Fort Collins: Council Poised to Increase Capital Expansion Fees

On May 16, the Fort Collins City Council voted 7-0 to pass an ordinance on first reading to increase capital expansion fees (CEFs), which are charged for new residential and commercial/industrial developments to “make growth pay its own way.” Fort Collins began charging a transportation CEF, previously known as the street oversizing fee, in 1979 and created the other CEFs (police, fire, community parks, neighborhood parks and general government) in 1996. The fee methodology had not changed substantially over the years but the fees had been increased routinely for inflation.

To ensure the fees adequately pay for new growth, staff had spent several years developing a new fee methodology. They presented the Council with two options. The first option would increase the CEFs for residential development 25 to 58 percent per unit, depending on the size of the home. Option two would increase the CEFs one to 28 percent, again depending on the size of the home.

Ultimately the Council chose option two, after intense lobbying by the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS®. Both groups expressed lukewarm support for option two, seeing it as less egregious than option one. As a comparison, the total fees for a home between 701 and 1,200 SF in size in option one would total $12,829 while the total fees for a home of the same size would amount to $10,303 according to option two. However, both groups continued to voice concern regarding the impact of the CEFs on housing affordability.

The Council will consider the ordinance again on June 6. It remains to be seen if the majority will stand with the ordinance passed on first reading, given some of the concerns raised on May 16.

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