Developers react to school impact fee - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Developers react to school impact fee

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PASCO, Wash. -- For years now that Pasco has been a rapidly growing city.

Acres and acres of new housing have sprung up, and it's meant thousands of new school age children causing extreme overcrowding in Pasco classrooms.

Now, the city council has approved what's called a school impact fee to be paid by builders.

But developer Ron Olin is warning potential homeowners of the higher fees that will be attached on new construction after April 16th.

"So they're getting tax on tax, and then of course it will raise the price of the home because it's going to go up six, seven, eight thousand," Olin explains.

When Olin builds a home, he already pays fees to the City of Pasco totaling almost $7,000.00 Now tack on the school impact fee of $4,700.00. He's dishing out $11,700.00.

"If we can buy lots cheaper and get permits cheaper in another area and the sales are just as good. We can build a home for less money and sell more homes, that's where we're going to go," says Olin.

The Pasco School District is bursting at the seams. The districts population is expected to grow from 15,000 to around 20,000.

The fees will purchase more portables or construction to expand classrooms, but district leaders want to stress this point, "I know people always say it'll never go away, well if we find the space for students or get the space for students, it can go away," explains John Morgan.

That's possible good news for developers. However mMorgan says they need the money now.

"We have to have space to serve those students in their educational needs. Impact fees are not the most attractive of all, but it's one thing that's available to us," explains Morgan.

District leaders say the fee is not enough to build a school. But the board will continue to look at possibilities for a bond in 2013 and a multi-track school year.

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