Development fees generate $2.6M

Since the city began levying new fees on developers aimed to curb impacts on libraries and parks in 2007, $2.6 million has been generated, according to a recent report.

More than half of the earnings — or $1.5 million — were generated in fiscal year 2010-11, according to the report.

The pace of new development had been slow in past years due to the recession and the inability to secure financing. But the city’s development scene is beginning to stir once again as the finance market begins to thaw.

“These fees are triggered with development. When you pull that permit, you pay that fee,” said Chief Assistant Director of Community Development Philip Lanzafame.

The fees can be used on capital improvements at parks and libraries.

Of the $2.6 million, the city has spent about $455,000 on the Pacific Park Pool project, which launched this summer. The new pool was so popular, officials are weighing whether to keep the facilities open longer.

“I think it took a lot of courage for the council to impose this fee on new development,” said Councilman Ara Najarian.

The fee will double from $3,500 to $7,000 per residential unit in January, according to a city report.

Earlier this year, the city began a program that lets developers far enough along in the process pay their fee early in order to avoid the rate hike. A slew of developers have taken advantage of the program.

Among them are developers of a new apartment complex called Verdugo Gardens at 610 N. Central and of a mixed-use project that includes a movie theater called Laemmle Lofts at Wilson and Maryland avenues.

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