On Monday, September 28st, Alpharetta City Council approved the proposed Impact Fee Ordinance update. James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Council for Quality Growth was in attendance at the meeting. James Touchton provided public comment to City Council members urging them to carefully consider the broader impact the new fees will have on new as well as existing residents. The approved ordinance imposes the maximum fee allowable by state law, which is an increase from $1,940 to $6,689 per each new residential unit. The Council for Quality Growth looks forward to continuing to work with City of Alpharetta staff and Councilmembers as the new ordinance is implemented to ensure that it continues to support and encourage quality growth and development in the City.
During the public hearing, Touchton raised the following concerns to City Council:
- The Ordinance is based on the Ross + Associates Impact Fee Report, which specifically states that the numbers presented are intended to “establish a ceiling,” where the impact fees calculated are the Maximum Allowable fees by State law, not necessarily recommendations for reasonable fee amounts based on development trends in the North Fulton and Greater Atlanta Metro Region.
- The Council recommended considering a reduced Parks and Recreation Impact Fee that will allow the City to generate funding for prioritized park improvements, but avoids imposing a greater cost burden on residential developers and new residents.
- According to the proposed Capital Improvements Element, there is almost $100M worth of planned Parks and Recreation improvement projects including 66 acres of park land and facilities ranging from botanical gardens to playgrounds. According to the Ross +Associates report, only $50M of parks improvements can be funded through Impact Fees, and more importantly, Impact Fee revenue CANNOT be used to fund the maintenance, operations or replacement of deteriorated facilities. How will the upkeep of these new public parks, trails and facilities be managed and funded?
- By charging the Impact Fees at the Maximum amount, which is now some of the highest fees in the Atlanta region, the City and existing residents are obligated to allocate the additional funding to follow through with the entire plan implementation as well as maintenance and operations of all new and existing facilities.
- The Council for Quality Growth is concerned that the adoption of these maximum fees, which is an increase from $1,900 to almost $7,000, places an unequal cost burden on the residential development community and new residents for these public amenities that provide equal benefit to existing and new residents.