Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Street impact fee felt out

April 13, 2006

For years, Eudora has charged fees to keep up with the impact of a new sewer tap or electrical connection. Soon it might have a fee for street improvements.

The Eudora City Council discussed a possible formula that would increase the average price of a lot in a subdivision to keep up with the effect of new traffic.

"We didn't have anything that addresses streets in our community," Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "We have fees that address sewer (and) water and how that impacts with costs associated with it, but we had nothing that would take care of streets."

Dan Harden drafted the formula at the referral of city engineer Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants.

Harden crafted the formula based on his past experience as an engineer for Riley County.

"He tried to base it off of numbers that were logical and sensible based on Kansas population as well as that of Eudora," Beatty said.

The formula looks at factors on a development-by-development basis and the fees are assessed per lot.

"This is just the first step," Beatty said.

Harden's formula takes into account a complex series of factors ranging from the city's yearly population to the average number of vehicles per household and the number of units per each development."(City Attorney) Jerry Cooley indicated based on the logic that it's a defensible formula," Beatty said.

The impact fee came to the forefront when the city council told developers of the approved Deer Valley subdivision the city couldn't help with the construction of one of the development's outer roads. The city couldn't afford the funds for such a project.

To help raise capital, the development of impact fees was proposed.

Based on the formula, the 95 lots in Deer Valley would be assessed $233.50.

But just how that money and that collected from other new development would be used remains unclear.

"You need to give us a general idea what you want the money to be used for once we start collecting it," Beatty said.

Kingsley said the ultimate aim of the formula would allow for the city's growth while maintaining an operating budget for the road system.

"It only makes sense if you agree with this ordinance if you increase by some number of vehicles, say 100, then your budget of maintenance would need to increase proportionately," Kingsley said.

If the fees work as planned, the fees would stave off budget inflation.

"I think it's more than fair," Councilman Kevin Miller said.

Although council reaction appeared positive, councilwoman Lori Fritzel wanted more time to study the implications of the fees.

"I think a study session or work session on this would be great," Fritzel said.

Fritzel suggested the Lawrence Home Builders Association be kept abreast of the developments.

"They're not being kept out of the loop," Beatty said.

The council decided to set a meeting date for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the City Hall basement to discuss impact fees, sign codes and trailer home zoning.

"It looks good to me overall," Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said.

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