Hollister council OKs library fee for new development

Head Librarian Nora Conte shows off the logo of the San Benito County Free Library in 2012.

Council members Monday approved a library impact fee for new developments in the City of Hollister.

The fee will help expand library services to accommodate new development, according to the meeting’s agenda.

“I think it’s positive. It’s really a step in the right direction,” said County Librarian Nora Conte in a phone interview with the Free Lance.

Developers constructing the projects will pay the fee. A study conducted by Willdan Financial Services settled on a $544 fee for single-family residential units and $495 for multi-family residential units.

“The County of San Benito recently passed this impact fee, and we feel it’s the right thing to do to present to the city council,” Development Services Director Bryan Swanson told council members during the meeting.

Swanson told council members that the library impact fee is assessed at the building permit level.

Residents who spoke during public comment were in favor of the library impact fee.

“I’ve been on the board of the Friends of the Library for more than 30 years, and I’ve seen how the city has grown,” said local resident Ruth Erickson. “With hundreds of new homes and hundreds of new residents, the library will not be able to keep up with expenses, let alone room for all the new library patrons. The library is already bulging at the seams, as you probably know. The library is the heart of the community, so let’s give it a shot in the arm and consider a library impact fee on all new housing developments.”

The new fee takes effect 60 days after approval.

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