Supervisors approve RIM fees

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Calaveras County supervisors voted 3-2 yesterday to approve road impact mitigation fees for new residential development.

Supervisors Paul Stein, Tom Tryon and Lucy Thein voted to adopt an ordinance setting a $3,347 fee for each new single-family house and $2,418 for each new duplex, apartment or condominium unit.

Supervisors Merita Callaway and Victoria Erickson, who called the RIM fees as proposed "a crummy program," voted no.

RIM fees will be used to pay for new and expanded roads to accommodate growth. They're not used for road repairs. Supervisors have been shaping the ordinance since early October.

RIM fees will apply only to residential development. Fees will be collected after 60 days, when the ordinance goes into effect, and will be paid when building permits are applied for.

Although the majority of supervisors approved the RIM fee plan, all had problems with it.

Thein and Tryon said the fees might not generate enough money to cover as many road projects as the board had wanted.

RIM fees, first proposed at nearly $5,000 per home and for commercial development as well, would have paid for needed improvements.

But now the county will have to come up with an estimated $75 million to pay for projects planned through 2025. That money will likely be sought through a new tax or parcel fee, supervisors have said.

Stein said he'd rather see new businesses pay RIM fees, perhaps with the option to pay after they're up and running.

However, he said supervisors had to vote yesterday because of a pending lawsuit against the county for not having the fee ordinance already in place. The lawsuit was filed by Concerned Citizens of Calaveras County, which has about 25 members.

"It's not a discretionary vote at this point," Stein said. "It's a vote that's compelled by a lawsuit. I do think we have to act this evening. I do think we have a product we can begin to work with."

But Burson resident Joyce Techel, whose name is on the lawsuit, disagrees.

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