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Impact fees topic for Town Hall meeting Aug. 1

Farragut will host another public information meeting to get public and developer input on impact fees beginning at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Town Hall .

In past public meetings, such as the one April 16, 2007, residents considered impact fees a good thing for the community, but developers and those in the retail business believed impact fees a measure that would burden those coming into Farragut instead of sharing it with residents currently living here.

“I’d like to see a way to spread the fees out over the entire community,” developer Mike Rhodes said during a past meeting. “It would definitely cost the builder more.”

Rhodes said he didn’t have anything negative to say about impact fees since he could see their value, but suggested a way to spread the cost over the entire community would be better for developers.

Jim Duncan, president of Duncan Associates, the firm contracted by the town to study impact fees, said the cost of impact fees would be $4,095 per single-family unit. From that fee, $2,436 would go to roads and the remaining $1,659 would be dedicated toward park maintenance and improvement.

“I like to call impact fees a public-private partnership,” Duncan said. “Impact fees are designed to provide infrastructure for housing and development.”

Duncan said Farragut fits the profile of a high-growth community that could benefit from impact fees to maintain its quality of life and keep up its infrastructure.

Residents Lowell and Jane Willie attended the April meeting to keep abreast of local developments, but agreed with Duncan that it is necessary for Farragut to maintain its current high standards.

“We think this is a good idea,” Lowell said.

“You have to be able to maintain the quality of life that we have here,” Jane said. “Impact fees seem to be a good way to do that.”

Dave Santi, a real estate agent with ReMax, said he was concerned about the ramifications of impact fees in Farragut.

“It could have a serious impact,” he said. “I wish there was a better way of keeping the level of service in Farragut. It’s too bad one group would be shouldering the burden. It would be nice if we had a more level playing field.”

Duncan said the purpose of the impact fee was not to generate revenue for the town, but rather a formula for developers that would allow them to evenly shoulder the burden for infrastructure.

“If a developer can understand the fee structure he can make a decision in advance whether it’s economically feasible to build and sell homes in that area,” Alderman Tom Rosseel said.

Currently, builders in Farragut negotiate with the town on needed improvements to roads running adjacent to and into proposed subdivisions. In some cases, builders opt to improve sections of public road as part of the development.

Duncan said in those instances where a developer improves a road, the town could allow impact fees to be pro-rated or waived since the developer went above and beyond what was necessary of their new development.


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