Larger houses may mean larger fees


Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says builders of bigger homes should pay bigger impact fees for new streets.

"Typically a house that has a three car garage and has five or six bedrooms tends to have more drivers than a house with a single car garage and fewer bedrooms," Meeker said.

In Raleigh, builders of all new homes currently pay the same road fee -- $528. That's regardless of the home's size.

But the new schedule would almost double all road fees and triple the fees for homes over 3,000 sq. ft.

"I have just not seen a study that shows that whether your house is 2,000 sq. ft. or 3,000, that you drive less miles than a house that's smaller or bigger," Tim Minton, Wake Homebuilders Association, said.

Home builders point out Raleigh's impact fees just increased two years ago. Many builders are already hurting from a housing slump.

"Right now with the housing market in flux, it's not a good time to be talking about raising fees," Minton said.

City leaders say Raleigh's current impact fees pay only 15 percent of the true cost to build new roads. The fee increase would still collect only 30 percent of the cost to pave.

"Obviously, growth has not been paying its fair share," Thomas Crowder, Raleigh City Council member, said. "That burden has been placed on the taxpayers."

Crowder says he would raise impact fees even higher if he could. But for now, the council will target the biggest homes for the biggest fees.

The city council is also looking at raising a parks fee by 75 percent. Public hearings on the issue will take place in March or April.

The fee hike on builders could go into effect as early as July.

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