Savannah City Council to discuss impact fees this week

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 3:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Bringing impact fees to Savannah. That’s what City Council will be discussing at this week’s council meeting, along with listening to public feedback on the matter.

Impact fees are a one-time fee charged to land developers to offset the costs of expanding resources to support the new growth.

The introduction and application of impact fees in Savannah is something we’ve heard current city council members talk about before. Thursday’s public hearing and vote would send a framework of how the city would implement the fees to two agencies for review.

Impact fees are nothing new in Georgia.

Several cities and counties currently have impact fees, including two neighboring counties in Bryan and Effingham.

If council likes a draft detailing how the City would use funds gathered through impact fees to pay for public services and facilities, the plan would then go to the Coastal Georgia Regional Commission, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for further review.

At today’s news conference, Mayor Van Johnson talked about the delicate balance of determining fees for new development without running prospective business partners off.

“We want to make sure it’s something that’s reasonable, something that makes sense, but also something that contributes to the greater community. This council, I think unanimously...many of us campaigned on being able to find ways to leverage development in our community. Heretofore, development occurred, and really no real impact coming back to the city,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

Per state law, the way local governments can spend impact fee money is limited.

If adopted Savannah’s impact fees would go toward projects for Parks and Recreation, public safety facilities and road improvements.

And the fees wouldn’t just be felt by developers, they could also trickle down to home buyers in new housing developments.

“But on the flip side of it, they’re going to be getting a direct benefit by paying into it to have better streets, to have better public services...all that we need to make sure that our community is growing,” said Bridget Lidy, Senior Director for Planning and Urban Design.

There could be certain exemptions, like affordable housing projects or those that will have a big economic benefit for the area.

That’s all still under consideration.