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Wednesday, June 9, 2004


Should developers pay for their impacts?

Ketchum researching new development fees

Express Staff Writer

Developers who build in the Ketchum city limits might soon be asked to pay additional fees to offset the financial impacts of their projects.

Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc announced to the City Council Monday, June 7, that he is advancing a plan for the city to collect a set of fees that would compensate the city for the impacts of new developments on a variety of public services.

Ketchum currently assesses fees for the impacts of new development on the city’s water and sewer systems.

The city is now considering seeking compensation for the impacts of new developments on other city services, such as fire protection, police, emergency dispatch and the maintenance of public parks, LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc earlier this year was instructed by the City Council to draft a plan for the city to ensure it does not lose money by providing additional services demanded by the residents of new developments.

The new development-impact fees would likely be assessed to all projects except those that are minor enough to have no foreseeable impacts.

"In general, what the impact fees will do is offset a cost we know will occur," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc said he has solicited bids for consulting services from 29 different companies that specialize in calculating development-impact fees.

Once a consulting firm is hired, it will be asked to draft a plan to calculate and assess a variety of new fees.

The council discussion of impact fees Monday was pursuant to a request by developer Thunder Spring LLC to have the water- and sewer-related impact fees waived for its planned Pineridge housing development on Warm Springs Road.

The developer is asking that the fees be waived because the project includes numerous community-housing units, which are deemed to be a public benefit.

The city has not made a determination as to whether it will waive any fees for the Pineridge project.


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