Earlier this month the City Council discussed moving from a street oversizing fee to a transportation capital expansion fee (CEF). Staff argues it’s time to update this impact fee and align it with other capital expansion fees, all of which are expected to undergo “revisions” (translation – increases) in the near future. Unlike the street oversizing fee, the transportation CEF would pay for transit and other transportation improvements such as bike paths and pedestrian walkways, which is important as the City gets closer to build out.
In general, the City Council liked the idea of using vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to determine the fee versus the current methodology. However, Mayor Troxell and Councilors Martinez and Campana were not happy that this methodology would increase the fees for residential projects, increasing the proportionate share of revenue from residential from 36 percent to 58 percent.
Ross Cuniff made a silly argument that increasing a CEF would not lead to an increase in new home prices. He argued cost is market-driven. This prompted Gino Campana to remind him fees do affect the price of new homes. Ray Martinez pointed out that if buyers could not afford prices in Fort Collins they would buy outside the City, which would defeat the purpose of the fee. Mayor Troxell asked staff to provide information regarding how the City funds transportation capital projects now, saying to implement a transportation CEF without understanding the current system made no sense.
Cuniff argued the City could “backfill” the cost of the transportation CEF for affordable housing projects. Mayor Pro Tem Gerry Horak said the discussion of waiving or backfilling fees for affordable housing should be separate from the discussion. Nothing was finalized since this was a work session but staff did get the basic direction to move forward with the exact methodology to be determined. Staff plans to do outreach and come back with an ordinance for the Council to consider this fall.