Blaine City Council votes against changing parks fees

Published on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 by Carissa Wright

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Blaine City Council voted to maintain the status quo – leaving open the option of returning to an older status quo – with regard to park impact fees on new developments during the council meeting Monday, August 27. 

Accordingly, new developments will still not have to pay park impact fees, though the city has the option to reinstate the fee at some future date.

The council had directed the city planning commission to consider two possible options for park impact fees following a public hearing in June. However, after considering both options, the commission recommended that the council reject the change, 
and either continue with not charging impact fees or resume charging them evenly across the board.

The council voted 5-2 to follow the commission’s recommendation to reject the change, with Clark Cotner and Paul Greenough voting to support the amendment. 

Community development planner Michael Jones outlined the two options city staff could explore if the council passed the proposed amendment.

In option one, he said, the city would create three park service areas, and charge differing fees for new residential development in each based on the area’s specific parks-related needs. However, each of the service areas (west, central and east Blaine) require parks improvements, so having separate fee schedules for each would be unnecessary, Jones said.

In option two, Jones said the city could waive fees for new development that served “a broad public purpose,” such as a hospital in a community that didn’t have one. However, hospitals are already exempt from parks fees, and Jones couldn’t easily identify a residential development that would serve a broad public purpose.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Jones said.