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School Board Wants Meetings With Wake Leaders About Growth

Posted July 4, 2007
Updated July 5, 2007

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— The Wake County Board of Education is planning a series of meetings with leaders of Wake County municipalities to discuss ways to manage school growth.

With about 33,000 newcomers expected to arrive in Wake County by 2008, the flood of development crowds schools and leaves school board members looking for ways to handle it.

At a May 8 school board meeting, member Beverley Clark pitched an idea for an adequate public facilities ordinance, in which developers would pay a fee to build when schools are overcrowded.

The ordinance is already in place in Franklin County. A similar one has been approved in Orange County.

"The idea behind it is if schools are over capacity, the developer can wait to build until schools are in place, or they can pay a fee that will add more seats to the school," Franklin County planning director Pat Young said.

One year after putting the ordinance in place there, Young said, it has raised $20,000 earmarked for schools.

But many developers do not want communities in Wake County to take this approach, saying it will encourage developers to go elsewhere or pass the costs on to consumers.

"I would challenge anyone out there to show me where an APFO has built a school," said building consultant Chris Sinclair with the Triangle Community Coalition. "It hasn't."

Sinclair said he does not believe the impact fees work. He would rather see public-private partnerships in which developers build schools and lease them back to the school system.

Still, Franklin County says it is seeing results.

"We're not going to get good quality growth unless we have good schools," Young said.

Franklin schools are not overcrowded, and administrators hope their plan helps them avoid that.

39 Comments

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  • SS67 Jul 6, 2007

    NEVER trust a developer with building a school! Have you seen the junk they are putting together now? As soon as the project is built, they change corporations to avoid fixing their mistakes.
    Developers will build where people want to live regardless of "fees".

  • Nancy Jul 5, 2007

    There is no reason why Wake County Commissioners cannot adopt an APFO that stipulates that prior to any subdivision approval (whether municipal governments approve it or not) can move forward if the result would make schools inadequate to handle that subdivision.

    Many places in the country handle growth in this manner. It allows the infrastructure of roads and schools to be in place before added growth/development.

    Wake County ignored all logic and long term planning and instead has used additional tax proposals and an overabundance of bond issues to cover their poor planning.

  • Brick Tamland Jul 5, 2007

    They better have impact fees or just stop issuing new building permits for a while if they still want to be in office. I think the people of Wake County are sick of being taxed to death while the developers make millions. Growth is supposed to pay for growth, not higher taxes.

    And the developers saying impact fees will cause new home prices to go up. And? So? If it keeps people from moving here and slows the building of new houses, isn't that the point?

  • Gatsby Jul 5, 2007

    Don't blame Karan Bunn. She saw them coming.
    As a school planner in 1992, Bunn warned county and school leaders that the number of Wake students would break the 100,000 mark in 2000 and reach 118,000 by 2005.

    Her projections were met with disbelief, and her job was eliminated a year later.

    "They didn't want to hear that at the time," said Bunn, who still lives and works in Raleigh. "They just said shoot the messenger."
    She told them to stop the over development and build an ark...They laughed,drank & stuffed their pockets with $$$ from county line to county line. Now you and I will have to pay as the developers have more Jim Blacks in their back pocket than you can shake a stick at. Impact fees on them??? I don't think so.Yearly tax increases are here...fact of life in Wake Co.

  • Brick Tamland Jul 5, 2007

    "Finally, if the growth was slowed to the rate that many are clamoring for, then most people (except those that sold a 1,500 sq. ft townhouse in NJ for $500,000 and moved here) would not be able to afford anything more than an apartment."

    Actually, that's a big reason why the cost of housing in Raleigh is so bad now. Everything you see being built now starts at $200K, but the average household income is around $50K. That's for everyone in the house. The numbers don't add up. Why? Because people are moving here from other places, mostly up north, and the cost of houses here is "cheap" for them because of how much they sold their overpriced house up there. It's driving the cost of housing up for everyone, and first time buyers who grew up in the Triangle are having to go farther and farther from Raleigh and Durham to find a house they can afford. Yankees and illegals are destorying this area.

  • Brick Tamland Jul 5, 2007

    It's real easy to stop overcrowded schools. Listen up now, here it goes. Stop building so many new houses before you have schools to deal with them. This goes for roads, too. Oh, and stop building so many box stores. How many Wal-Marts do you need within 5 miles of each other?

    It's not hard to fix. Franklin County has the right idea. Of course the builders are going to say it doesn't work, because they have to pay the impact fees or lose money from not building all these McMansions overnight. Go with impact fees or even better just put a stop on building all together for a while until the schools and roads can catch up. Seriously, how many more people does Wake County need?

  • Nancy Jul 5, 2007

    This article really spells out how Wake County schools got in the position we are in today and the absolute arrogance and ignorance of those responsible:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/146/v-print/story/411969.html

  • djofraleigh Jul 5, 2007

    Bankers, builders and realtors profit from this uncontrolled growth. The children always pay the price in the end. One fourth of WCPSS students are in mobile units. School assignments constantly change, as are the calendars.

  • oceanchild71 Jul 5, 2007

    My last comment: Yes, developers can make a good amount of money. But they are also the ones who take on all the risk. So, if they receive a good payout when it is all said and done, it is because they have worked for it. Don't believe me? Go and sit in on Town Council Meetings and Public Hearings and then try to deal with gov't workers that can't see the forest for the trees! What is happening here in Wake Co. is happening everywhere. People buy their 1/2 acre lot next to the farm and expect it to remain the same and get mad when the owners decide to sell. If you are so mad, then you buy it or move! That is what we did (we moved).

  • oceanchild71 Jul 5, 2007

    measures that drive the price up. Private builders can get it done faster and cheaper and usually do it better. Gov't contractors tend to milk it for all its worth (remember the I-40 fiasco).

    Next, WCPSS is recycling plans for schools. Both Holly Springs High and Panther Creek high were built using the same floor plan. However, just because you are using the same floor plan doesn't mean everything can be the same. The layout of the land might mean moving parking lots and fields, so new site engineering and architecture is needed on every site.

    Finally, if the growth was slowed to the rate that many are clamoring for, then most people (except those that sold a 1,500 sq. ft townhouse in NJ for $500,000 and moved here) would not be able to afford anything more than an apartment. Any tax or fee levied on the developer goes to the customer. That is the cost of doing business. When state taxes go up, does the grocery store absorb the increase? No!

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