Rifle sale: 60% off development fees
Citizen Telegram Editor
RIFLE – To try to kick start all-but-invisible new home construction in Rifle, City Council unanimously gave first approval to an ordinance Wednesday night that would reduce development fees for a conventional single-family by approximately 60 percent.
City Manager Matt Sturgeon wrote in his memo to the council that the goal is to stimulate building activity to create jobs, increase the water and wastewater customer base, local retail purchasing, improve demographic models used by large retail corporations when considering new locations and generate additional utility customers to help the city meet debt service obligations.
The fee changes include offering a building permit with the first water and wastewater system improvement EQR at no cost and the second EQR at 50 percent of the current cost. An EQR is based on a single-family residence with up to four bedrooms and 5,000 square feet of landscaping. It assumes 350 gallons-per-day of water consumption. The current cost of a water EQR is $5,743.27 and a sewer EQR is $6,382.37.
Parkland dedication fees, which are charged to developers in lieu of land dedication for further public park use, would be eliminated, Sturgeon added.
Up to $3,000 in city use tax, collected on building materials used in construction, would be rebated, once a certificate of occupation is issued, and not including taxes specific to uses such as streets, parks and water plant debt service.
While single-family home construction could save around 60 percent in city fees, Sturgeon wrote in an email to The Citizen Telegram on Thursday that multi-family and commercial savings is “more difficult to place a dollar amount or percentage to because of the diversity in the permit characteristics (number of rooms, type of business, etc.). “
Sturgeon said these reductions would take affect around the end of January, but City Attorney Jim Neu noted developers could start the permit process now and would qualify for the reductions, if construction begins next year.
“We don’t think any of these funds will suffer too greatly” due to the estimated reductions in revenue, Neu said. “We think it would be a good, long-term investment in the health of the community.”
A package of new business incentives was also included in the ordinance, which will be considered for final approval at the council’s Jan. 15 meeting.
Highways to become city streets
Close to 1 3/4 miles of highways that run through Rifle would become city streets, under a plan given unanimous support by City Council.
The council agreed to send a letter to the Colorado Department of Transportation, committing to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement next year that would also call for the state agency to pay the city $5.6 million to help with maintenance and improvement projects on the highways.
Under what is called a “devolution” process, or the turning over of portions of state right-of-way to the city, the roadways in question would be:
• Colorado Highway 13 from the south bridge joint to the stoplight on Railroad Avenue. For the bridge portions, the city would be responsible for only the surface.
• U.S. Highway 6 from the city limits just east of White River Avenue to the stoplight on Railroad Avenue.
• Highways 6 and 13 from the stoplight on Railroad Avenue to the Highway 13 bypass intersection.
• The Rifle Creek bridge on Highway 6.
• The service road from just west of Rifle Creek to its termination near the bypass.
The agreement is to also include funds to transfer the existing park-n-ride to near the north interchange of I-70 and Highway 13.
City Engineer Rick Barth said the move would allow the city to redevelop the highways as city streets.
“We could have a street that has the smell, the walk and the look of a downtown street,” he said. “I think CDOT is saying it kind of looks like a downtown street now, so let’s give it to them so they can make it a downtown street.”
The money that would be included is based on an analysis of maintenance costs for the highways over the next 15 years, Barth noted in a memo to the council.
He also stated that the transportation department’s replacement of the Rifle Creek bridge would be different than the city’s plan.
“Their replacement would be for a basic bridge, where we may do a much more aesthetic appealing and pedestrian-friendly bridge with a trail underneath,” Barth wrote in his memo.
Further discussions with transportation officials will begin after the new year and likely take about six months, he added.
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