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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bill Allows Impact Fees For Growth Cities Could Charge Builders To Offset Cost Of Services

Cities staggering under the weight of rapid growth would get some relief under a bill introduced this week in the state House of Representatives.

The bill would allow cities to charge developers “impact fees” to offset the cost of providing services to the new residents - including roads, sewer lines, parks and police.

Proposing the bill was a group that successfully fought three similar bills last year: the Idaho Building Contractors Association.

“I find it interesting that they’re supporting this, and I’m glad,” said Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls.

“I think if you’re an intelligent businessman, you’d like to see it done properly,” said Forrest Goodrum, an attorney for the association. “If it’s fair, they (developers) will pay their share.”

In 1992, the Legislature passed a bill allowing impact fees, but only in Ada County. The new bill would expand that to include cities or counties throughout the state.

The proposal drew mixed reviews from Bob Croffoot, city administrator for Hayden. Small cities may not be able to afford studies to set the “formula or method” required by the bill, he said.

In the past two years, Hayden and Coeur d’Alene both began charging impact fees, but their fees were overturned in court challenges. Both cities are awaiting the results of an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

In Hayden’s case, Croffoot said, the city has grown from 3,744 residents to 6,200 in four years. Traffic has increased drastically, he said, and the city needs road repairs, streetlights and a new city park.

Before a judge declared the city’s impact fees illegal in August, Hayden collected roughly $350,000 with its $1,000 fee per new home. Coeur d’Alene had collected $470,494. The money is being held in a fund until the court rules.