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Advisory committee meets to discuss impact fees in Savannah

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah’s elected leaders could soon follow the lead of other cities in the state by adopting an impact fee.

Impact fees in Georgia are one-time fees charged to land developers to help offset costs of expanding infrastructure and other facilities to support new growth.

It’s something Mayor Van Johnson said this week that he and others on council have been looking at for some time.

WTOC sat in on this morning’s impact fee committee meeting to see how the discussion’s going.

Back in January, Savannah City Council members appointed seven members to the impact fee advisory committee. That group is tasked with working on an impact fee ordinance that works for both the City and developers.

Savannah architect and advisory committee member, Patrick Shay, says he believes it’s all about fairness, making sure that new developments pay their fair share for the added burden they have on the city’s infrastructure and services they use.

“We just have to make sure that we do it in a way that’s not too disruptive to the development community as a whole. Because developers can choose what communities they invest in,” said Shay.

One concern Shay raised during this morning’s meeting was how an extra fee could affect developing affordable housing, saying exemptions need to be considered to keep new construction from being so expensive that they pass the bill to renters and buyers.

“Affordable housing developments are what developers call thin deals, there’s not a whole lot of profit in them. So we have to make sure they’re not made too thin by what’s being proposed.”

Shay says it’s his hope whatever the city decides to do could serve as a model for the rest of the state.

The advisory committee’s methodology report will be presented to City Council for the first time at the end of June.

The goal is to have an impact fee ordinance adopted by this fall.

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