Board workshops Impact Fee

While most Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen members simply had questions during a workshop regarding a development impact fees proposal, Alderman Bob Markli said he thinks the proposal should be trashed.

“I’m going to say I’m very disappointed with the Town, with its resources and the level of talent and ability, is even considering such a retrograde, barely legal, discriminatory form of taxation that assumes that development is evil and must be punished and ensure that it will take much longer for the Town to finally get built out at great expense to the landowners and the people who are actually trying to build it,” Markli said during a workshop before the Board meeting Thursday, Dec. 8.

“When you penalize something, you decrease it. What we will see is slower development.

“This thing, at the rate the Town’s developing now, we are looking at a 1 percent increase in population,” he said. “It will take 30 or 40 years. If we impose this tax, it will take even longer to raise this money, which by the time we get around to getting these roads built will cost twice as much.

“So, I think this [ordinance for an impact fee] is a waste of time. We really need to be focusing on increasing our revenues through more viable and equally shared means and looking at how we are spending our money.

“I think we have the resources to improve these roads without unduly burdening one small section of Town, and I think there are a bunch of people here today who share my feelings about that,” Markli said. “I’d like to throw this in the wastebasket.”

Markli referred to a proposed ordinance to charge a fee to developers who are building subdivisions.

Previously, the Town negotiated with developers on costs of improving roads on which developments would be located, but Town staff introduced the idea in 2015 following a lawsuit with one of the developers for Split Rail Farms off Everett Road.

The Town has completed an improvement project to Everett Road, for which a ribbon cutting will be held 10 a.m., Friday, at Everett Road. There are eight other roads off of which there is remaining land that can be developed: Dixon, Union, Boring, Allen-Kirby, Evans and Virtue, Farragut’s Town assistant administrator Gary Palmer said.

The Board could base the fee on one of two different approaches, zonal by corridors or Townwide. Palmer suggested Townwide would be cheaper for developers.

Russ Rackley, a licensed professional engineer with Rackley Engineering, said, “A developer would need to build more houses, creating denser neighborhoods, to pay for the road improvements.

“We would need 5,200 acres to generate $52 million. There’s not that much acreage left. You are not going to get there.”