Fire department proposing developmental impact fee for Beaufort

Fire department proposing developmental impact fee for Beaufort

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) - The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department discussed a developmental impact fee Tuesday evening.

The fee would cost developers more money to build within the city.

Tuesday‘s meeting will answer questions that were brought up the last time citizens heard arguments on this fee - like how much new developments will have to pay if it passes. And even though no action can be taken on this fee Tuesday night, the fire department is hoping it clears up any misconceptions the public currently has.

​The City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department is proposing this developmental impact fee to, as they say, ensure the organization can sustain the growth the city of Beaufort is seeing.

The impact fee as it stands now would charge new developments a flat fee when a permit is issued. In residential spaces that would be $305 per unit, while in commercial spaces it would be $600 per unit. The city has tried working with developers on this fee over the last few months.

They have come to compromises like the development of a sliding scale for developers who are repurposing older buildings. The city is making it clear this is different from the city of Savannah’s proposed fire impact fees, which would have impacted every taxpayer, because this only impacts a few people.

“What’s completely different about this is it is based on the projection of future capital needs of the department," said Chief Reece Bertholf with the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department. "And it is only charge to new development and new commercial redevelopment. So it does not equally affect all residents. All residents in the city will not realize this fee, as a matter of fact it will only be a small handful that actually build a new home.”

Those fees that the city takes in would go into a larger fund that would be used for the city’s capital improvement plans such as a new engine or station down the line.

After discussing it Tuesday night, they have decided to put it on the agenda for next week.

The cities concern regarding the fee, if they offset the cost for affordable housing, do they have to match that fee and put more money into the fund. All of that will be discussed at next Tuesday’s meeting when this fee goes on the agenda.

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