshall Lewis in a phone interview, adding that the board adjusted the increase to better suit the needs of developers.

For example, the board agreed to phase the fee in over a three-year period rather than the suggested two years.

“Although I’m grateful for the three-year phase, I’m still concerned because we don’t know what the housing market will look like and if we can recover,” Davison said Monday in a phone interview.

While the district periodically conducts a review of facility costs and buildings trends and adjusts fees accordingly, Davison said this was the largest increase of any district or jurisdiction she’s seen all year.

Additionally, she said she will continue to monitor cost projections of the district’s new community center, to see how that might further influence the cost of new development.

However, Lewis said because the district has not conducted a study on the demand for new parks and recreational facilities compared to population growth in over six years, the sharp fee increase may seem more significant than it would otherwise.

“The cost of everything rises so quickly and we have to make sure that the fees stay in touch with the reality of these costs,” Lewis said. “But I feel that overall, we came to a good consensus.”