Goose Creek considering raising impact fees for developers to manage growth

posted by Alexis Simmons, Reporter/MMJ - 

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) -

Goose Creek City Council is considering increasing the cost of impact fees developers have to pay to build homes and businesses in the city.

The fees help pay for things like fire service, police officers, new equipment ,recreational facilities, infrastructure improvements and more.

The population of Goose Creek has changed drastically and it's now the 8th largest city in the state.

The new Mayor of Goose Creek Greg Habib says growth should help pay for itself.

Dave Turner has lived in Goose Creek for four years.

"The amount of people coming here is tremendous and the infrastructure is not keeping up with that and we're not seeing the roads get improved," Turner said.

Candace Cramer who has lived in Goose Creek for 28 years says the growth is too much for her.

"I don't like it. I moved here when there was one stop sign, there was one grocery store, there was on liquor store and there's just not enough space for everything they want to put here and everything is so crowded," Cramer said.

While Goose Creek is changing, one thing that's remained the same since 1987 are the city's impact fees for new development.

"We want growth to pay for growth. We had an unfortunate occurrence here in the City of Goose Creek a few years ago where we had to raise property taxes two years in a row to pay for debt service on a new fire station. We are trying to avoid that moving forward," Habib said. "We still have great needs, new fire stations, new police equipment, new public service facilities and fire trucks and all of those things."

Right now impact fees cost developer about $287 per residential unit and $0.33 per square foot for commercial development.

That equates to $330 per 1,000 square feet for commercial development.

Based on an independent study, the city is considering raising those fees.

"We recognize that growth is going to happen. We want it to happen here in the City of Goose Creek. We want to plan for it we want it to benefit our community," Habib said.

The new proposed impact fee would be $3,253 for a single family unit like a house, and $2,440 for multi-family units like apartments.

Commercial, office and industrial development will have fees ranging between $590 and $265 per 1,000 square feet.

"I think it's great, if you're going to do it you're going to have to pay for it," Cramer said.

Turner has a different view.

"Not exactly sure because the cost will always be thrown back on the customer or the home owner who purchases a home out here. So I'm not sure how that will affect us," Turner said.

The mayor says the city discussed the proposed changes with developers who said they were still willing to move forward with projects and pay the increased fees.

"They're not prohibitive and they will again just help us to provide services to the people who are moving here without burdening the people who already live here," Habib said.

There are more than 5,000 homes already planned to come to Goose Creek and those developers will have to pay the new impact fees if they go into effect.

The next Goose Creek City Council meeting is August 14 where the impact fees will be up for a second reading.

If passed it would go into affect 60 days later.

Habib says Mount Pleasant's current residential impact fees are more than double the amount of the proposed fees for Goose Creek.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved. 

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