Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill’s impact fee proposal on the way

The first plan for how Fort Mill will charge impact fees, and for how much, should be ready this week.

Joe Cronin, town planning director, told the planning commission Tuesday night to expect a draft recommendation in advance of a special meeting June 2. That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Spratt Building on Main Street.

“The intent (of the meeting) was to be exclusively about impact fees,” Cronin said.

Fort Mill Town Council began looking at impact fees last fall. A consultant outlined state law, and possibilities for charging parks and recreation, fire, municipal and transportation fees on new construction. But the town hasn’t decided which if any fees it will charge, or what those fees would be.

Council voted to have the planning commission bring back a recommendation. The commission will look at all four possible fees and decide discount rates, or what percentage of the maximum allowable charge they will set. Town planning staff will put a draft together for the commission to hammer out June 2.

“We’ll hit the ground running,” Cronin said. “Our hope is to have everything back to Council by their first meeting in July.”

Along with which fees to charge and at what rate, the commission must settle on a capital improvement plan. The plan is required by law to accompany any fees. Fees charged in any of the four categories must go toward improvements in those areas, outlined in the needs plan.

Requests from town department heads led to a $146 million wish list for the next 20 years. Council saw that list April 27. The list is no guarantee for funding the projects, and impact fees would not cover all of those costs even if the town charged full amounts on all four.

In impact fee discussions, council members at times worried new impact fees might scare off commercial development. One developer, though representing a residential project Tuesday night, took a different approach.

Bryan Tuttle, advocating for a rezoning to allow up to 255 luxury senior apartments on Tuesday, used the impact fee cost as a selling point. He outlined $560,000 worth of recurring school tax value and $630,000 in school impact fees generated by the project, and also an estimate on what it would pay toward impact fees if the town approves them.

“This could pay $450,000 to the new impact fees, which it looks like the town is moving toward,” Tuttle said.

The planning commission recommended approval of that rezoning 4-3, and developers next will make their case to Town Council.

It still will take three readings and public hearing to enact the fees. Fees would apply only to new construction, but would cover all types of construction including nonprofit and municipal projects. There has been work in the state legislature to exempt school construction from the fees.

John Marks •  803-547-2353