Despite a strong protest by the Weber Basin Homebuilders Association, the City Council has adopted a road-impact fee of up to $750 per new house.

The fee will begin in June 1992 and raise money for new road construction that is required by the city's rapid growth.The council vote Thursday night was 3-1, with only Councilman Legrande H. Simmons voting against the fee.

J. Scott Carter, city planning and zoning director, said the city has dozens of new road projects on its wish list, with a total cost of about $19.5 million. He expects the impact fee to generate $300,000 to $400,000 a year. The impact fee will not be used for road maintenance, only for new construction.

Fees will increase in 1993

The impact fee will be $250 per single-family residence constructed in the city after May 31. That fee will increase to $500 at the end of 1992 and to $750 on June 1, 1993.

Business development and apartments will have their own fee schedules (see accompanying box).

Homebuilders oppose fee

Roger Nielsen, president-elect of the Weber Basin Homebuilders Association, and several other builders attended the meeting and voice strong opposition to the impact fee.

Nielsen said he favors alternatives to funding for new road construction. He doesn't feel that targeting only new residents of the city accurately reflects those who have caused all the traffic problems.

"The tax will not hurt homebuilders," Nielsen said. "It's the homeowners who will feel the shock."

Several other homebuilders said the fee alone would disqualify some people from ever being able to own a home. One builder said the cost of the impact fee, included in a 20- or 30-year mortgage, would multiply itself many times.

Other costly building rules

Another builder said the impact fee is especially alarming because come Jan. 1 several federal and state regulations already are going to make building a new home much more expensive.

For example, homebuilders will have to meet new building codes that will require more efficient furnaces and water heaters, in addition to having to install smoke detectors in every bedroom. New laws like these will add about $2,000 to the cost of an average new home.

Another homebuilder challenged the City Council to make sure that no exceptions to the fee when new businesses express interest in building in the city if the price is right.

No alternatives found

Council members said the impact fee has been studied for 18 months and there are no alternatives available other than to restrict growth in the city or raise taxes.

"I can sympathize, but if we don't adopt this, the entire city will have to have taxes raised," Councilwoman Lyndia Graham said.

Councilman Robert Stevenson said the city has to plan for the future. He said longtime residents have been paying taxes for many years, which has helped build roads that new time residents use for free.

"In the long run, this will make us a better community," he said.

Water fees also increase

Later in the council meeting, a resolution was approved that updated the city's water connection fees to correspond to increased prices. The city has not raised water connection fees since 1980.

The cost of basic hookups will increase from $750 to $850. Other related water fees will increase, and an additional $400 will be charged to West Layton residents who live inside a special water improvement district.



Who'll pay, and how much

A fee on new construction in Layton wwill raise money for road construction. The road-impact fee begins in June 1992 and two scheduled increases by June 1993 will bring costs to:

Single-family residence $750

Mobile-home $455

Fast-food restaurant $2,056

Bank $2,212

Conveince store $2,962

Basic water-connection fees will increase from $750 to $850.