City Government

Retired California Developer On Impact Fees

By Dick Evons
Retired California Developer

Growth and the resulting problems it causes are a top priority for many voters in the approaching city elections.

I haven’t heard any candidates offering to slow the growth or protect those who already live here.
Boise and Idaho have been discovered, and are drawing multitudes–just the beginning of the WonderRush, (a personal and family Joy for the senses, more precious and fulfilling than silver or gold).
Financing its preservation must be perpetual by assuring that the “price of admission” to our way of life is addressed, well thought out, and fair.
Essentials include;  Proper Development Fees that fully cover all expenses created by the new residential and commercial building. 

The impact fees to provide  for the required infrastructure such as  roadways, water, sewer, utilities, schools, libraries, parks and proper administration are steps to be required before building permits are granted.  The process must include; effective Traffic engineering, and soil seports, as examples of what we have seen going wrong when not properly addressed.
The last California development project I was involved with, assessed Fees of $50,000.00 per unit for a mixed- use development which included residential and commercial.
Here in Boise, I found that similar impact fees were a mere $200 per unit, thus creating an incentive to overbuild and shift costs from the developer to the citizen taxpayer. 

The results are showcased in recent headlines, quoting current homeowners’ concerns of not being able to remain in homes, they lived in for decades, due to the increased property taxes. Realistic impact fees would certainly serve to slow the growth.
If you  are tired of the traffic congestion, lack of  schools, parks, libraries, due to rampant growth, demand explanations from those seeking your vote for Mayor of Boise.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Our Despot Mayor
    Oct 11, 2019, 5:13 pm

    SAGE words of course! And who would know better than a Developer. Eternal vigilance is what’s missing. Even for those of the Greatest Generation [and I’m not disputing they are] it doesn’t mean the war has been won. No, the fight goes on. And that goes for all of us. Standby while our vote is diluted more and more by those who have been taught we are ‘easy money’ ie. an EASY MARK. One day you’ll no longer be laughing at politicians like Bernie Sanders & AOC. They will own the passwords to your $$$’s.

  2. Boise Impact Fees Do Not Keep Up
    Oct 11, 2019, 11:01 pm

    * In Boise, a developer pays ACHD an impact fee for roads and the city for park, fire, and police impact fees. Permit fees are different.

    * Park impact fees began in 1994 and for many, many years the city only collected park impact fees at a 40% recovery rate.

    * For many years the City did not increase the amount of the park impact fees to keep up with the escalating cost of construction, thus each year, every dollar was worth less. At least now they index the fees each year.

    * The city collects park impact fees on developments in the Area of Impact (non-annexed area), but says they can not spend them on developing parks in this area – they get spent on parks in the city limits.

    * The city has only collected fire and police impact fees since 2008.

    * The city averages approximately $3 million a year in total impact fees – this amount does not keep up with the cost of growth. I am not aware of how much ACHD bring in.

    * There are no impact fees for schools.

    * Impact fees are a major political issue between the city and the Building Contractors Association.

    * There are many ways for a developer to receive credits and refunds of the impact fees based on other conditions and agreements that are allowed.

    * When a developer says they are “donating a school or a fire station” – it is only for the land, that’s it.

    * For years, the City paid for the extension of the sewer system to incentivize development – took this cost off the developer’s plate and put it on the taxpayers’ plate. This subsidy finally stopped, around 2014 I believe.

  3. Don’t forget the city council, three seats of which are up Nov. 5 — half the council. There are some tough choices to make.

    A strong, diverse council can direct and check a mayor. A weak council enables a mayor.

    Growth SHOULD pay for itself, but the details are devilish. We don’t have a very clear, shared vision of what we want the future to look like that impact fees help build.

  4. Beiters Motto
    Oct 12, 2019, 9:40 am

    The more development there is – the more tax money I get – the more I can SPEND!!!

  5. Idaho native
    Oct 12, 2019, 10:51 am

    Mr. Evons, Do your homework! There are impact fees and they contribute to the high cost of housing. For example, for residential developments, the ACHD impact fee is $3,075 per house. There are also local + regional parks, fire response and policing impact fees that brings the total to $4,200+ per house in Boise.
    Mr. Evons, are you aware of the growth impact tax called the “construction roll?” I don’t think so. And, of your $50,000 in California impact fees, did you pass any of that cost on to the buyer?
    Please don’t move here and misrepresent the facts!! $200, shame on you!

  6. $200 per unit! Are kidding? My taxes have gone up way more that that for several years in a row. We need to replace these idiots running our beautiful city into the ground.

  7. I’m sorry, WHAT is the opinion?
    Higher impact fees? Or was it Californians should stay in California and fix their own problems?

    I second Idaho native above. Pretty sure that is how it works.
    Any increase in fees simply increases the housing costs and EVERYONE would gets the relative increase in market value in their existing house. That is called inflation.

    OPINION: instead of impact fees, the state capital gains tax deduction could be removed and the related revenue could be distributed to cities/county/state to pay for increased infrastructure.

    Then the people who benefit from the growth (farmers and investors selling their properties) would be paying more into the pot. Then, when Brad Little sells that sheep land which he has been paying near nothing in property taxes, a bit more can go to the coffers. “Hit the seller, not the new buyer.”

    Let’s use a little bit of their enormous profits to pay for the associated results. Although it may be too late to catch that train.

    “homeowners not being able to remain in homes they lived in for decades,”
    Ha! “Get off my lawn!”

  8. Please explain
    Oct 12, 2019, 5:59 pm


    Please give us more information. I do not think you’re just a flamin jerk. Are you talking about net to apartments? Lot splits?

    There are flippers all over that never get a permit, never pay a fee for adding 2 more bedrooms and splitting a lot. Does anyone ever follow through on these walk-ins?

    Oh never mind, I doubt anyone follows through.

  9. Dick Evons – Excellent article…
    Only those who have experienced growth understand the importance of requiring development to pay for this cost… I suggest legislators change statute and require $5.00 per square foot to be charged on building permits… payable to schools… Eliminate the levies

  10. The way I see it, we need to pull back on the reins of growth. Out of control growth causes more problems than it solves- over crowded schools, traffic congestion, strained police and fire, more administrative costs to deal with it all, loss of quality of living.

    It has happened in every western city. Should we be like sheep and just follow along? Just as important, if not more, what is the long term vision? Without the vision, one day we will wake up and say “oh shitt” we screwed this city up! While we can argue against growth and development, the number of jobs, businesses it drives is truly amazing.

    The people getting paid for construction who are spending in our stores and businesses are your neighbors, relatives and friends. Impact fees need to reflect the demand just as any other product does. Strong high demand impacts fees need to increase annually xx%. I also believe CID’s are warranted for all new subdivisions over xx number of homes. Community Improvement Districts collect local taxes to be applied in that community or subdivision.

    Again, demand warrants these actions to keep the quality that is driving so many people to move here. While the cry is to BUILD, BUILD, BUILD to meet all this demand, what happens if we don’t??? Some of them will go elsewhere and that is not all that bad, is it?

  11. Western guy
    Oct 13, 2019, 7:04 pm

    Not impact fees, but directly related: at Boise airport, near baggage carousels, the largest sign says: Local Real Estate Listings. Really!

    Why does Boise City need to promote growth this way??

  12. Though Provoking
    Oct 13, 2019, 9:24 pm

    Though provoking opinion (link). The great communist State of Cali turned the power off without notice instead of fixing the problems. Their electric rates (+tax) are near 3x what we enjoy but somehow they can’t fix the damn decrepit power grid. A group of people should be criminally prosecuted for such an epic failure, but instead they will be given a bonus and extra paid vacation.

    Bieter is taking us down that same road at high speed. Local governments and utilities make big PR efforts to lower our expectations while also making endless excuses for raising taxes and fees. Boise’s trend is about 20 to 30 years behind most of the big metro areas. In other words we can see the future but our leaders are making exactly the same mistakes.

  13. Your leaders
    Oct 14, 2019, 5:16 pm

    though provoking,
    i didn’t vote for ’em.

  14. We are paying BOTH Elected and hired Public Servants to handle GROWTH? Boise has city planers, city developers, developers on city council, planing and zoning councils all reporting to Mayor Bieter.
    We are paying for a police department to protect, serve and LEAD, yet the BPD can’t even enforce Idaho code requiring license plates on the front bumper of cars? WHERE ARE WE BEING LED? ZEPPELIN!
    Boise’s Fire chief went over his BOND Budget by 100% I’m pretty sure Dennis spent closer to $34 million
    than the $17 million voted for? It’s not that he didn’t have fellow public servants with a background in job costing at his fingertips?! Then he’s sitting on the Boise School Board and GBAD? what the.
    I recommend voters call Ada County or go online and preview your property tax bill BEFORE YOU GO TO THE VOTING BOOTH! IT WILL HELP US DECIDE.
    We can’t allow elected public servants to continually use GROWTH as an excuse for their incompetence of managing the needs of their constituents! WE DESERVE TAX RELIEF. SAME AS CCDC GETS

  15. David Klinger
    Oct 15, 2019, 12:07 pm

    I had the same reaction as “Western Guy” when I got off the plane at the Boise airport on a Wednesday afternoon after a return flight from Warsaw, Poland in September. Directly opposite the baggage carousel at the Boise airport was a display and literature table staffed by two slinky female real estate agents promoting Boise as a good place to relocate to.

    One solution to accelerating growth issues in the Treasure Valley would be to simply turn off the “promotion spigot” by which more and more people are being hustled to move into Boise from California and the Northwest cities. But that spigot will never be dialed back because there is too much money at stake, too much greed by the local growth industry, and too little backbone by local elected representatives to stand up to this manufactured self-promotion by local realtors, the Chamber of Commerce, and even the City of Boise itself.

    The band plays on …

    P.S. Poland seems to be doing a much better job managing its growth than Boise. At least Poland is honoring its venerable history and heritage, not tearing it down.

  16. Property Tax Bill
    Oct 15, 2019, 3:50 pm

    We don’t get to see what our property tax bill will be before the elections, as only the assessment value is provided online. The state tax commission did have a tax estimator calculator available online up to September, but it is now inactive while they work on processing the actual tax bills to come in December.

    The calculator had showed the estimated Ada County levy rate as: .013536330

    With an 18.4% increase in the assessed value of my property for 2019, this calculator estimated my tax to be at least $300 more than last year. This does not include the separate levies and special assessment.

  17. western guy
    Oct 15, 2019, 4:57 pm

    Possibly the 15 staffers in the city’s Community Engagement department are monitoring the Guardian, and will notify the Airport manager (part of Team Dave) about this situation.

    Wanna bet the real estate promoters are not paying any rent?

  18. Frank;

    Your points re: the fire chief are important, although I believe he’s on the board at the Red Cross, not GBAD, and also the school board.

    Keep your eyes on him. He clearly has political aspirations. Betcha he retires from the fire department just in time to get his name on the ballot for city council in two years.

    Close personal friend of the mayor, so more of the same.

  19. Change the zoning
    Oct 17, 2019, 1:46 pm

    I think the city should change all zoning to disallow any vehicle parking anywhere except on the street which will allow the city to write massive volumes of parking tickets and buy nicer stuff for the mayor and his friends with the ticket money.

  20. I’m more inclined to think it will be park anywhere and then let then rot and rust. Tires optional. Yards, streets, driveways, open land.

  21. Here we go, development fees in CA can be $28,000-171,000 per house. And $12,000-86,000 per multi-h unit.

  22. Don't be stupid
    Oct 20, 2019, 4:27 pm

    Local political thieves would love to implement gigantic California style development fees. Problem is several of you seem to think the local polictcal thieves would then tax existing residents and businesses less. Hell no they will do no such thing. The current level of thievery will continue unabated +plus+ the new gigantic development fees.

    Why do you think people like the author of this post and the hordes of Californians are here in Idaho? To escape what the author is putting forth as a bright idea.

  23. Example of Boise Impact Fees
    Oct 20, 2019, 6:58 pm

    Boise City Impact Fees our on the city website. Here is the total for all three – park, fire, police, for a residential unit at 1401 – 2500 Square Feet.

    $1716 Central Bench
    $2616 Norht River
    $1424 Downtown
    $2301 Southwest
    $2673 Southeast/Barber Valley
    $2340 West Bench

    Other size properties, commercial development, and the Area of Impact all have different values from those listed above. ACHD is their own entity.

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