By C. Julia Nelson
cjnelson@reporternewspapers.net

At its Feb. 19 meeting, Sandy Springs City Council adopted new impact fees to promote growth and economic development in the areas of transportation, public safety and parks and recreation.

About 80 percent of the fees will be disbursed into transportation improvement projects with the other 20 percent being split equally between public safety and parks and recreation. Fee amounts will depend upon development type, size and current land use. The new impact fees, which replace those adopted from Fulton County, went into effect on March 1.

Council member Ashley Jenkins, Dist. 4, said the fees are heavily weighted to support transportation to make up for the last 30 years of neglected infrastructure around the city.

Fees associated with transportation will reflect the generation of trips to and from a development and will fund projects such as roadway widening, new roads, intersection improvements and sidewalks. Additionally, the fees will support the planning and financing of public facilities needed to serve new growth and development in the area and to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the public.

“I’m extremely pleased with how (the fees have been) done,” Jenkins said. “It’s extremely balanced between new development and not overwhelming developers to the point they won’t come here to redevelop.”

Retail and commercial developments will pay impact fees based on type of land use. Those generating more trips will have higher transportation fees. Among those with higher fees include convenience stores, gas stations, book superstores, drive-in banks and drinking establishments.

Although the majority of impact fees collected will come from retail and commercial developments, some fees will be generated through residential and office development, too.

In a report to council at the Dec. 11, 2007 meeting, Vann McNeill, deputy director of community development, said the fees are consistent with surrounding jurisdictions.

According to Dave Nickles, who served on the Impact Fee Advisory Committee (IFAC), the fees are appropriate for the city and create a feasible and reasonable contribution to the city’s infrastructure on the part of both developers and residents.