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Park impact fees get hearing in Cheney council

Increase would affect new residential development

The Cheney City Council on Tuesday heard the first reading of an ordinance updating the city’s park impact fees.

The fees, last updated in the 1990s, would be applied on new residential development and would be paid when the other fees for new development, such as building permits, are due.

Paul Simmons, the parks and recreation director, told the council that the fees are based upon occupancy and would be $570 per person –previously it was $439.73. The fees were calculated by using a formula that divides current park development costs by the projected population growth of Cheney.

Housing trends also dictated the amount of people living in a single-family home. The previous figure for people living in a single-family home that the city used was 2.9 people per home. The new figure the city will use will be 2.6 people per home.

The new impact fees will also define what credit a developer will get for mitigation fees depending on whether the developer donates park land to the city.

If a developer plans for a park or a walking trail and donates the land to the city for public use, the developer would get 100 percent credit for the mitigation fees pending approval by the city.

If the land is kept private, the developer would get credit for 25 percent of the mitigation fees.

Councilmember Curt Huff had a problem with some of the language in the ordinance that said the mayor and city staff would approve any park donated to the city by the developer. He worried the council wouldn’t have a say in that.

“It seems that we’ve got more parks than we can properly take care of,” Huff said.

Huff asked if the city staff could take a look at the ordinance before the second reading at the next meeting and make some changes.

Developer Steve Emtman worried about the projects he is in the process of building in Cheney and made arrangements to have a meeting with the city staff to answer any questions.

The second reading of the ordinance will be at the next council meeting on March 10.

The council also heard the second reading of the updated nuisance code ordinance, with a few changes from the last meeting, due to conversations the city has had with its legal team.

The code now no longer includes any criminal infractions, since it does not provide the city with the right to enter the property after a warrant of abatement has been issued. The appeal method has also been changed, which will now go before the Board of Adjustment.

The council agreed to hear the third and final reading of this ordinance at the next regular meeting.