REGULATION: Austin Council to Consider Street Impact Fees at August 8th Meeting

The City of Austin is set to conduct a public hearing tomorrow adopting the Land Use Assumptions and Roadway Capacity Plan (RCP) for a Street Impact Fee program (item 91). In June, the Impact Fee Advisory Committee met and approved the proposed assumptions and RCP. Note: The vote tomorrow is not for the fee itself.

A Street Impact Fee would be a one-time charge assessed to pay for improvements to public roadway facilities spurred by new development.

The underlying concept is to have growth pay for itself, and fund the incremental cost of improvements needed to serve the new development. Street Impact Fees, also known as capital recovery fees, are not uncommon. One form of them is water and wastewater impact fees, which Austin and many other cities already levy.

Just north of Austin, the City of Round Rock adopted a Street Impact Fee earlier this year. According to Round Rock officials, more than 50 percent of cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex have implemented a roadway impact fee, as have the Central Texas cities of Taylor, Schertz, Cibolo, New Braunfels and Hutto.

Currently, Chapter 25-6 of the Land Development Code allows Austin to require dedication of right-of-way and construction or funding of transportation improvements to mitigate traffic impacts of a proposed development.

For instance, traffic impact analyses are required for developments estimated to generate over 2,000 vehicle trips per day.

“The difference is the proposed Street Impact Fee would be more uniformly assessed across more or all developments since many developments don’t hit the 2000-trip mark. A consistent formula based on agreed-upon assumptions would also be used – making the new Street Impact Fee more equitable, predictable and transparent,” explained Liane Miller, a policy and programs manager with Austin’s Transportation Department.

"Very simply," she stated, "you take the cost of all of the projects, you divide it by the growth in terms of new service units – what is the new vehicle miles that has been generated by that growth – and that's what gets you a maximum fee in each service area." 

The revenue generated by the Street Impact Fee would only be used be used to fund transportation improvements identified in the proposed Roadway Capacity Plan (RCP). The RCP was developed in coordination with the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) approved by Council earlier this year but the RCP would be approved by Council separately as part of the Street Impact Fee process. (See also, BG Podcast EP. 36 Feat. Annick Beaudet, Assistant Director at the Austin Transportation Department, and ASMP lead).

If council approves the land use assumptions and RCP, staff will thenconduct a “Maximum Fee Calculation” and calculate the maximum assessable fee. Staff will then present a recommendation to Council regarding the fees in late 2019 or 2020. They will also explore how a new Street Impact Fee will intersect with existing TIA requirements and processes. 

The assumptions/Street Impact Fee Study Report and a map of the Roadway Capacity Plan are available on the City’s website.

The Bingham Group can help you understand the impact to your projects too. Our team has been following this issue for the past few years, and we can put our experience in transportation policy to work for you. 

City Council Meeting – Public Hearing and Action re: New Street Impact Fee 

  • Thursday, August 8, 2019 

  • Meeting starts at 10 AM but the specific time of the public hearing has not been set.

  • City Hall, Council Chambers – 301 West 2nd Street 

  • Agenda item #91: Conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution to adopt the Land Use Assumptions and Roadway Capacity Plan for a Street Impact Fee program.

For inquires and to learn more, email us at info@binghamgp.com

//Tina Bui, Senior Consultant

ABOUT BINGHAM GROUP

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin (TX) based full service consulting firm representing and advising clients on government affairs, public affairs, land use and procurement matters. The firm is certified MBE/HUB/DBE.

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