Chatham may increase school impact fees

From staff reportsJuly 30, 2009 

— The Chatham County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing Sept. 21 in Pittsboro on possible increases in school impact fees.

Impact fees are charged on new housing units to help pay for growth and go toward school construction. The commissioners asked for a study to review options for basing the impact fee on housing unit size in addition to the current method of varying the fee by single-family or multifamily housing.

"We asked the consultant to look at home size, because that would be a more equitable option," board Chairman George Lucier said. "We face major barriers, including legal issues, which prevent us from using square footage or affordability to vary the fee, so we are limited to looking at the number of bedrooms in the home."

The consultant found the county could reasonably charge an impact fee as high as $8,507, compared with the current maximum of $3,500 for a single-family unit. However, if the impact fee structure is revised to consider the number of bedrooms, the new maximum fee would range from $3,264 to $14,404 for single-family homes and would be $2,484 for all multifamily units.

"These maximums do not reflect what the board will actually enact," Lucier stressed. "Any decisions to change the impact fee will be determined after we have received public input."

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