Traffic impact fees to take a dive?

Projects on Union Road and Highway 25 may be postponed, which would lower impact fees on new homes in the county.

In an effort to lower the cost of building and help make it
easier to develop housing in the area, the San Benito Board of
Supervisors, the Hollister City Council and San Benito Council of
Governments agreed Friday at a multi-agency meeting to direct their
staffs to look at alternative ways to reduce the traffic impact
fees throughout the county.
In an effort to lower the cost of building and help make it easier to develop housing in the area, the San Benito Board of Supervisors, the Hollister City Council and San Benito Council of Governments agreed Friday at a multi-agency meeting to direct their staffs to look at alternative ways to reduce the traffic impact fees throughout the county.

The three bodies of government decided – though city Councilman Doug Emerson was absent – to explore ways to reduce the future road construction, focusing on postponing the widening at Highway 25 and Union Road and doing a new traffic impact study.

Doing that would lower the impact fees roughly 44 percent, County Administrator Officer Susan Thompson said.

Staffs will present the documents to each board at a future meeting, and officials said it will be a priority.

Supervisor Anthony Botelho strongly believed something needed to be done quickly to help the economy.

COG officials before the meeting had determined that the county and city needed to charge $23,853 per house for the current year and into the future – a nearly $5,000 increase. The city and county have nearly $166 million committed to roadwork over the next 20 years.

“The reason why we are here is to develop an economic stimulus in our county and our city,” Botelho said “We are not here to just try to lower building cost but to put people back to work … If we don’t do something very bold and lower our cost to get people employed, we are going to be left behind. We are already left behind.”

Botelho called for at least a 50 percent reduction before a study was done.

“Lets direct staff to do something today,” he said.

Mayor Victor Gomez agreed, calling for a postponement of some projects.

“I can understand removing the funding of the projects because some of us are trying to reduce the impact fees,” he said. “I think that we need to make a reduction … and it needs to be done right now regardless if we go forward with a study or not.”

Supervisor Margie Barrios recommended postponing all roadway construction and completely cutting all impact fees – effectively cutting all funding for all roadway maintenance.

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