Future development in Galveston County’s biggest city will be subject to fees meant to offset the cost of building and maintaining roads, despite several developers objecting to the move.
“We oppose this,” Bradley Pepper, the director of government affairs for the Greater Houston Builders Association, said. “We welcome the opportunity to sit down with some stakeholders and voice some of the unintended consequences of this. This will affect affordable housing in League City.”
The council on Tuesday, in a unanimous vote, took the final steps necessary to enact roadway impact fees, also called capital recovery fees, which are one-time upfront charges meant to offset some of the costs of building and maintaining roads.
While the specific fee differs based on the type of development, the charges on a single-family home would be about $4,490 in some areas of the city, while on a movie theater it could be as much as $39,082, according to city estimates.
“I’m a little concerned, just as the fees go up, and we’re starting to talk in the realm of $25,000 in fees for a new home,” Councilman Greg Gripon said. “That’s starting to alarm me if I’m a new-home buyer in League City.”
While the council gave the necessary final approval for the measure, only developments that submit a preliminary plat after March 1, submit infrastructure improvement plans after May 1 and infrastructure plans after Oct. 1 will be subject to the new fee.
City officials for several months have been considering road impact fees as a means to help cover the costs that come with fast growth. They already had imposed similar fees on water and sewer connections.
The council approved the measure at a key time for the city’s growth — during the same meeting, the council also gave approval for rezoning 1,747 acres to create a new Planned Unit Development on the city’s west side.
The city’s population in January was just shy of 105,000, up from about 102,634 at the same time in 2017, officials said. But only about 52 percent of League City is developed and projections show that, once fully developed, the population could rise above 200,000, officials said.
The new capital recovery fees divide the city into four separate service areas. The population in two service areas generally to the west of Interstate 45 could almost double, increasing from about 32,900 in 2017 to about 64,500 in 2027, according to a report by Houston-based engineering firm Freese & Nichols.
But four developers, including Pepper and former Friendswood Mayor Kevin Holland, spoke against the measure as putting an undo burden on developers and slowing down growth in the city.