CHANNAHON — Those who want to develop land in Channahon will be getting a financial break courtesy of the village board, but at the expense of the school and fire protection districts.
The Channahon Village Board last week approved a resolution to suspend the collection and distribution of school impact fees and the village’s capital impact fees for the next year, as well as an ordinance to reduce impact fees that go to the Channahon Fire Protection District.
The reductions were made after requests by the Southwest Suburban Home Builders Association in September. With growth essentially flat the past three years as a result of the recession, association members said they believe a decrease in impact fees will attract more developers and new home buyers to the area.
Since 2005, the number of new construction permits for houses has steadily decreased, village staff reported, and foreclosures have increased.
Channahon has had a village impact fee since 2000, and a school impact fee since 2004, in response to a spike in growth. Both have been included in developers’ annexation agreements. Impact fees are used to help pay initial costs of residents using the services of schools, fire protection, roads, etc., in the period before their property taxes are paid.
Village Trustee Judie Nash voted against the school/village impact fees suspension saying it would be harmful to area schools.
“It costs around $8,000 a year to educate one child,” Nash said, “and there can be one year’s lag time after they start school. . . I voted no because of the potential impact on the school districts.”
Nash added that she believes the village should deal with some of the problems with existing subdivisions before it begins giving breaks to developers to attract new ones.
The board decided the suspension of school impact fees would expire in one year and could be revisited at that time to determine if any new construction is having an impact on student population. Channahon District 17 Superintendent Dr. Karin Evans attended a recent village board meeting to learn more about the proposal and told trustees she understood the village’s needs at this time.
As it is, District 17 has been steadily losing numbers of students for the past few years to declining enrollment.
Fees paid by developers to the Channahon Fire Protection District will decrease from $300 to $250 for attached residential dwelling units and from $400 to $250 for detached residences. Fees will remain at 5 cents per square foot of the total building area for all other buildings and structures, such as commercial and industrial.
The association’s additional request to lower the value of an improved acre of land was approved by the village board earlier this fall.