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Bill Would Restrict City 'Impact Fees' on Developers

Impact fees are imposed by cities and counties on developers to help pay for infrastructure costs associated with new development.  For example, if a hotel is built a city or county might impose a fee to help pay for any necessary traffic lights, roads, water needs, etc.  HB436 would outlaw the practice.  It was filed by the powerful House Speaker Pro Tem Sarah Stevens of Mt. Airy.  Its only other co-sponsor is Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt.

Clampitt says developers in western North Carolina have more expenses than those in the flatlands because it’s mountainous here. 

“Contractors that come in there that want to take and develop lands, they’ve got a double whammy if they’ve got impact fees and they’ve also got construction costs.  And this is an idea to be able to take and encourage growth throughout North Carolina.”

Cities and towns are not happy with the proposal.  Here’s Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer.

“That displaces the cost onto the rest of the taxpayers in that city or county and that is why local governments oppose these kinds of limitations, which tie the hands of local government to be able to pay for the needed expansion of infrastructure, whether it’s water, sewer, roads, whatever the case may be.”

Clampitt: “When you’re having a change to something, it seems to be the first straw that everybody grabs at, is talking about raising taxes, etc to compensate for a loss of revenue.  But the thing about it is, we need to be good stewards of the revenue we’re getting and to quote the phrase from Ronald Reagan, we don’t have a revenue problem, what we have is a spending problem.”

The bill specifically names a number of towns in the Triangle but also says NO county or city could impose such a fee.  Its impact on western North Carolina is unclear.

Manheimer: “We’re doing an analysis to see how this bill potentially impacts Asheville.  I don’t know that we have a fee that we call an impact fee, but there might be tap fees or other fees that might  fall under this broad definition.  So we’re taking a look at that.”

The bill’s next stop is the House finance committee.  

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