Builder fee gets mixed reponse

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By MIKE MORRIS

Impact fees on new homes built within Angels Camp might generate money to cover city services, but the plan is also generating response from people who build and sell houses.

The one-time fee city officials are now considering would mean $1,925 charged for each home built within a subdivision and $1,415 for each home built on a single lot or property within the city. The fees would go toward expanding and improving the city's park system, and boosting police and fire facilities.

"These fees definitely have an impact on the building industry," Jim Carroll, an Angels Creek developer, said. "Basically, the mentality behind it all is let the new guy pay for it."

Council members earlier this week adopted an ordinance in support of the building mitigation fees. An Aug. 5 public hearing on the issue is set.

Ron Davis, developer of Angel Oaks subdivision in Angels Camp, plans on attending next month's hearing. He said he suggests the council explore other ways to generate funds, such as using state and federal grants to help pay for capital improvements and expansions.

"Yeah, we need our parks for our people to enjoy. We need police protection. I agree on that. But why always raise fees? The easiest thing in the world to do is to go to taxpayers and ask for more money," Davis said.

Carroll, who has owned Carroll Cottages for the past 30 years, said his company has been dealing with impact fees since the early '80s. He builds homes in Angels Camp's upscale Greenhorn Creek subdivision in the mid-$300,000 to mid-$500,000 price range.

Many of the people moving into the subdivisions affected by the proposed impact fees are from the Bay area, Carroll said, and the fees are the price they pay to get away from the "hassles and traffic."

"There has always been a debate on how to pay for services," Carroll said. "Some would argue that having the new people in town bear the costs of community growth causes problems."

Kimberly Flaigg, who just opened her own real estate office in Angels Camp Tuesday, said she has never been entirely sure how mitigation fees are brought about.

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The Union Democrat
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