Thoughts on Street Impact Fees

“Street impact fees” are fees the city charges developers for the “impacts” new development has on the need for additional roadway capacity. The city has been studying the factors that determine the amounts of the fees.

Kimley-Horn and Associates prepared this Street Impact Fee Study Report that reviews the criteria that state law requires and allows the city to use, which include growth pattern assumptions and planned additional roadway capacity. It then reports what those assumptions and plans are.

The report does not mention parking at all. It seems to imply that the fees will apply to “units” (residential and commercial) irrespective of the extent to which the “units” increase the amount of automobile traffic.

Imagine new apartments on an existing high-frequency transit corridor with little or no parking. It would add little new automobile traffic, yet it seems the city would charge just as much in street impact fees as it would for a development that added hundreds of cars to area.

It seems the right targets for the fee are not housing, retail, or office “units”, but car storage units. Does state law allow the city to base the fee on parking spaces? If so, what do others think of the current proposals and the alternate idea of basing the fees on parking? Thoughts, @jcrossley, @Chris_Riley, @rogers.curtis?

More info on Austin’s street impact fees is here.

In my conversations, many people think the fees can only be used on automobile-focused infrastructure improvements. If there’s no way to do negative fees for infill/mode-shift projects, I can’t see an argument for keeping the street impact fees. Or, street impact fees should be opposed if that is the case.