New building fees up next for supervisors

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

A new, one-time fee to pay for bigger and better roads in Calaveras County could soon be levied on new homes.

If county supervisors approve an ordinance to establish road impact mitigation fees often referred to as RIM fees an additional $4,900 would be collected on each single-family home, and $3,300 for each unit in a multi-family development. For example, someone building a duplex would pay $6,600.

New commercial or industrial buildings would be charged $4,900 per 1,000 square feet.

If approved, supervisors must wait at least 30 days before taking a final vote to approve the fees.

But that's a big if, Supervisor Merita Callaway said yesterday.

"I would not be surprised if this is continued," she said. "This is very controversial."

RIM fees pay for road expansion, such as adding lanes or turnouts, or for building new roads. They're not used for road repairs.

The Calaveras Council of Governments, which spearheaded studies for the RIM fees, estimates the levy would generate $57 million over the next 20 years.

Caltrans would match RIM fee revenue when it is used for certain road projects.

In a memo to supervisors, Council of Governments Executive Director George Dondero says the fees would hold developers accountable for their impacts on local roads.

"Development impact fees provide a mechanism for new development to pay its fair share of the cost of roadway improvements," the memo said.

Developers would pay the fee when getting their permits from the Calaveras County Building Department.

If approved, supervisors must re-evaluate the fee at least once every five years.

But Callaway said there's bound to be discussion Monday about whether RIM fees are the right way to go.

Some of her constituents have called her and asked why the county doesn't ask voters to increase taxes. That way everyone would share the burden, instead of just new homebuilders.

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