Kane County hopes keeping impact fee discount will attract developers

 
 
Updated 1/6/2022 4:46 PM

Kane County is poised to keep an impact fee discount in place in hopes of continuing to spur commercial, industrial and retail construction.

Some changes in the base impact fee rates may encourage warehouse and manufacturing businesses to locate to the county while shunning burger and fried chicken drive-throughs.

 

The county charges an impact fee on businesses coming to the county to force companies to help pay for maintenance and improvements to the roads and bridges that support traffic to and from the establishments. The fees first came online in the county during explosive growth in the 1990s and early 2000s.

"Development was super hot in Kane County," said transportation committee Chairman Drew Frasz. "Subdivisions were being built. Randall Road was filling in at just about every intersection. There was a really strong outcry from the public that if XYZ company builds this big facility or this 2,000-home subdivision, why are my tax dollars being used to improve all the intersections and roads to accommodate the traffic they generate. That was the origin of the fee."

The county board's executive committee gave preliminary approval Wednesday to keep a 50% across-the-board discount to impact fees in place.

The board created the discount during the Great Recession to reduce the cost of opening or relocating a business in Kane County. If approved by the full county board, the 50% reduction will be in place through 2027 unless the board changes the discount before then.

Board members have the authority to change the fee as needed. Board member Chris Kious has said he'd like to consider altering the fees as early as this spring given the development activity where he lives on the northern end of the county.

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"We're back up to, as I understand it, a very good growth period," Kious said. "I think we should consider (shrinking the discount)."

As it stands, county officials projected they will collect $21 million in impact fees from 2021 to 2030. That includes $1.96 million in the 2022 fiscal year that began in December.

The new fee chart shows the lowest impact fees would be imposed on nursing homes and hotels/motels. The highest fees are charged to supermarkets and fast-food restaurants because they create the most enduring traffic.

In addition to the sweeping discount of 50%, developments that bring skilled jobs to the county may qualify for additional discounts that can cut impact fees as much as 70% in total.

The full county board will vote Tuesday on the impact fees and discount.

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