• Lubbock City Council Taking Next Steps on Impact Fees

    On June 23, the Lubbock City Council will vote whether or not to “approve the land use assumptions and capital improvement plans associated with the future adoption of impact fees.” It is the next step towards ultimately implementing an impact fee in Lubbock, though what the final product looks like is still up in the air.

    The Lubbock Chamber is part of a task force with other business associations including the West Texas Homebuilders Association, the Lubbock Association of Realtors, and the Lubbock Apartment Association to advocate for a solution that would encourage continued growth in Lubbock while also funding the infrastructure necessary for that growth to take place.

    The task force has three primary concerns that it would like the Council to consider before any fees are implemented:

    1. The organizations support impact fees for roadways, but impact fees for water and wastewater should not be implemented. Water and wastewater are funded by a system-wide enterprise fund where users pay for service and infrastructure through their monthly bills. Adding an impact fee on top of this already existing funding mechanism would place an additional burden on developers and would result in a form of double taxation. A proposed compromise would be to implement water and wastewater impact fees set at zero, but this would mean future Councils could increase the rate without the same accountability afforded via the current process that is underway.
    2. At one time a proposed maximum impact fee of $5,700 per lot was discussed. This would increase the price of homes in Lubbock and may encourage developers to move outside the city limits and hinder future growth in Lubbock. This would also be a potential detriment to a major aspect that makes Lubbock an appealing place to live; our low cost of living. If home prices are driven up through excessive impact fees, it could slow the rate of home buying in Lubbock and price first-time homebuyers out of the market. The Chamber supports a fee structure that keeps housing affordable for buyers and doesn’t stifle future growth.
    3. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the public meetings surrounding the proposed impact fees were shifted to a virtual format and may have been subject to technology challenges for some participants. Given the uncertainty surrounding the economic recovery from COVID-19, it is wise to push back the implementation of any impact fees to both create a more transparent process with the public and give Lubbock area consumers an opportunity to get back on their feet financially before housing costs potentially go up.
    The Chamber has always supported growth in Lubbock. Reasonable impact fees for roadways are a great way to connect the growing areas of our community to the center of town and to fund the infrastructure needed to maintain that growth. But impact fees for water and wastewater are not a wise solution, and waiting to see how our local economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic could be beneficial before implementing any impact fees.

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