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Raleigh Hears From Public on Impact Fees, Infill

Posted March 18, 2008

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— City Council members listened to opinions given by residents on proposals to increase impact fees and regulate infill at a public hearing Tuesday night.

One proposal would more than double the impact fees charged to the builder of an average-sized house.

Supporters argued that would make growth pay for the infrastructure enhancements – including improvements to roads and parks – that it requires. Opponents, however, claimed the raise could hurt an unstable economy.

WakeUP Wake County, a civic group with about 400 members, praised impact fees as an effective means to manage growth.

"Impact fees on new development, residential and commercial, are a way for development to help pay its fair share," Karen Rindge, chairwoman of WakeUP!, said.

Opponents argued that the increased impact fees would unduly burden the Triangle's economy, already weakened by a 29 percent drop in home sales in January, compared to the same month in 2007.

"With the economy as fragile as it is now, I think it's very dangerous to do anything that is going to make it more difficult for anyone to buy homes," mortgage lender Connie Tench said.

Some homeowners expressed fears that the cost would be passed onto them.

"I don't think that's right," resident Junius Winder said. "You are already paying enough as it is for the house."

Under the proposal, a complex, sliding scale would raise the impact fees for an average-sized new home of 2,800 square feet to $2,500 from $1,200. Mayor Charles Meeker said it would raise $8 to $10 million a year to invest in roads and parks.

The public also weighed in on the city's regulations regarding infill – the practice in which old homes are knocked down and replaced with larger ones.

Infill has become an issue in some of Raleigh's older neighborhoods inside the Beltline. Since 2000, approximately 600 home shave been torn down and rebuilt.

Some homeowners say the presence of houses twice or triple the size of the original ones ruins the character of their neighborhoods. Others, however, say infill keeps property values up and that restricting the ways in which homes can be rebuilt restricts property rights.

"For those people who are opposed to putting restrictions on what people can do with their private property, I think the only option is going to be to hold a new election and get an entirely new City Council," Georger Harter, an opponent of restricting infill, said.

The Raleigh Planning Commission has proposed using Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts to set building standards in specified older neighborhoods. The commission voted against Meeker's original proposal to reduce the maximum height of homes and increase required setbacks.


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  • toffton Mar 19, 2008

    How many small bungalow style houses are needed inside the belt line to keep the character in tact? Just because a house is old doesn't mean it is historical. The neighborhoods that have the tear down/rebuild houses look so much better and are keeping the city from collapsing on itself and having ghetto areas. Meeker is a complete boob who should never have been re-elected!

  • craziecrafter Mar 19, 2008

    They can raise the impack fees all they want. The builders are only going to pass it onto the new homeowner. The builder isn't going to pay it.

    How poor is Raleigh/Wake Co. well look at their wish list. They got a new civic center, Wake Co wants a new courthouse and Raleigh wants a new Police Dept. They have champagne taste with a beer pocketbook.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 19, 2008

    Same old story; let the next guy pay for it. I have news for you there is no next guy. The smarter thing would be to grow at a pace that effectively pays for itself. Unfortunately, the greed of the people holding the political reins will not allow for that. So that means more and more debt and more and more fees. All of it is unnecessary. With the right kind of planning you could set aside funds allocated for growth and only grow at the rate that those funds would allow. That would pay for schools and other infrastructure needs. Doing that though would mean the Meekers of this world would not get to line their pockets. So instead, even in the face of an extreme drought the good politicians allowed ongoing building despite shuting down some of the small business owners. To them they said tough; you don't represent enough money for me to worry about. Next steps is envelopes of cash in rest rooms.

  • The Fox Mar 19, 2008

    I kept hearing the composting (garbage disposal), impact fees, radioactive, water restrictions and other eco-buzz words too often so I did a little digging.

    The situation here is that the local tree huggers (Sierra Club)endorsed Charles Meeker, Russ Stephenson, Thomas Crowder, Nancy McFarlane, and Rodger Koopman in the last election. Crowder, Stephenson, and McFarlane are members of the Sierra CLub. So if you look at their actions from that light, it all makes sense. Expect more of the same eco-attacks.

  • 1Packfan Mar 19, 2008

    Raising impact fees, increasing water bill, ban on disposals, proposed increase in sales tax.

    How broke is Raleigh/Wake County???

    As the economy stiffens, our "leader" (and I used that term very loosely) decides to tighten their grips on us and take more money, when many of us are fighting depleting portfolios and higher gas, food, etc. prices.

    Enough is enough!

  • ncwebguy Mar 19, 2008

    Impact fees go directly to pay for *some* infrastructure -- parks and roads. Not water and sewer hook ups -- existing residents pay for that via water bills. Or schools, police, or fire departments -- existing residents pay via property taxes. Growth never fully pays for itself. The existing population pays more for less service (see trash collection). Trash collection would cost a *lot* more if we didn't go to just once a week. If we didn't recycle, the problem of landfill space would be as bad as our current water resivour space issue.

    Impact fees go into the "general fund". But the cost of the impact of new growth is more than the fees currently collected. I'm tired of subsidizing newcomers who get new parks, roads, etc. without paying for them. And tired of the real estate industry charging a premium to live here, despite the fact that they had nothing to do making this area a great place to live.

  • miketroll3572 Mar 19, 2008

    If Sleasly would stop robbing the DOT and give up all the pork spending we would probably have the money.

  • foetine Mar 19, 2008

    how is Meeker a socialist? his main goal is to banish the lower classes from inside the beltline.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 19, 2008

    chfdcpt.....you are EXACTLY correct! And guess what the developer THEN does? he adds that cost to the price of the land, and then the homeowner pays it in a 30 year mortgage. Developers won't build unless there's a certain level of profit! When fees go up, typically they have to build bigger, more expensive houses. I'm not totally sure where people get the idea that the cost is free to most?

  • Clare Mar 19, 2008

    I know George Harter personally. He is a guy who is willing to speak up and say NO to SCALES underhanded tactics and the City Councils bull dog approach to limiting our property rights. He and the rest of us have been fighting for over a year to just keep what we paid for the same as it's always been. Good job George.