Mayor Bieter, ACHD disagree on impact of impact fees

Mayor Bieter, ACHD disagree on impact of impact fees

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by Stephanie Zepelin and KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 1:31 PM

BOISE -- Downtown Boise has recently seen a growth spurt. However, as with most growth spurts, the city is also suffering growing pains.

For Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, that pain comes from the Ada County Highway Department, and it's not exactly a new twinge. Bieter has been at odds with the ACHD for most of his 10 years in office.

His latest criticism centers on ACHD's impact fees for construction of businesses. Bieter says the fees are too high and are killing commerce in the city. ACHD Commissioners say the mayor is wrong.

The conflict between Bieter and the ACHD came to a head at the recent state of the city speech. Here, Bieter gave an example of how impact fees have killed a recent business deal.

"The gentleman represented a client to renovate a building for restaurant -- had the deal almost done, and called to see the quote on what the impact fees would be. And the quote came at $125,000," said Bieter in an interview with KTVB.

ACHD Commissioner Sara Baker said that number is wrong, and said they quoted the impact fees for that project at $54,000.

"The answer that was given to them was total ballpark, total estimate, without any deducts from that at all," said Baker.

However, Bieter said that particular project was not the only time ACHD's impact fees have hurt business and economic growth in Boise. He believes the ACHD impact fees are part of the reason they couldn't fill "The Hole" at North 8th Street and West Main Street for so many years.

"The charge for them was, I know it was more than a million dollars," said Bieter about the Eighth and Main Project's quoted impact fees. "But take a million dollars for absolutely no services at all, there's no work going on on the streets around that project, nor anywhere near them. You really got nothing for your million dollars and that was a real impediment."

ACHD said their numbers suggest impact fees are not halting business.

"In downtown Boise, over the last year or so, there have been like 34 new businesses opened up. Of those, only four have been levied impact fees against them, and that's because they're bringing way more traffic into the building than used to be there under the previous business," Baker said.

Both Mayor Bieter and Commissioner Baker said impact fees are necessary, but the question is are the fees too high or are they justified?

We take this even further on Viewpoint, which can been see on KTVB Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. following "Meet the Press."

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