Supervisor seeks to lower development fees to save businesses money


Slashing the fees that businesses pay the county to build commercial and residential structures will be on the Board of Supervisors' agenda tomorrow.

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione will ask his board colleagues to support another round of temporary reductions to the county's development impact fees and will argue that developers who had to pay higher rates when fees reverted to their normal levels in July should be refunded the difference.

``Although we are seeing some signs of an economic recovery in our local housing and business climate, the recovery is still slow and uncertain,'' Tavaglione said in a proposal submitted to the board.

He worried about businesses backing away from projects if they're faced with paying the ``full'' impact fees.

In 2009, the board chopped fees by 50 percent to spur development in the sputtering economy. The fee reductions were extended every year, but the last ``temporary'' reductions expired June 30. The board had expected to have a revised fee structure in place by that time. But according to Tavaglione, there's more research to do before revisions can be implemented.

In the meantime, he said, builders are being charged rates enacted during the region's last boom times.

According to the DIF program ordinance, fees can range from a few hundred dollars per dwelling unit to $35,000 per acre, depending on the size of the project and where it's located.

If the board approves re-instituting the 50 percent fee cuts, which would expire in January, Tavaglione will ask fellow supervisors to additionally authorize -- ``in the spirit of fairness and to create a level playing field'' -- refunding half the fee amounts paid by developers since July 1.

The Department of Transportation and Land Management estimated that reimbursements would be less than $12,000.

The board implemented the development impact fees program in 2001 to mitigate the effects of growth in the region. Fees underwrite a variety of public improvements, including street widening, jail expansion, library renovations and the construction of fire stations.

According to the Executive Office, DIF revenue peaked at $36.2 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year but has steadily declined, falling to just over $1 million in fiscal year 2011-12.

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries