Perdita Holtz, planning systems coordinator for Orange County, said the school impact fee gathers funds for schools to help deal with the expanding amount of students in Orange County.
The fee is applied only to residential development for new single-family and multifamily housing, she said. The maximum school impact fee for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools varies by the number of bedrooms in a new home.
She said the fee applies to a plot of land, so rebuilding or moving into a preexisting house will not require the fee.
However, Holtz said the maximum fee hasn’t ever been reached.
“What these numbers really boil down to is the number of students that are coming from those types of housing units,” she said.
Board of Aldermen Member Jacquelyn Gist said the fees could deter middle-class families from building homes in Carrboro. An estimate of the fees showed that fees could add up to nearly $20,000 before building can begin.
“That truly is more than the house my parents bought in 1962, which was a 14-room house,” she said. “That’s $20,000 before you put a stick in the ground.”
Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Board of Aldermen member, said she was focused on protecting older neighborhoods.
“What’s important about the older neighborhoods in Carrboro is that they are affordable,” she said. “I’m very concerned that what we’re seeing is that it’s in the best interest of someone to knock down an affordable home ... they can get around some of these fees.”
The action item on the maximum supportable school impact fee study was to receive the report and provide feedback for the Orange County Board of Commissioners.
The second item discussed was the possible establishment of a stormwater utility enterprise fund.
Nate Broman-Fulks, assistant to the town manager, said a stormwater utility fund could help combat storm intensity and predictability, meet challenges with growth and maintenance and meet federal and state mandates.
The Board approved a resolution letting the town manager allow the town and Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools to utilize significant fiber optical infrastructure assets to interconnect their respective facilities, buildings and other interests, at no cost to Carrboro.
“We talk affordable housing until we’re blue in the face,” Gist said.