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Park impact fees to increase for the first time in nearly 20 years

Costs apply to new development
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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City council voted Monday night to raise park impact mitigation fees on new homes for the first time in nearly 20 years to $5,108 for each detached single family residence. Newly developed attached single-family residences will now pay $3,474, while mobile homes will pay $3,882 and multi-family residences will pay $3,016. The fees will take effect in 60 days. Since 1993 the fee has been $1,073.28 for all types of homes, which is 96 percent below average when compared to surrounding areas, according to Scott Holbrook, a member of the Auburn Recreation and Park District board. After completing a nexus study, the district proposed increases starting at $4,219 for multi-family homes, up to $6,849. Three of the five council members approved the fee increase, but not for the full amount suggested by the district. With the last major development, Baltimore Ravine, projected slated to take place in city limits already approved, some council members said they were concerned with the impact of the fees on home prices. The development is projected to include 725 new homes and 1,769 new residents in Auburn. Members of the recreation district board said the amount of increase was carefully studied and necessary to provide all residents with adequate parks and recreation services. Park impact mitigation fees can be used to build new facilities or expand current facilities to accommodate new demand resulting from development. The monies can?t be used for operations or staff salaries. Mayor Kevin Hanley voted against the increase that was proposed, along with councilwoman Bridget Powers. ?This does affect the price of homes for people that want to settle on Baltimore Ravine,? Hanley said. He added that he didn?t think a thorough enough plan was laid out for what city residents would receive through the increase in fees. Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby said while he wasn?t for the full increase as proposed, the compromise would serve residents well. ?It?s too a big a jump because the council for 20 years had not done anything to improve the situation,? Kirby said. ?The parks are dramatically impacted. The facilities are very old and they are very, very tired.? Bob Snyder, Auburn city planning commissioner, said the impact of the fee increase would ultimately be passed on to homeowners. ?A $6,000 increase to the cost of a house will squeeze out certain families,? Snyder said. ?I propose the fees should be lower.? Several members of the district?s board spoke in favor of the fee increase. Gordon Ainsleigh, a member of the board of directors, said it was time to raise Auburn?s park impact fees in accordance with other areas. El Dorado Hills is the highest at $10,000 per new home, while Placer County charges just over $4,000 per new home. ?Auburn would be by far the lowest park fee in the whole area,? Ainsleigh said. ?Do you really want your parks to be the ?less-goods? of all those towns?? Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcounrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.