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Valley Focus | Agoura Hills

Developers May Get Fee Payment Plan

April 07, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

By giving developers possibly as long as five years to pay the fees for infrastructure improvements on their projects, the city may make building in Agoura Hills more financially attractive.

At its meeting Wednesday, the City Council is expected to approve an ordinance that would allow developers to stretch out arterial street system development fees for as long as five years.

"It does a disservice to a developer to have to write a check upfront," Mayor Denis Weber said Monday. "When they come in here, if they are doing the things they say they want to do for the city, they are writing a lot of checks. If we can assist them in having an easier entry to the city, I'd like to do it."

City Engineer Jim Thorsen said that, if the ordinance is approved, a fee schedule would be negotiated with the developer to determine the payment amounts, although the developer could still choose to pay the fee all at once.

The council also is expected to allow the city manager to negotiate payments with a developer facing less than $50,000 in fees, without taking it to the governing board.

Thorsen said fees are based on the size and type of development, and on the estimated average increase in daily trips a project might bring.

A developer might expect to pay a fee of as much as $9.76 per square foot for a shopping center and $4.18 per square foot for an industrial park, he said.

Although improvements are funded by several sources, including gas taxes and state and federal grants, most of the cost is covered by development fees, Thorsen said.

City officials had considered reducing the fees, acknowledging that Agoura Hills' are some of the highest in the region.

That idea was abandoned because the city is facing about $33 million in infrastructure improvements in the next 17 years.

"We have to entice people to come in, yes," Weber said, "but we still have to take care of our city above all else."

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