Council revisits impact fees |

Council revisits impact fees

— The city could take a step tonight toward protecting future affordable developments from new impact fees.

Steamboat Springs City Council will consider the first reading of a revised impact fee ordinance that would in effect subsidize new housing projects that meet guidelines for affordability.

Council passed its original impact fee ordinance June 19. However, the city received complaints from people concerned that the impact fees, $4,000 on a single-family home, were too great when applied to affordable housing. Council advised city staff to make revisions to the ordinance to take those concerns into account.

City Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell said Monday she believes impact fees represent no more than a start on making sure the city is adequately funded to provide the infrastructure demanded by a growing community. But she also intends to look very closely at how the city’s overall fee structure treats the largest homes being built in Steamboat.

Steamboat’s impact fees have not yet been put into effect and are the subject of a lawsuit filed by residents who want to vote on the issue. Whatever happens tonight, it won’t be final the revised ordinance would have to pass a second reading tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6.

The new impact fee would assess $4,001 to unattached single-family homes. By law, it cannot vary the fees with the size of the home.

There is also a schedule of fees applying to various kinds of new commercial construction.

The fees would be dedicated to underwriting costs of providing parks, public buildings, public safety and public transit. All four categories would make up a trust fund that would be maintained in an interest bearing account.

Under the revised ordinance, owners of new homes would be eligible for a “subsidy” from the city in an amount equal to the amount of the development impact fee, provided they meet five qualifications. The household income could be no more than the median income for the community. Principal and interest payments on the mortgage for the home could not exceed 30 percent of the household income and the dwelling unit could be no more than 1,500 square feet.

The city would require that to be eligible for the subsidy, the home would have to be the sole residence of the fee payer’s household. And the fee payer must be employed or self-employed in Routt County.

Similarly, a fee payer, or developer, who is building affordable-housing units but does not plan to live in the unit in question could be eligible for the subsidies. In that case, the dwelling units must be no larger than 1,500 square feet. There must also be reasonable anticipation that the units would be sold to individuals or households that would qualify under the requirements for individual homeowners.

Finally, the housing units must actually be sold or rented to households that would qualify under the five criteria for private homeowners.

Under the terms of the new ordinance, the city would require recipients of the subsidy to back them up with a promissory note for the amount of the subsidy and secured by a deed of trust.

The notes would be due and payable at any time the original purchaser, or any subsequent purchaser or tenant, no longer meets all of the requirements.

For example, if a fee payer qualified for a subsidy, and subsequently increased the size of the dwelling, making it greater than 1,500 square feet, the note, including simple interest of 3 percent per year, would come due on the next sale of the dwelling or upon its rental.

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