First things first: What are impact fees?
Some things are best illustrated with an example, so let’s take a small floral business that is moving to Wilson Street in Brewer. Wilson Street is the busiest street in Brewer, complete with high visibility and high traffic counts.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say Wilson Street has a maximum traffic count limit of 10,000 trips/day, as built. Also assume, the daily traffic counts are hovering around 9,995 trips/day. With the addition of the new floral business, the owner predicts the traffic counts will increase by 25, bringing up the new total to 10,020 trips/day. Because traffic now exceeds the Maine DOT mandated limit, the road now must be widened and an additional traffic signal has to be installed to the tune of about $4 million dollars.
Normal development rules would say that because the florist was the business that tripped that 10,000 trip/day threshold, they would be responsible for paying to have the road widened and the light installed, again, to the tune of about $4 million dollars. No business would EVER come to Brewer if they had to pay for infrastructure improvements in its entirety!
Because Brewer means Business, we do things a little differently (would you expect anything less?!). What we do is spread the amount of impact fees over many different businesses so it’s not the “last-in” business who drew the short straw that bears the entire burden. This one-time payment for your share of these improvements is called “impact fees.”
How is the impact fee income used?
Impact fees are designed to offset the “impact” of additional development (within certain geographic parameters) on the municipality’s infrastructure and services; this may include the City of Brewer’s water and sewer network, transportation and roadway improvements.
What factors determine the amount of the impact fee?
In the City of Brewer, the amount of the assessed impact fee is currently based on four components: The estimated amount of traffic generated at peak hour on the adjacent street, estimated amount of water usage, estimated amount of sewerage, and the size of the building in square footage.
How do I know if I’ll be subject to an impact fee?
Depending on the answers to the following two criteria, your business may or may not be assessed an impact fee. The first criteria: is your business located in the impact fee district? The general location of the impact fee district is on Wilson Street (from Chamberlain St. headed east towards Holden) and along Dirigo Drive. For the written explanation of the impact fee districts, please refer to Article 12, Impact Fees in the Land Use Code (For a copy of this ordinance, please visit the City Clerk’s page or call the City Clerk at 207.989.7050).
In addition to being located in the impact fee district, the project must have triggered site plan review. If your business does NOT need to go to site plan, you would not be required to pay an impact fee, even though your project may fall within the geographic parameters.
If you have any questions regarding impact fees or site plans, please contact the City Planner, Linda Johns, at 207.989.8431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The City of Brewer has regulations in the form of Codes and Ordinances that contain requirements, guidelines, and review processes that guide in the development process. The above mentioned example is intended to provide you with an overview of the range of issues that may have to be addressed by you as you move your project forward. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive list, and it is your responsibility to meet all of the requirements that apply to your specific project.