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Fort Worth delays decision on street impact fees

FORT WORTH -- City Council members delayed a decision on street impact fees while they sort out the competing concerns of neighborhoods and land developers.

"We're obviously considering an issue of great importance in this city ... one of the biggest we've faced in a long time," Councilman Carter Burdette said.

The fees would be charged to new homes and businesses, based on the amount of traffic they're expected to to produce. The money would then be used to build arterial streets to serve those areas.

Neighborhood groups have been pushing for the fees for several years as a way to alleviate traffic congestion in rapidly growing suburban areas.

City staffers initially proposed a series of fees ranging from nothing in the central city, where there are already adequate roads, to more than $6,000 for a single-family home in far-reaching areas. The idea was to create an incentive for developers to build in areas where roads already exist, and eliminate "leapfrog development."

But a committee of developers, real estate agents, contractors and engineering firms worked out a compromise that would have assessed a flat fee of $1,500 for a single family home across most of Fort Worth. The developers said they were worried that the original proposal would discourage new construction.

Burdette, who represents far north Fort Worth, called the developers' proposal "totally inadequate" last week and proposed a fee even higher than the city staff proposal.

The Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods endorsed Burdette's proposal, saying it would force developers to pay for new roads, rather than leave the burden to general taxpayers.

"The residents feel ... that those who are the primary contributors to these problems should significantly contribute to correct the problems that they have generated," acting league president Libby Willis said.

Mayor Mike Moncrief proposed a compromise, a $2,000 fee for a single-family home across the city.

The council is scheduled to hold a workshop on the issue on May 13.

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