Impact fees for Glendale developers on the rise

The City Council this week moved closer to solidifying a new rule that would more than double the fees apartment developers must pay to offset impacts to the city’s parks and libraries as a development boom in Glendale continues.

The council is expected to finalize the new ordinance, which would also impact other types of developers, next week.

For developers of multi-unit projects, the fee would increase per-unit impact fee from $7,000 to $18,751.

The council initially set the rate below what was recommended by a consultant in 2007 to encourage development in downtown, but now that developers are increasingly attracted to the city, there’s no need to intensify demand, officials said.

The proposed increase is roughly $3,000 more than what was originally analyzed by the council last month when they reviewed the issue.

“We artificially kept those rates low to encourage development, that measure of success, if you call it success, has been met many times over,” Councilman Ara Najarian said at a council meeting Tuesday. “I don’t think we should extend it any further.”

Councilwoman Laura Friedman concurred, adding that she didn’t see much of a consequence in passing the ordinance.

“We’re in a good place right now in terms of what’s being built,” Friedman said.

There are roughly 3,800 units in 21 projects either recently completed, under construction or in the entitlement process south of the Ventura (134) Freeway. The development boom is a result of rezoning that permits large developments in and around downtown and adds restrictions to development in established neighborhoods.

The new fees would not apply to what are considered “pipeline projects,” or ones that have already received a preliminary design review from council or have been deemed ready by city staff for such a review.

There are currently 15 pipeline projects that would not be charged the extra fee, according to a city report.

If a developer applied for design review within 30 days of the ordinance being passed, they could have a chance at being considered a pipeline project, said Community Development Director Hassan Haghani.

The increased fees would still put the city behind Pasadena’s $19,477 per-unit fee, but far ahead of Burbank’s $1,777 per-unit fee.

In addition to upping development impact fees for multifamily residential projects, the ordinance would also impact single-family residential, commercial, office and industrial development, but at varying rates.

Single-family development fees would jump from $7,000 to $21,828 and office-space fees would increase from $3.26 per square foot to $7.92 per square foot.

The city spends the fees on park and library improvements, such as the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk and the Pacific Park Pool and Community Center.

For the last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, Glendale collected a little more than $1.5 million in parks mitigation fees and $154,211 in library development fees, totaling about $1.7 million in collections, according to a city report.

The city also requires developers to install public art or pay an in-lieu fee. The Arts & Culture Commission is currently planning how to spend the $1.4 million the city collected from the art in-lieu fees. Some of that money is slated to pay for murals on utility boxes in downtown.

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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