By Melissa Johnson | Rose Law Group Reporter
Impact fees are imposed by local governments on new development projects to pay for their direct impact on public facilities like roads, parks and fire service.
Pinal County impact fees were first studied in 2006 and implemented in early 2007 with an update in 2010. The county initiated another update in September 2014.
As outlined in a presentation at Friday’s Pinal Partnership breakfast by Pinal County Manager Greg Stanley, the board of supervisors in an October 2014 work session proposed specifics for the update that were followed by several months of multiple open houses and special meetings where feedback was provided for revisions.
In a November 2015 work session the board of supervisors asked that a fee appeal provision be put back in the ordinance and the fee schedule and ordinance be adopted at one time. The fee adoption and updated draft ordinance will next go to the board of supervisors on February 3, 2016.
Dr. Dwayne Pierce Guthrie of TischlerBise assists local governments throughout the nation with infrastructure planning and growth management. Pinal County contracted with TischlerBise to assist in the impact fee discussions and research. Guthrie outlined the changes to the fee structure noting the proposed four fee areas for streets are broken down into east, west, north central and south central. The most notable decrease in impact fees will be to residential units 1,000 square feet or smaller (not including garage, porches etc.). Fee increases will be seen in the San Tan area of the county and for homes over 2,100 square feet.
Michael Martindale, Land Broker for CRA, said, “We need to get the homebuilders paying attention to Pinal County and make sure they know we’re lowering impact fees.” Martindale talked specifically about the lots and permits in Pinal County of which permits increase by 31% from 2014 to 2015. He said, “We have a great plan, let’s adopt it.”
Martindale said the county has a total of 6,013 of combined finished and platted lots available which is only a 12 month supply; 18 months’ supply is more common to see but could be good for the market to drive demand. While Hunt Highway is helping to encourage growth, he said the population needs to increase by about 5,000 people to see more retail develop in any area.