Friday, November 30, 2007

Raleigh Mayor Wants to Raise Development Fees

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and his newly elected allies on the city council campaigned on promising to raise impact fees on new residential construction in Raleigh. Meeker has now delivered on that promise and proposed that his new city council double impact fees on a house of 2,500 to 2,700 square feet, raising them from $1,200 to $2,500. Meeker said the higher fees are needed to help finance roads and parks and other necessary infrastructure.

Naturally, developers will pass the costs on to new home-buyers and demonize the mayor and the council as "anti-growth."

We can appreciate the bind that Raleigh and other N.C. cities are in, trying to pay for the infrastructure to service whole new subdivisions. They have relied primarily on property taxes, but continuing to jack up taxes on every home-owner while many of the expenditures are going to accommodate new development doesn't seem entirely equitable. Making developers pay for the expense of new development -- schools, sidewalks, roads, parks, water & sewer mains -- seems fair.

Though ... if we were Meeker, we would worry a little about the politics of taking this move at this time, imposing a substantial new drag on housing sales while the housing market is already in a slump.

Time will tell.

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