June 20, 2019
Town Considers Fee on Commercial Development
Since 2015 the City of Lafayette has imposed an affordable housing impact fee for residential development. Over time, that fee has risen from 30 cents per square foot to $1.00 per square foot. Now, staff is proposing a new fee on commercial development of $1.00 per square foot.
The fee was recommended by the Livable Lafayette Task Force, which was convened by City Council in 2016. The Task Force recommended both an increase in the affordable housing residential impact fee and the newly proposed fee for commercial development.
According to a staff memo prepared for the City Council meeting on June 18, “Staff has found that non-residential development is associated with the generation of new jobs, which at various levels, including low- or moderate-income levels, decreases the amount of housing availability and affordability. Staff has also found that the number of affordable housing projects the City is working towards has exceeded initial expectations, while the costs of the projects continue to rise.”
The Town purchased 24 acres on the east side of town in 2016, known as Willoughby Corner. This project is a partnership with the City, Boulder County, and Boulder County Housing Authority to build an estimated 400 affordable residential units. The City is responsible for the purchase price, $3,495,000. Fritz Sprague, the City Administrator, says the Council believes that the proposed commercial fee will help defray the cost of that project, as well as future ones.
He also said that the Town will conduct a comprehensive impact fee review and assessment later this year. “If changes to the fee are necessitated, namely increases, staff will present that in a future resolution or ordinance.” The ordinance passed first reading easily; the public hearing will likely be held on July 2.
Note: Lafayette last week finalized the city’s Nine Mile Corner pact with Erie (https://tinyurl.com/y4sas8l6) freeing them up to initiate a large-scale commercial site of their own at the southwest corner of U.S. 287 and Arapahoe Road. In comparison, Boulder’s “linkage fee,” charges commercial development between $12.18 to $18.27 per square foot, depending on the type of use.