Wednesday, 27 June 2012 01:11

Jackson approves traffic fee loan to finish Prospect Drive

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Amador County – Jackson City Council voted 5-0 Monday to approve a Regional Traffic Mitigation Fee Program oversight committee’s approval of a loan of $200,000 in fee program funds to Sutter Creek’s Prospect Drive realignment project.

The Council also voted approval of impact fee changes in the program to increase single-family home fees, and decrease high-traffic commercial fees.

Manager Mike Daly said the changes were requested by the Amador County Transportation Commission in its annual report of the Regional Traffic Mitigation Fee program. The report noted that the program collected $123,714 in 2010-2011, which Daly said is the smallest amount it had ever collected.

Daly said the traffic impact fee program had funded two projects, in Jackson, including parking at Main Street and Highway 49/88 where Mel & Fayes used to be, one of the first projects funded by the local program. It also paid 50% of the Mission Boulevard extension. He said the loan would come from traffic impact fee funds approved for the extension of Sutter Street in Jackson, and Ione’s West Ione Roadway Improvement System. The total loan to Sutter Creek project would be $250,000, and would be repaid as a top priority.

Councilwoman Connie Gonsalves said the Bowers Drive intersection with Ridge Road was the poorest planned intersection of the county. She said: “Has anyone had talked to Caltrans about how messed up it is?”

ACTC member, Councilman Keith Sweet said the intersection was done in that manner so Sutter Creek could get the Walgreen’s. Sweet said it was not done properly because Gold Rush was not built yet, and it was agreed by all that it was a bad intersection.

Gonsalves asked why they did not leave the single-family impact fees the same and just decrease commercial fees. Sweet said an appeal of fees by a pizza restaurant in Martell argued that it was exceptional to McDonald’s because the latter drew traffic from Highway 49, but the pizza place argued that it would generate traffic from inside the shopping center. Sweet said ACTC spent the last year putting together an appeals process, and decided to keep a broader list of use types for fees to reduce appeals.

Councilman Wayne Garibaldi said the fees are too high and developers are seen as having big pockets, but a $50,000 impact fee is too large. He did not want to drive away businesses because of large traffic impact fees.

The council voted to change the current high-volume retail traffic impact fee from at $6,080 to $3,344 per 1,000 square feet; and approved the single-family impact fee increase by $838 to $3,878 per home. Amador County and four other city members of ACTC must ratify the rate change.

Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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