At its Nov. 5 regular session the Town Council approved its Land Use Assumptions and Infrastructures Improvements Plan as a step toward adoption for updated development fees next year.
Hank Griffin with TischlerBise, the consulting firm working on the fee study for the town, presented the proposed LUA and IIP to the council based on input received from council members in September.
With several items removed from the original proposal, Griffin outlined remaining growth projects over the next 10 years to the council. Those include 10.3 acres of developed park land and 5.7 units for park amenities. Also, the fire fees would support .5 units of fire apparatus and 2.9 units of fire equipment.
In street infrastructure, the plan calls for 2.3 arterial lane miles on Shea Boulevard and 1.3 improved intersections.
Items that were deleted from the initial plan include expansion of police facilities, future expansion of multi-use trails, expansion of fire stations and widening of Fountain Hills Boulevard.
The end result of these adjustments is a reduction of proposed development fees for Parks and Recreation, fire and streets. A law enforcement category for fees was eliminated.
Additional changes to the fee structure included the non-residential and hotel categories being consolidated with non-residential institutional and commercial categories, respectively.
The development fee recommendations from the consultant at this time reflect an increase over current fees.
Single family residential fees are proposed at $3,974 (current $1,601) and the multi-family residential proposal is $2,537 per unit (current $1,601).
Non-residential development fees are based on square footage and are proposed at $1.29 for industrial; $3.82 for commercial; $2.86 for institutional; and $2.45 for office. Current fees in all categories are 24-cents per square foot.
Development fees can only be used for infrastructure costs that can be shown are necessary to accommodate the growth associated with new development. That starts with a 10-year Infrastructure Improvement Plan (IIP). Without such a plan no fees can be imposed. The fees apply to new construction only.
Costs that are eligible for development fee funds include facilities/improvements required to serve new development, and excess capacity in existing facilities.
Maintenance and repair costs are not eligible, nor are improvements required to correct existing deficiencies, unless those are included in a funding plan.
The IIP integrates comprehensive planning, economic development and revenue strategies within a single document, according to Griffin.
With the approval of the IIP and Land Use Assumptions, on a 7-0 vote, the next step will be a public hearing on proposed new development fees on Tuesday, Dec. 17, with consideration of adoption on Jan. 21, 2020. If approved, the new development fees would be implemented effective April 5, 2020.
The Land Use Assumptions and IIP proposal from TischlerBise, along with Griffin’s presentation can be found at the Town of Fountain Hills website (fh.az.gov) with the agenda packet for the Nov. 5 Town Council meeting.