Business groups weigh in on proposed development fee increases

Five Grand Valley business groups oppose proposed increases to fees the City of Grand Junction charges for development — fees the groups say are already higher than those assessed in five other cities.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Area Realtor Association, Housing and Building Association of Western Colorado, Western Colorado Contractors Association and Associated Members for Growth and Development sent a letter to the Grand Junction City Council.

In that letter, the groups outlined the results of a comparison of development impact fees charged in Grand Junction and five other cities. The groups also asked the council to cut in half proposed increases for traffic capacity payment and park fees and forgo any additional fees for fire, police and facilities.

The five groups commissioned the Metrostudy consulting firm to compare the development impact fees charged in Grand Junction to those charged in Fruita, Gunnison, Montrose, Pueblo and Sterling.

According to the results of that comparison, fees charged in Grand Junction are 27 percent above the average on commercial office projects and 52 percent above the average for a single-family residence.

“In other words, we are already on the threshold of being much higher than our comparison cities with no fee increases,” the groups stated in the letter.

The groups said the higher fees could increase the cost of business expansions and housing. Average wages are lower in Mesa County than other areas of Colorado. And by one estimate, only
37 percent of Mesa County residences can afford a home at the median price of $250,000.

The groups also stated in the letter the city derives revenue from development and other economic activity from other sources, including sales, use and property taxes.  By one estimate, every new single-family homes adds two jobs and $80,000 to a local economy.

The groups asked in the letter that the council implement just half of the proposed increases in transportation capacity payment and park fees over three years and review the fees again at the end of that period. The groups also asked that additional fees for fire, police and facility not be implemented.