The Planning Commission has recommended substantially lower fees for developers building affordable housing on expensive land.
The commission voted 4 to 1 Wednesday to waive parks fees, which are based on land value. Instead, residential developers will pay "mitigation fees," based on a project's assessed valuation.
"The policy will encourage residential development in the city by keeping fees down that are ultimately just passed on to homeowners," Mayor Fred Voss said.
City Manager Judy Kelsey said the recommendation was prompted by a controversy in November over fees for a project proposed by former Councilman Bernie Svalstad.
Parks fees for Svalstad's 57-unit project at Brookhurst Street and Slater Avenue would be about $269,000. Mitigation fees would be about $69,000. The city waived the parks fees and agreed that Svalstad's company would pay the lower fee.
Currently, the Planning Department can levy either type of fee on residential developments, Kelsey said. But the new recommendation makes the lower fee automatic for residential development.
The mitigation fee also can be levied against commercial and industrial development. That money is used for improvements throughout the city, Building and Planning Director Clinton Sherrod said. The parks fee is used exclusively for recreational facilities.