Blaine planning commission to discuss re-instating park impact fees

Published on Thu, May 10, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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On the heels of a Blaine City Council decision re-instituting water and sewer connection fees, the city’s planning commission is starting discussions on re-establishing park impact fees for new residential development.

Blaine planning staff will seek input on re-instituting the fees from planning commissioners at tonight’s commission meeting. City council members initially requested staff to investigate re-implementing park impact fees at a meeting in January of this year.

Once in place until a city council decision did away with them in 2009, park impact fees were charged on new residential development in Blaine. State law authorizes cities to charge park impact fees to pay for new park areas to handle new residents.

In Blaine’s case, city planning staff charged $1,000 per new residential until up until city council members did away with the fees in 2009. Council members abolished the fees to spur new residential development in the city during the recent economic downturn.

With the economy still stagnant, Blaine planning staff are considering two main ways to re-implement the park impact fees based on input from the city’s park and cemetery board.

One method would charge different levels of fees for each of three city’s three main areas: West Blaine, Central Blaine and East Blaine. New residential units in East Blaine, for example, would come with the highest park impact fees because the area is currently devoid of city parks. City planning staff suspect home builders would find this method more equitable since it charges less for areas of the city with more parks, but it would be more complicated to implement.

The other method would establish a flat park impact fee for all areas of the city. City staff say this method would be easier to implement and maintain, though home builders could consider it inequitable because it charges the same impact fee no matter how many parks there are near a proposed new development.

Planning staff will seeking input on these and other park impact fee issues at the May 10 (tonight) planning commission meeting. Click here for the informational document city staff prepared for the planning commissioners.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Blaine city hall. Click here for the meeting’s full agenda.


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