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Business exempt from fee


Some see it as a lure for more business. Others say it's unfair to people who have lived here for years.

Calaveras County supervisors voted yesterday to exempt all commercial development from proposed road impact mitigation — or RIM — fees, which would pay for new roads and road upgrades to accommodate future growth.

Under the proposed fee plan, home builders would pay $3,347 for each single-family home and $2,418 for each unit in a multi-family home.

But supervisors decided there shouldn't be a RIM fee for commercial projects because that might further hinder the already slow growth of new county businesses.

"Calaveras County is underdeveloped next to Amador and Tuolumne counties," said Valeska Gallagher, a representative from the Calaveras County Association of Realtors.

But not everyone supported dropping the commercial fees.

Burson resident Joyce Techel — named in a lawsuit against the county for not already having RIM fees in place — said businesses should be charged because they generate traffic, which impacts roads.

"Am I missing something here?" she asked supervisors. Techel said dropping the commercial fees would mean more money out of Calaveras County residents' pockets.

County Counsel Skip Batchelder said the supervisors' decision won't mean increased fees for new houses.

That's not what matters, Techel said, because any money not collected through commercial fees will have to come from another source — probably through a sales tax, which everyone will have to pay.

That issue has been discussed at recent board meetings — a new tax might be needed to help fund county and state road projects.

Techel said supervisors should make all developers pay RIM fees, then go to the voters and ask them to tax themselves.

Supervisors told Techel that under the proposed RIM ordinance, they will revisit the fee schedule each year, and commercial fees could be added later.

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