Paying for progress: Buda considers changes in commercial impact fee

Changes could be coming to impact fees levied on new development in Buda as city leaders look to make possible updates.

The Buda City Council authorized Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams to execute a professional service agreement with Freese and Nichols to prepare updates for new development impact fees.

Interim Assistant City Manager and Planning Director Chance Sparks said Nov. 15 impact fees are a one-time charge to new development only.

“Growth should help pay its own way,” Sparks said.

Jessica Vassar, a representative with Freese and Nichols, outlined the steps the company is taking for the update. She said the company would project the future growth of Buda and assess the possible amounts of the updated impact fees.

Vassar explained that the process would take 9 months to complete and the city could potentially charge 50 percent or more of the total costs of the potential CIP projects in impact fees.

Mayor Todd Ruge said Buda was long over due in updating its impact fees, but he didn’t want to discourage new growth to the city due to excessive cost.

“I want us to be aggressive enough but not too aggressive,” Ruge said.

Vassar explained other cities have chosen a step approach to impact fees where they start at one point and increase by 5 percent each year.

Council member George Haehn asked if there was a way to encourage specific types of growth to the area with the impact fees, specifically waiving fees for desired development.

Vassar answered that the city could waive or reduce impact fees in order to entice a desired development to come to Buda.

Ruge went a step further into the question of directing future development and asked about charging specific impact fees for specific areas of zoning.

Vassar confirmed the city could direct development in Buda by making one site more appealing based on cheaper impact fees.

Sparks said Freese and Nichols are expected to begin developing updates to the City’s impact fees in mid December with a projected completion of the study in September 2017.

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