The Chamber is stepping up efforts to provide input as the city works to update fees paid by developers that have long impacted desirable community growth, housing and critical infrastructure.

The Chamber has long been advocating for change on this front and is doubling down on the effort with a special task force working overtime to develop and advocate for policies that pave the way for growth and provide for needed transportation and infrastructure updates.

Development impact fees are paid by developers to offset the costs of transportation improvements, water, wastewater and other services as well as provide for affordable housing, open space and public art.

But the fees, both as they are now and under the proposed changes, are simply too high – a view shared by the city’s own analysis – and stand as an impediment to completing infrastructure updates and achieving goals for housing and other community priorities.

By making many projects infeasible, the fees stifle residential, commercial and manufacturing development as laid out in the city’s long-range plan. The fee structure also lacks clarity about the final cost to developers, making it difficult to assess a development project’s feasibility or obtain financing.

The Chamber’s Economic Vision has long advocated for more fairly allocating costs to meet existing community needs. This means finding new financing strategies to meet those needs rather than imposing the costs through fees and levies on development or new and expanding businesses.

The Chamber convened a special task force in November to study the issue and provide recommendations. Meeting weekly until the issue comes before the City Council in March, the task force is participating in developer roundtable discussions and city presentations, reviewing current fees and staff reports, and gathering data on fee programs throughout the county and beyond.

“Our task force members have rolled up their sleeves and are diving right in so that the Chamber can  offer constructive recommendations from a business perspective,” said Charlene Rosales, the Chamber’s Director of Legislative Affairs.

Those recommendations will address the fees’ impact on the feasibility of development and how to fairly allocate costs according to impact. Look for updates at slochamber.org as work progresses.