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City plans to ease weight on developers

Citizen Staff Writer



The Tucson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward on two measures that officials hope will lessen the financial burden on developers in the early stages of building projects.

The votes marked the end of a divisive monthlong discussion of the fees developers pay to cover the cost of expanded city infrastructure near their projects, known as impact fees.

Councilman Rodney Glassman’s proposal to suspend some of the fees for a year sparked rallies Feb. 10 in support and opposition, as well as public criticism from other council members.

The acrimonious talks were followed by the creation of a task force to recommend economic stimulus strategies.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council heard four options presented by the task force and voted to approve another proposal presented by Councilwoman Shirley Scott.

In her motion, Scott asked the city staff to create guidelines for how developers can defer paying most impact fees for up to 10 months for residential development or 18 months for commercial projects.

Developers who accept the deferral would have to contribute half of the interest they earn on the money saved to pay the impact fees to the Tucson Housing Trust Fund or build affordable housing as part of their project.

Before the vote, Glassman questioned whether the move would create jobs and asked Scott if a six-month suspension of the fees could be included in her motion.

“No,” she replied.

The council also approved Councilwoman Regina Romero’s proposal to let developers extend the period they have to start building from approved plans from one year to three for most projects.

The option, which would affect more than 80 projects already approved, is legal under state and local law but has never been used in Tucson, Director of Development Services Ernie Duarte said.

City Council votes to look at plans to postpone impact fees

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