Local News

Proposed Impact Fee Increase Debated Before Raleigh Council

Posted April 5, 2006 3:57 a.m. EDT

— As the Triangle continues to grow, so does concern about how to pay for it. One idea: make builders pay more to put up houses with impact fees.

Impact fees are what builders pay for building new homes to cover expenses associated with growth, such as new roads and parks. A hearing about a proposed 72 percent increase in fees drew heated debate from both sides in Raleigh Tuesday night.

The increase considered by the Raleigh City Council could more than double current fees in two years. Raleigh/Wake Home Builders Association President Dan Tingen said that would be bad for business.

"Every dollar that is charged in fees or taxes to homebuilders and developers goes into the cost of a new home and thereby you will eliminate potential homebuyers," Tingen said.

At least one builder thinks it's a good idea.

"As we fall farther and farther behind on our infrastructure, I don't think there is a defense for not raising impact fees," said builder Bill Mullins. "I really do believe it's time to step up to the plate."

Realtor Laurie Donofrio believes a higher impact fee will make it tougher for people to buy their first home.

"Any action we take around the council table will have serious and direct effects on our citizens' ability to find decent and affordable housing," said Donofrio.

"No one is here to stop growth," said homeowner John Burns. "Growth is good, but so is growth that pays for itself, and growth that is managed so the resources it requires are met."

The impact fee proposal will now go to the Raleigh Planning Commission and could eventually return to the City Council for a vote.