Lubbock organizations asking City Council to reject plan including water and wastewater impact fees on developers

Lubbock organizations asking City Council to reject plan including water and wastewater impact fees on developers

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Land Use Assumptions and Capacity Plan, which involves putting three impact fees on developers, could be approved by Lubbock City Council on Thursday; but developers are asking for changes to this plan, including eliminating the water and wastewater impact fees.

An impact fee is a one-time fee a builder or developer pays to keep intact the quality of life of residents of an area. Now, organizations including The West Texas Home Builders Association, The Association of Lubbock Realtors, The Lubbock Apartment Association, and The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce worry if impact fees are put on them, housing could become less affordable in Lubbock.

“The primary mission of the West Texas Homebuilders Association is affordable housing. In keeping with this goal, there are substantial disagreements with the plan that needs to be rectified prior to moving forward,” said the President of the West Texas Builders Association, Bryce Daniel.

The four business organizations said in a news conference on Wedenesday they want changes to that plan including eliminating water and wastewater impact fees and want to continue to pay for those improvements out of enterprise funds.

“The proposed impact fees on a new construction multi-family project are currently proposed at $1,611 per multi family unit. This would total over 400,000 dollars on a 250 typical unit-project.. This level of fee will inhibit the viability of projects and future commercial development across our city- especially taking into consideration the current pandemic we are in and the uncertainty of our future,” said Drew Gray, the Lubbock Apartment Association’s President.

Although developers and builders will be responsible for paying the fee, Gray says that cost will make its way down to renters. However, he is in agreement with a reasonable roadway impact fee.

“Currently, over 50 percent of residents living in rental housing pay over 30 percent of their income in just rent. We do not want -inadvertently- to increase the cost of living without providing a higher quality of living or amenities for these residents.”

“There’s a lot of capacity today on current projects to handle most of the growth and the projects that are under construction today are calculated at the city-level for their current budgeting purposes and we don’t feel that there needs to be impact fees to fund those projects," said Gray.

Drew says people living in new development construction projects could also see their taxes go up.

“We feel that the water and wastewater impact fees that are proposed could double taxation. Currently through your LP&L water bill, you’re paying for water and wastewater infrastructure. You’re paying for the maintenance of that and for the construction of new infrastructure. Well, if we impose impact fees, a homeowner would not only be paying their LP&L bill, they’d also be paying some portion of an impact fee which is a double taxation which we feel is unfair,” said Gray.

Other changes they want to see made to the plan include:

1. Reducing the Capital Improvements Plan to include only projects that can be reasonably completed in a 10-year period

2. Removing paving projects that have already been completed, approved, or agreed to by developers during annexation hearings

3. Updating the population growth chart and single family permit projections to be more in like with historical data and reflect the impact of the new pandemic reality

4. Asking for a two year race period before implementing a paving impact fee due to the uncertainty of the pandemic on the economy and market

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