Bow Planning Board approves public safety impact fees

Monitor staff
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Anyone looking to build new residential space in Bow after June 1 will be paying a little extra to support the new public safety building.

The Bow Planning Board approved public safety impact fees as a way to help pay for the $4.3 million project’s bond Thursday night. The one-time fee for a single-family dwelling unit would be $1,037, and for duplexes, apartments or accessory dwellings, the fee would be $723 per unit. Those figures were calculated based on the building’s square footage and an estimate of who would be using the building’s services.

Community Development Director Matt Taylor said the fee would be a way for those looking to build residential developments to share the costs of infrastructure tied to projected growth. The building was designed to be 27 percent larger than the current space the town has for its police, fire, rescue and emergency management departments.

Officials have said the idea behind the expansion and the fees is that if more people move to town, more services will be needed.

Commercial projects, Taylor has previously said, will be exempt from the fee because although commercial developments do have some impact on public safety services, they have an overall positive tax impact on the town and are not contributing to other tax-based services, such as schools.

The fees were adopted after some discussion of how the fees would work. Taylor said the fee would be collected when a certificate of occupancy was issued, but the fee shouldn’t surprise any builders; they’ll be given notice of the fee when they apply for a building permit.

Betsey Patten asked if the fee would be fair to anyone who moved into the town before the public safety building’s completion, which is slated for the beginning of June. She asked if it would be fair to have that person paying for the current facilities and a facility they aren’t able to take advantage of.

But Willis Sloat pointed out that current taxpayers are already paying for the public safety building’s construction, as part of the bond is being paid for out of the general fund. He also said it was unlikely more than one or two houses could be built before the building opens. The board ultimately agreed the town would start collecting fees for any residential building permits after June 1.

The town has had impact fees before to help pay for $25.9 million Bow High School project, which was paid off last August. Fees associated with that project were capped at $13,000, and Taylor noted the town collected almost $2 million through the fees to help pay for the project.

Taylor said fees will be collected until the project’s bond is paid off or until $738,422 in fees is collected. That figure was calculated off the assumption that the facility’s size could service an additional 2,043 people in the future, he said.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)