Plain City establishing impact fees for developers


Plain City Council recently improved a variety of impact fees, designed to offset any negative effects of development on the village’s infrastructure. Developers will be assessed roadway, sanitary sewer and public safety impact fees. The fees vary based on whether a developer’s project is in the employment center, the darkest color in the northern portion of the map, the commercial corridor, the mid-tone color on the western portion of the map, or a residential area, the lightest colors spread throughout the map. (Graphic submitted)

Plain City Council is working to ensure developers are responsible for their impact on the village.
The board on Monday approved a variety of impact fees, which imposed on developers are intended to offset the negative effects of their projects on the village’s infrastructure.
Prior to establishing the fees, the village contracted with engineering firm Strand Associates to complete an analysis and create a methodology to determine the fees.
The study, which was completed in January, notes that impact fees “should not be used to pay for supplies, salaries, training, repairs or administrative costs.”
The fees also cannot be imposed on a developer to fix issues that exist in the village prior to development.
According to the study, the village experienced “historic growth” since 2000, evidenced by a 51% population increase through 2016.
It states that growth is expected to continue on an upward trend, in accordance with the Comprehensive Community Plan adopted by the village in 2018.
“The existing roadway and utility infrastructure, as well as treatment facilities will be heavily impacted by future growth,” the Strand Associates report states.
The study focuses specifically on how anticipated development will affect Plain City’s roadways and water and sewer systems.
However, Village officials also considered how growth will impact public safety needs.
Each of the three impact fee types – roadway, sanitary sewer and public safety – are further divided by where the development occurs.
As guided by districts established in the Comprehensive Plan, impact fees vary for developers depending on whether projects occur in the employment center, commercial corridor or residential areas.
The employment center is located in the northern portion of the village, while the commercial corridor is in the western area. Residential areas are spread throughout.
The roadway impact fees adopted by council are: $1,007.05 per 1,000 square feet, in the employment center; $2,478.90 per 1,000 square feet, in the commercial corridor; and $823.95 per unit, in residential areas.
These fees are the only that are explicitly included in the Strand Associates report.
According to the study, they were calculated by completing a traffic study at intersections throughout the village then estimating growth based on the Comprehensive Plan.
Afterward, improvements needed due to growth were projected. Then, the cost of those improvements and making roadways satisfactory according to Ohio Department of Transportation standards were estimated.
In contrast, the study does not include a concrete sanitary sewer impact fee because the village had not yet completed its plan for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project as of January.
Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said, once the village had an estimated cost for the expansion project, Plain City staff determined impact fees based on the methodology provided by Strand Associates.
He said staff compared how much of the cost was due to future capacity needs versus modernization upgrades that were needed regardless of growth in the village. Then, he said, a
fee was calculated using the “projected build-out for the community” outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.
Council approved sanitary sewer impact fees at a rate of: $1,020 per 1,000 square feet, in the employment center; $3,060 per 1,000 square feet, in the commercial corridor; and $1,098.60 per unit, in residential areas.
Aside from the Strand Associates study, Cahall said public safety impact fees were calculated “in-house.”
He said the village collected operational data for the Plain City Police Department and mirrored the methodology used to calculate public safety impact fees by nearby communities.
Plain City’s analysis examines how many officers are needed per 1,000 residents, based on the total shifts each officer works per week and per year.
From there, the need for new staff can be calculated based on population growth.
While impact fees cannot be used for salary costs, the study notes that increasing staff size results in capital expenses, such as police cruisers.
It also lists needed infrastructure improvements at the police department, including storage buildings, a car port, fences or gates for security, impound storage improvements and an office for investigations and property.
The public safety impact fees approved by council are: $249 per 1,000 square feet, in the employment center; $498 per 1,000 square feet, in the commercial corridor; and $219 per unit, in residential areas.
The Strand Associates report emphasizes that all funds collected through impact fees must be kept separate from general funds and used “solely for the purposes for which the impact fee was established.”

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