County reverses on RIM fees

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An ordinance setting road impact mitigation fees in Calaveras County died at the last moment, after a supervisor withdrew her support yesterday.

Supervisor Lucy Thein said she could not approve a controversial RIM fee ordinance because it does not levy fees on commercial developers.

Two weeks ago, supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of a proposed RIM fee ordinance. Supervisors Merita Callaway and Victoria Erickson dissented.

Up for second reading yesterday, the ordinance seemed like a done deal.

But Thein's change of heart killed it.

As the ordinance moved through the county process, some had complained that commercial developers would not paying their fair share of needed road improvements.

Others were reluctant to levy a fee on the developers, fearing it would discourage commercial growth.

"I just feel that businesses should have to put into this for all the reasons people have said," Thein said.

Supervisors yesterday directed the Calaveras Council of Governments the agency overseeing creation of the RIM fees to reinstate commercial fees in a new draft of the ordinance.

Supervisor Paul Stein, who represents supervisors on the Council of Governments' board of directors, said the board should have approved the RIM fee ordinance without commercial fees.

Stein said the Council of Governments might have to start from scratch to come up a new ordinance. It took a year to prepare the rejected ordinance, he said.

"If somebody comes back with something that includes commercial development, I'm not going to support that," Stein said.

Stein said he respects Thein's right to change her vote. But, he added, supervisors could have reviewed the ordinance in the summer and added commercial fees then.

Stein also said approving a RIM fee ordinance is one of his top priorities as chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "Am I disappointed? Yeah, because we've been working on this all year long," Stein said.

RIM fees are to provide money for new and expanded roads to accommodate growth. They would not pay for road repairs.

The Union Democrat
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