Higher Impact Fees Proposed to Control Raleigh's Growth
Posted September 12, 2007 6:43 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2007 7:06 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A city councilman has proposed tripling Raleigh's impact fees to get a better handle on local growth in the coming years.
Raleigh encompasses about 90,000 acres – the city was founded on 400 acres about two centuries ago – and has jurisdiction over another 40,000 undeveloped acres.
But officials said as much as 50 acres is developed every day in Wake County, which makes control over the development of the remaining land critical to Raleigh's future.
"We are running out of valuable space here. We're going to have to build a lot smarter," City Councilman Thomas Crowder said, calling for developers to pay three times the impact fees now charged.
"I would like to see us triple that and then provide incentives. If you lessen the impact and provide water conservation, we can then provide incentives to move that down," Crowder said.
Raleigh's population of about 368,000 also is expected to grow as available land shrinks. Estimates show the city's population increasing about 13,000 people a year.
"As one of the metro areas, we're definitely in the Top 10 as far as growth across the country," said Mitchell Silver, Raleigh's planning director.
Undeveloped sites in parts of southeast Raleigh and to the northeast near Louisburg Road are poised for the most development, Silver said. But he said it would take about 40 years to completely develop the remaining 40,000 acres, giving the city time to control growth.
Mayor Charles Meeker said every acre is critical to the city's future, especially those used for roads.
"The major challenge for us is transportation, with the state not building a lot of new roads and the city having to pass bond issues to keep up," Meeker said.