Rifle waives several fees to encourage development
As a way to open the town to new housing construction, the city of Rifle has decided to discount and waive development fees until spring of 2020.
The temporary development fee reductions apply to the residential water system improvement fees, parkland dedication fees and the city’s off-site street impact fee for projects within Rifle’s core area.
The fee reductions amount to $5,743.27 per residential unit (or equivalent in terms of water use) for the water system fee; $2,980.88 per unit for the parks fee; and $7,094.37 per square foot equivalent for the streets fee.
The fee waivers went into effect Feb. 20, and are to remain in place until April 1, 2020.
“In general, the purpose behind this is we saw there is a high demand for housing in the community,” Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist told city council at a meeting in January.
“However, the 30 percent increase in construction costs over the last 18 months has made it more difficult for builders,” he said. “We felt this could be an effective time to encourage a sale.”
Rifle’s fees include water, wastewater, parkland, street impact, use tax and more.
“Well, I am very interested to see how this might work out,” Mayor Barbara Clifton said at that meeting.
Rifle Planner Brian Rusche explained that there is a 50-unit limit to the development discount. For reference, the city permitted four units in 2018.
He said the change is targeted primarily for new residential development. “We are looking to stimulate residential construction,” he added.
Rusche added that, if successful, the fee waivers could bring a lot of new housing to Rifle.
While demand for housing is high, there’s still a problem with people being able to afford it, Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Hamilton said. If the waiver program can bring in a few more affordable units, “I like that idea,” she added.