Here’s one that slipped by the local media: Though facing a budget crisis of its own, the City of Grass Valley is recommending that the Council temporarily defer some development impact fees for the initial phase of the Wolf Creek Village project. The decision is expected at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting.
Though I understand the tough economic times and am a big fan of this project, I always wonder about the wisdom of this “rules are made to be broken” mindset.
Though the circumstances always differ, think of examples such as Dark Horse in the unincorporated county or Walgreen’s in Grass Valley when a project falls short of completion — despite the best of intentions. Then “we the people” are on the hook. It’s the “electeds” job to guard against this.
These impact fees are to pay for services (drainage, fire, park and recreation) provided by the City-and County once residents move in.
“The unexpected 2-year delay when our financing went on hold has made the project budget especially tight,” according to a letter send to the city by the developer. “We estimate paying the impact fees at the end of construction instead of when we pull building permits will save the project approximately $10,000 in interest on the bank loan.”
It adds, “We do not believe it is appropriate to have to pay these fees 18 months before residents move in.”
“In 2008, when we thought we are the verge of starting construction before the banking collapse, the project paid $237,942 in water and sewer fees, $21,562 in Quimby Act Fees, $13,362 in Regional Traffic Fees, $75,181 in school fees, and $65,037 in building department plan check fees. We have now had to pay two years of additional interest on the funds used to pay these fees. In the last two years, the impact and other city fees remaining to be paid have increased by $28,000. This has put additional hardships on the project.”
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