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    Councilwoman Schipske's Blog Cites Limits On City Hall Imposing/Using Developer Fees...And Says Council Needs Urgency Ordinance To Prevent Rush Of Applicants Trying To Beat Effective Date

    (April 8, 2007) -- On April 7, a day before posted our Persective on the City Council's actions toward applying Public Safety Impact Fees (for police and fire infrastructure/hardware) on developers, 5th district Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske posted omments to her personal [non-taxpayer paid] blog on the subject.

    Councilwoman Schipske wrote in pertinent part:

    ...We need to be clear about these fees: state law requires that they be used only for the construction of facilities needed as a result of the development. That’s why they are called “impact fees.”

    The funds cannot be used for maintenance or operation of current facilities. So try as we might — even if we enact these fees, they can’t be used to fix the horrible conditions of some of our fire stations or the crowded condition of the eastside police station — unless of course the development is located in that area and the funds are used to construct new public safety facilities.

    There was much discussion about when in the development process these fees can be imposed. Again, the law is quite clear: generally such fees are allowed only when they were imposed before building permits are issued and actual construction begins.

    Councilwoman Schipske also raised the possibility of developers potentially rushing to beat the effective date of a new ordinance [our comment: as developers did in the 1980s to beat a moratorium on so-called "crackerbox" apartments.] She says the Council needs to plug that loophole:

    In my research on this issue, I just discovered that to avoid the problem of developers rushing to secure project approval before the new fees are in place, we should have passed a resolution requiring all future development to participate in the pending fee program. That would have provided notice last September when it was first considered that the fees were coming.

    To ensure that we don’t have a rush to get projects approved before the 60 days pass (after we approve and before it becomes law) the Council needs to enact an “urgency ordinance” to ensure that there is not a gap in the applicability of the fees during the 60-day period before the regular ordinance becomes effective.

    She also sayd the Council needs to "add an inflation factor so that these fees can automatically increase as the cost of construction for new fire and police facilities rise. We need these fees to help fund construction of new public safety facilities. We also need to find a source of funds to fix and repair those facilities that are so badly in need of repair."

    To access Councilwoman Schipske's April 7 view on this posted to her personal [NOT taxpayer-paid] blog, click here.

    To's April 8 Perspective, click here

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