Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hailey adjusts development fees

Commercial zone vacancies give rise to changes

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission voted Monday to make changes to the city's development impact fee requirements, based on new growth rate projections and the commission's desire to stimulate commercial activity in the city.

Development impact fees are regulated by Idaho law, which states that they exist to "ensure that adequate public facilities are available to serve new growth and development."

According to the Hailey comprehensive plan, the fees are charged to developers of new buildings in Hailey to ensure that "new growth pays for itself" instead of passing the financial burden of increased need for city services to existing residents.

The development impact fees are used to fund the city's capital improvement plans.

Based on a study by consultant Caplan Associates, the Hailey Development Impact Fee Committee estimates that the city will grow at a rate of 2.5 percent per year, bringing an additional 5,600 residents by 2032. Growth was projected in the last development impact fee amendment, in 2007, to increase by 4.75 percent per year.

In 2007, the commission expected 156 additional jobs to come to the city each year. Today it expects 90 additional jobs per year.

Fees have been assessed at between $2.57 and $6.66 per square foot of floor area, depending on category and size of the business. The new fee schedule will charge a flat rate of $3.98 per square foot.

City Administrator Heather Dawson said the change was implemented to remove potential financial impediments to businesses seeking to relocate within the Business Zone.

"Because there are so many vacancies in the business zone, the Development Impact Fee Committee wants businesses to be able to situate themselves at the best location, without struggling with the different fees across the city," she said.

The amendment also removes all daycare businesses from paying the fee.

In other Hailey news:

( The P&Z recommended approval of an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance that allows retail sales to make up half of wholesalers' business in the Limited Business Zone.

Tony Evans:

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