2016 Development-Related Impact Fees & Excise Tax Study

Throughout 2016, the Boulder Chamber has been representing the voice of the business community in the context of the City of Boulder’s 2016 Development-Related Impact Fees and Excise Tax Study. Boulder Chamber staff was appointed to the study Working Group and sought to address concerns related to economic impacts related to fee and tax increases.

To learn more about the study and review the materials produced thus far, visit the City of Boulder’s Development-Related Impact Fees and Excise Tax Study on the city’s website.

Through a series of Study Sessions, the Boulder City Council has been considering significant increases in impact fees charged on new commercial development to pay for community impacts and related infrastructure costs. While the Boulder Chamber acknowledges periodic adjustments to these fees are appropriate based on our population growth, we always advocate for sustainable and measured adjustments to be made that meet the need of our community. After all, raising fees and taxes are often passed on to the end user – tenants, customers and residents.

Raising the fees has the Chamber’s utmost attention, especially since one of the scenarios Council is considering include nearly tripling the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee from the current $9.53 per square foot on new development to as much as $35 per square foot. A Public Hearing will be taking place on September 20 for Council make its decision. View the last Study Session presentation.

We are pleased at the information that the City that staff has provided throughout this study. In particular, they provided helpful comparisons of the impact fees and excise taxes that new development covers in surrounding communities and peer cities. Most of these comparisons demonstrate the relatively high costs Boulder imposes on new development.

Prior to making any decisions, the Chamber continues to advocate that:

1. It is imperative to understand the economic benefits of new residential and commercial investments before landing on a final assessment of the infrastructure gaps that impact fees and excises taxes are intended to address;

2. It is clear that new residential and commercial development already is paying significantly higher costs than in surrounding communities and peer cities, which has implications for Boulder’s long-term competitiveness and can negatively impact the achievement of other important City of Boulder goals, like need for affordable workforce housing options;

3. It is inequitable to impose the full cost of addressing Boulder’s long-term affordable housing goals on the backs of new residential and commercial development, particularly as there are many other low or no cost optional strategies for achieving those goals.

To see the input provided by the Boulder Chamber throughout the study you can review the letters and comments that we submitted regarding the 2016 Development-Related Impact Fees & Excise Taxes Study:

March 2016 Letter to City Council
Development Study – Boulder Chamber Feedback (These comments  were included in Council’s June 14 Study Session Packet.)

We will be posting more information regarding our formal position and how you can help convey the business community perspective.

Read the recent article in the Daily Camera which provides more details.

If you have any questions, comments or want to know how to engage, please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Public Affairs, Andrea Meneghel, andrea.meneghel@boulderchamber.com or 303-938-2077.