Mon, Dec. 09

Camp Verde impact fees now look like a smokin' deal

They were fighting words at the time, but five months later it's looking like Camp Verde voters got one heck of a deal on the impact fees approved in the March municipal primary.

The voter-mandated development fees in Camp Verde range from $2,627 for a new single-family home to as much as $1,648 per 1,000-square-feet of commercial space. The impact fees in Camp Verde are included in the regular building permit fees already assessed by the town. They are earmarked for the "capital facility service demands" of the police, library, and parks and recreation departments and for municipal facilities and equipment.

Camp Verde got a smokin' deal.

Last week, the Cottonwood City Council gave its nod to the first reading of an ordinance that will establish impact fees for water and wastewater connections associated with new development. These fees range from a low of $5,843 for a typical single-family home. The fee jumps to $14,609 for a 1-inch meter, unless it is used to service a mandated residential sprinkler system. At the top end of the scale, commercial meters can range from $29,218 to $146,089.

Such fees always will be controversial. For every argument in their favor, you can hear an equally compelling opposing view as to why impact fees are just another form or taxation and an infringement of the Fifth Amendment prohibition on the taking of public property.

It bears emphasis that all such arguments have been hashed out in both state and federal courts. The courts have repeatedly determined that impact fees represent a legitimate form of land use regulation.

Get used to it. Impact fees are here to stay. If you never plan to build a new home or only purchase homes already built, you'll never have to worry about paying these fees. Impact fees are assessed on the premise that growth must pay itself. Which, in Camp Verde, is now quite a bargain.

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