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Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes 2017

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Meeting Minutes

02-03-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

February 3, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal Consultant, The Arsh Group
Vince Frassione Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Tim Caballero Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Stephen Kil, Town Manager called to order the St. John Impact Advisory Committee Regular Meeting on February 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).


Mr. Kil took roll call. Members present: Frank Buck, Shirley Niven, Vince Frassione, Julie Castonaros and Tim Caballero. Staff present: Stephen Kil (Town Manager), David M. Austgen (Town Attorney), Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director, Taghi Arshami (Principal Consultant) and Denny Cobb (First Group Engineering).


Mr. Kil entertained a motion from the Advisory Committee for President. Ms. Niven nominated Mr. Frank Buck for President. Motion seconded by Ms. Julie Castonaros. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Kil entertained a motion from the Advisory Committee for Vice-President. Mr. Buck nominated Ms. Shirley Niven. Motion seconded by Ms. Castonaros. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Advisory Committee President Frank Buck offered the floor to Mr. Taghi Arshami.


Mr. Taghi Arshami, a principal of The Arsh Group, introduced himself to the committee members. Mr. Arshami advised that they have done this type of work in numerous communities as well as St. John. Mr. Arshami advised that the meeting was called to discuss a Road Impact Fee, which is different than a Parks Impact Fee. Mr. Arshami advised that assisting The Arsh Group in this endeavor is Mr. Denny Cobb of First Group Engineering who will be providing a lot of the calculations that are necessary to establish the impact fee. Mr. Arshami advised they will be discussing the legal framework and baseline information in regards to existing conditions as they relate to population, land use, transportation and related types of issues today.

Mr. Arshami defined the Road Impact Fee, being a fee that will be attached with every building permit and unlike the Park Impact Fee, which only was included in residential building permits; this will be included in all building permits; Commercial and Residential. This will be a one time fee and is the first in the area; mostly to accommodate the expansive growth that the Town is seeing.

The fee will remain in effect for five (5) years and must be renewed after the fifth year should the Town decides it is necessary. The fee as suggested by the name would be for roads, to assist with the costs or to reimburse for the cost of the updating of infrastructure.

Mr. Arshami discussed the “carrying costs” which would occur if the Town sought to bond an improvement for the infrastructure. Mr. Arshami advised that the fee is not for operational or maintenance costs, so if an existing road needs new paving, that is not covered. The fees collected specifically have to go towards new capacity projects.

Mr. Arshami advised there are several levels of legal authorities that this fee would concern. The fee is a form of “taxation”, and is considered part of the land-use regulations, and is subject to Fifth Amendment regulations that prohibits taking without a legitimate government interest.

The interest would have to meet “public health and safety criteria” and directly have that link. One of the requirements is what is called Essential Nexus, between the fee exaction and the public health; so that the relating factor needs to be present.

Another case is called the Dolan Case, and that there is some proportionality, between the fee that is exacted and the actual impact. Mr. Arshami advised that at the end of this process, when you set the fee, you need to check to see that it is proportional and does not “exceed” the calculated impact, and therefore that is what is applicable at the end of this process.

Mr. Arshami stated that at the State level, the fee was legislated in 1991, that requires certain processes and methods, and how the Impact Fees are instituted by different communities. The process states that the Executive of the community (municipality) appoints an “Advisory Committee” and that is you. In the case of St. John, the Town Council President is the Executive. By the end of this process the committee will establish an “Infrastructure Improvement Zone”.

Mr. Arshami advised; then you determine the “reasonable impact fee for infrastructure”, and that “reasonable” is when we get to the cost factors. “Reasonableness” is what the State defines as what is a “reasonable estimate”, not an absolute estimated, but a “reasonable”.

State law also requires that the fee is proportionate to the “impact”; similar to the Federal law, and that also has to be proportionate.

Mr. Denny Cobb is going to talk about the level of service. Determining the level of service is important as the level of service must be equal to the actual service that is provided, in the studies that are provided today, and what the State law requires is that you should provide the same level of service for new-comers and existing residents.

Mr. Arshami stated that lastly, is that the Advisory Committee serves in an “advisory capacity”. You will make a recommendation to the Town Council, and the Town Council will have the right to accept it, revise it, amend it; but it is your “certification” that will be presented from the advisory capacity. At the local level, in 1997 the Town of St. John was the first community to start a “Park Impact Fee”, and that impact fee has continuously been up-dated every five (5) years, with the last update in 2013. The Road Impact Fee, once it is approved, and will become effective six (6) months after adoption by the Town Council.

Mr. Arshami stated that many communities look at this as a controversial issue in regards to costs and benefits, however; the Town of St. John has done well with the Park Impact Fee that supports the twenty-four (24) parks that now exist. They have used these fees properly and appropriately by adding the park services.

Mr. Arshami reviewed benefits of the impact program. One of the benefits of the program is the infrastructure that can be in place, when they collect the fees, then they can build the roads. By putting the funds in certain locations, the Town can direct the growth and as such would be a much more efficient process for growth management. Promote a cost-effective way of development, so instead of “piece-meal”, they can plan for a larger project and in that way would reduce the costs. Also, since you can plan for it, would allow for long term financial stability of the Town.

Mr. Arshami advised that a most important point would be reducing the taxing impact on current taxpayers. Since the Impact Fee would be placed on the people “coming in” and creating the impact, they will be paying for it and not the existing residents. Further, often as planning goes, if you plan ahead and anticipate future expansions, then the process is cheaper and much more effective and efficient. On the other hand, in the short term this will increase the cost of development. Higher development costs will create a higher value in housing, retail and all other development. The developers will pass this cost on, and it will depend on the market as to whether it will bear this higher cost. Mr. Arshami stated that is when the Advisory Committee sets the fee rate and is something that will have to be discussed in depth. The ‘market” will have to be part of your decision making process.

Mr. Arshami stated that since we have discussed the Cost and Benefit, now we will start the actual work we are tasked to do. The Road Impact Fee process, directly relates to the Comprehensive Plan, as the plan determines how development should take shape or where it should go, and what it could look like in the future. In that respect establishing the fee is a part of the planning process and the intensity of growth, whether single or multi-family housing, is dictated not only by the Comprehensive Plan, but also by the zoning.

Mr. Arshami stated that “our work”, you will notice as we go through the process, that we will refer to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance to check the density allowed in R-1, R-2, R-3 as well as, C-1, C-2 and C-3. Many of you are familiar and worked with these ordinances. To simplify for this Road Impact Fee, we are going to have to identify growth patterns, as they will be part of our analysis.

Mr. Denny Cobb is going to talk about “Established Traffic Pattern”, based on land use data. We will estimate or model future traffic patterns, all dependent on that data. Then allocate how many trips that will be generated. Example: McDonald’s might generate 10,000 trips a day, whereas an accounting office may generate two (2). Those are both part of the land use and the zoning that we will have to take into account. Allocated growth related costs using a traffic model. Once the growth is modeled, we will know how much new traffic is going to be generated for a particular site.

And what does that mean?, will have to change that intersection?, or do we need to widen the road; and if we need to widen the road, what would that cost us. If the intersection needs to be modified, what does it cost us? That is how we determine the costs factor. At the end of this process, we will determine the costs of that extra trip. Therefore, hypothetical again, an accountant office, an office building all full of accountants, may not generate that much traffic as opposed to a McDonald’s that has many people coming in.

Similar to the Park Impact Fee, once you have figured the “fee”, that fee schedule becomes “the ceiling”, you do not have to set the fee at 100%, you can reduce it easily across the board. This is what we will be doing for the next two or three meetings. Mr. Arshami asked for any questions on the process.

Mr. Buck asked if any of the communities in the surrounding area have done this before. Mr. Arshami stated no, St. John was the first for Park Impact Fee and then everyone else followed; Schererville, Cedar Lake, Winfield, Valparaiso and Merrillville. They all have those now.

However, for Northwest Indiana, this is the first, but it is natural because St. John is the fastest growing community in this area.

Mr. Austgen asked if there is objective data that backs up this methodology. Mr. Arshami stated there are two (2) general processes to determine the fee; and this is called “Deductive Process”, that is the manner in which we go through it, different communities, different states, may use one of the two dependent on their statutes. In Indiana, you will be familiar with “EDU’s”, because we’re going to get into Equivalent Dwelling Units at the end of this process, and that is specifically called for in Indiana, or a more intensive calculation process, than other states. It is was noted that once they are given the information from Mr. Cobb, then they will have the objective data that will assist them in assessing the recommendation. Mr. Arshami advised that is correct.

Mr. Austgen further asked if this methodology that you are proposing, is similar to what happened in Fishers and Westville, Indiana. Mr. Arshami advised this is similar; it is actually more extensive than what they have done. Mr. Arshami advised that the difference is a one afternoon peak-hour traffic, where Mr. Kil asked that we do morning and afternoon, and then we would bring that into the model. So, it is much more extensive that what those communities have done.

Mr. Joe Hero (audience): Who certifies the validity of the assessment? Who certifies that this isn’t challengeable, I mean, do we leave that to lay people, or do we hire you guys or somebody to certify that this is all done correctly. Mr. Arshami advised that is why we are going through that process right now, the Advisory Committee will make the certification at the end of this process.

Mr. Austgen advised Mr. Hero that he was not present at the beginning of this meeting

Mr. Hero (audience): Is this going to be charged to the developer by the number of lots, or to the individual that buys the lot and builds on it. Mr. Arshami advised that it will be by whoever pulls the permit, in most cases it would be the builder. Mr. Kil clarified also that it would be the builder.

Mr. Arshami called upon Mr. Denny Cobb of First Group Engineering to speak on the data points.

Mr. Cobb stated that the first thing is to identify what the existing daily traffic volumes are. We do these in terms of the whole day – 24 hours, called Average Daily Traffic (ADT). And then we do it in terms of the peak hour, and as Mr. Kil has requested, we look at the peak hour in the morning and the peak-hour in the afternoon. From there we look at the facility, whether it is an intersection, or a segment of the road, and there are two different analysis there. For each of those two points, the intersection with the nodes, and then the segment in between, you establish a level of service. A level of service is a way of identifying what the operational characteristic of that segment or that intersection is. And much like high school, it is “A” through “F”, “A” being excellent, no delay. “F”, you sit there through cycle after cycle on a traffic signal, and you just wait.

Mr. Cobb continued, that is from these two things. The third thing is we establish a preferred level of service, and with talking with Mr. Kil, my work with INDOT, and many other communities around the State of Indiana, a level of service “D” is the lowest level of service that we “accept” without considering looking at improvements. Now, you may not want to improve if a particular movement has a lesser level of service, because maybe there is only three (3) cars in an hour in that movement. So that is why I say the level of service “D” is the starting point, and once you get below that level of service, you start looking for the need for improvements.

Mr. Cobb advised that point Four (4) that I will talk about, and we will get into a little bit more of this, once we have established what the current conditions are. What the conditions with the existing developments that are already planned and on the books. Then we look out ten (10) years, and we develop that same analysis going through those three (3) periods. And we will see the results of that.

Mr. Austgen asked for Mr. Arshami to explain how the ten (10) years applies when the fee is for a five (5) year period. Mr. Arshami stated that the document that we prepare has a longevity of five (5) years, and so after five (5) years the Town has to up-date. However, these infrastructures may change, and that is the whole purpose of having an up-date every five years in it, so we can look at these assumptions that we made five years earlier. But the State does require, that for a variety of reasons, that this time span to be considered for a ten (10 year period. For financial reasons, for planning reasons, and also it gives a better stability to the calculations, because we have a longer horizon in determining the needs.

Mr. Arshami advised that at the end of this process, we have a project list, and we identify all the improvement needs. That have to be costed out, and we will talk about that in the next meeting. One question was asked about the cost of the fee to the Developer. When we talk about development, that is part of the growth, and the portion that will be part of the improvement costs that will be assigned to that, is related to the “ADT” that I mentioned, and not the whole 200, so that would be the portion that we will have to determine. And so, that will be used to go with cost per unit, and cost per trip.

Mr. Cobb advised that this slide (shown on screen), quickly identifies whether you have “stop” conditions, whether it is a two-way stop, four-way stop, or traffic signal at the location. We went through an inventory of all of the critical intersections in Town, and identified those. The next step is that we counted the traffic at all of those intersections, and we counted the traffic in-between those intersections. He advised that this particular slide represents the traffic volumes in-between those critical nodes or intersections. From there we did the analysis of the intersections, and we found four (4) intersections that right now have a level of service of less than “D”. Joliet is one. 96th , 101st and Calumet, then clear over at Cline and 109th (Route 231). So we have established the four (4) intersections, which ones have a poor level of service. And in probably the next week or two, we’ll have the segments; we’ll have those identified. Then the next step is to see what improvements we have to do to those locations to bring them up, and then the next step will be to take the development that is already in the works, put that traffic into the network, see what it does. And again, look at what improvements are going to be necessary to get everything stabilized at a level of service “D”, that is going to be the base-line condition. Then, as we proceed forward, we’ll do “new development”, put that into the network and see what it does. Those will be the improvements that will be cost up for the “cost” in the project.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Cobb to talk a little bit about how we did the morning and the afternoon, how we are doing the modeling, you know, stuff like that, just so they know that we are actually taking this above and beyond what we need to do. Because this has far reaching effects for our builders, our developers and things like that, and the growth of the Town, so I wanted Denny to really dig into that a little bit and tell you guys “exactly” what he did and how long it has taken, so that you know if somebody asks you a question; that you can say “wait, they looked at this”. This actually went above and beyond what is required.

Mr. Cobb advised that there are two (2) different types of development generally speaking. That is “residential” and “commercial”, and they have different peaking conditions, and different times of the day that their traffic is out there. Typically, a shopping center does not have much traffic in the morning, and when we talk about the morning period, we are talking about the period from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM / 10:00 AM. Most stores are not open, so they are not generating a lot of traffic. Then the evening period that we look at, is from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, and this is the point where everybody who is at the store is getting their shopping done and heading home. Getting dinner ready, picking up the kids and do all of those types of things. Conversely, the residential is high in the morning; everybody is going to work and then in the evening, during the same time as the commercial, everybody is coming home.

So typically the “peak – peak” hour of the day is in the afternoon, that is when both of these modes of traffic, or destinations, are operational. But in the morning, you get a different flow. Think of it this way; people coming back from Chicago come a certain way. People coming from the shopping centers come a certain way. All of these are going home.

In the morning, those trips are going the opposite way, so a leg of an intersection that would be “high” in the afternoon, maybe “low” in the morning, and “conversely”, so that is why we look at both the A.M. and the P.M. hours to make sure we are getting all of the improvements that need to be made to that intersection to cover both of those times of day.

Mr. Kil stated to the members if they have any questions as to any of the detail, I am sure that everybody can understand what Denny has said. Everybody drives, you know what the traffic is like in the morning and you know what it is like in the evening. Just so, you have some assurance that he looked at that, and did study that pretty closely.

(Unknown: Who picked those four intersections)

Mr. Kil advised that there were actually twenty (20) that were studied. Denny (Cobb) just said that he described those four (4), or those were identified as a service level “F”. They are below a “D”.

Mr. Cobb then stated that all the other intersections in Town are above that. So all the other ones are operating at a satisfactory level of service, with today’s traffic.

Ms. Castonaros stated when you are talking about future development, there is a large development going in off of White Oak and 93rd. Could there be additional intersections that could be identified, looking at future traffic patterns for instance with those 420 homes going there. White Oak and 93rd would be affected. White Oak and 101st, additional intersections may be on 93rd, with the amount of traffic coming out off that particular development. How do you determine future needs that could impact us as soon as, you know two years from now, in your study.

Mr. Cobb advised that they use a resource document, which is the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Report. That is a long word, and it is a thick book. It is actually two books. It is the nation-wide recognized source for determining the trips that come in and out of each particular land use. And there are about 170 - 175 land uses in there, and they update that book periodically. They are out right now for a new call for data to come in to help update that. One of the things that they will probably come out in the next edition is, for a Wal-Mart, a Target or a Meijer, which have different trip generation characteristics than say a Kohl’s, or some of the other Big Boxes. And so we are probably looking at the next generation or the next report, there will be a sub-category for that type of land use. If available we use that information to develop our trips. Then we look at the network, the roadway network, and place the trips on the network. We are using a model that Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) uses to do all of its work to identify congestion management projects, to identify road improvements, to identify where added capacity, added lanes are needed, on the “major thoroughfares” like State highways, U.S. 41 and Route 231. They will get down to 93rd level, 109th level, Joliet maybe, and they look at arterials. They don’t look at every street, but they cover quite a few of them.

Mr. Cobb stated that like Steve (Kil) said, we have twenty (20) or twenty-five (25) intersections that we have identified as arterial streets in your community to look into. So, for developments like Greystone, Mill Creek on the south side, the traffic will be projected and flow from their streets onto these collector streets and arterial streets that we have identified. We will look at the whole development as if it is in and on-line today, even though it may take five years for it to develop, so that we have a picture of what we are going to need as the base-line today. Mr. Cobb asked Ms. Castonaros if that answered her question.

Ms. Castonaros stated yes, however she was wondering if we have identified those intersections with that data that you are talking about coming in, would there essentially be additional intersections identified once the study is done.

Mr. Cobb stated potentially there could, because we just looked at “today’s” conditions, with the houses that have been developed, with the businesses that have been developed. Mr. Kil has provided us with all the development that is on the drawing board that has been approved. So the next step is to generate that traffic and run it through the NIRPC’s model to determine where the traffic is going to go. That will then tell us if a street may have 22,000 cars a day today, may have 26,000 or 28,000 with that new development coming along. An intersection that may be a level of service “D” today, may not be a level of service “D” tomorrow. In fact, it may be operating as a stop control today, but tomorrow it will need a traffic signal. That is all dependent on the level of service data.

Mr. Kil advised the committee that Denny Cobb has been provided plats of subdivisions, and he has done a lot of the traffic studies for a lot of these developments, so he already has the plats. But you are right, there are anticipated roads to be constructed that will create new intersections. Mr. Cobb has always looked at that as part of this. Anything new that we generate goes into the equation.

Mr. Arshami stated that as you have seen on those slides (meeting room screen), he has identified those major collectors. Roads that are arterial roads, those are the ones that are going to absorb the additional traffic. Keep that in mind, because at the end of this process today, you are going to have to rely on this map in terms of traffic in the Town.

Ms. Castonaros asked if the committee will be provided with the copy of the PowerPoint presentation. Mr. Arshami advised it should be sent out to them, including the map. Mr. Arshami advised that all three (3) maps will be sent out.

Mr. Arshami thanked Mr. Denny Cobb, and stated that now you have an understanding of where the transportation is today. And now let’s look at other factors; like social, these are part of our analysis, one of the things that Mr. Cobb mentioned, that Steve Kil is fully aware of. A lot of the data that you see on one slide; you will see later on some other slides. There is literally ‘this much’ amount of data analysis has been done. A calculation has been made to determine that intersection. Those are all part of the record, and part of the decision making process.

Part of our analysis is also looking at population, where the Town is going. The Town continues to grow and between 2000 and 2010 when the U.S. Census was done, the Town had a 77% growth rate, and that growth has continued. The latest information that we have that breaks down that growth rate from the Census Bureau is from 2014, and we had 14,456 people, as reported by the Census Bureau. That is what we have done; we have done a projection and we have used additional information to see what the population estimate is today.

We estimate that of what the Census reported in 2014, growth has continued in 2015 that estimate is now about 16,500. Again, the Census Bureau does provide a projected estimated, and for this year we believe the population is above 17,000. Using that same average, for the last seventeen (17) years, we are projecting that at the end of the five (5) years, there will be a population of somewhere around 18,700; and then perhaps about 20,000+ in the course of the ten (10) years.

Mr. Arshami advised they will next look at the housing. These are 2014 data for housing, and by the Census Bureau that is about 5,400 total number of housing in the Town, and the majority of the town’s housing is owner-occupied, single family homes. That accounts for about 94% of the total housing in the town. Household sizes reflects that single-family home characteristics and you can see that the majority of the homes are single family, either attached or detached, and the household size is about 2.8, 3 for a single family. As a whole, the Town household size is 2.81. Why do we say this? Moreover, why is this important about the road conditions? Because the larger the household, the more traffic and therefore as Steve (Kil) mentioned the I.T.E. (Institute of Traffic Engineers), the numbers, they have different factors for single-family homes and multi-family homes, so that is taken into consideration in the analysis.

Housing growth between 2000 and 2010, was over 80% and for the last 15 years, the housing growth has been about 94%. This is important, because it is part of the growth and part of what generates the traffic.

Now, we have also looked at what “has been built” since 2010, this is one of those things that we have used in our calculations in estimating the population. The Town as of last September, the third quarter, for getting the information. So since 2010, the town has had about 1,084 new housing units built and several commercial developments. When we add just the housing units, it averages out up to something around 185 housing units annually.

Labor Force is another indication for the growth of the Town. For this we look at this as our “unemployment rate”, and who is working and not working. In comparison with Lake County, the unemployment rate in St. John is half or less than 4%, which is considered full employment. This indicates it is a high income community with continued growth.

On future development, is basically what happens to the Land Use. As the land use changes, this factor effects the traffic. It is the type of development and the intensity that affects the traffic use. Mr. Arshami advised that we will only be concerning ourselves with new developments, and need to let go of what is already in place, although it is considered in the existing transportation portion in terms of land use. Our focus is what is going to happen in the future.

Mr. Arshami advised that we will be using the Town’s Comprehensive Plan for a lot of our decisions. The current Comprehensive Plan is very new and fresh with data, so that will be used as part of our analysis. Associated with this plan is the Thoroughfare Plan that was done by Mr. Cobb which is the transportation element of this plan, and that information will play a role in our land use decision.

The other item is that based on the Comprehensive Plan / Thoroughfare Plan, the Town’s zoning and what is the proposed zoning of the Town. Mr. Arshami directed their attention to the meeting room screen to denote a majority of land uses are for “single family housing”. Next, he showed an area that is undeveloped, however, is proposed as “single family housing”. This information will be used in our calculations.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Town also has, adopted an Overlay District that has zoning implications in the district, which is U.S. Highway 41 (Wicker Avenue) and U.S. 231 (West 109th Avenue). Through that Overlay District they have changed some of the zoning calculations, or have allowed those changes and that will have to be taken under consideration.

So future development in the Town of St. John has three (3) sources.

1. Available land that is farm land and some just natural vacant land, considered developable and.

2. Planned development or planned subdivision(s), these would be the proposed or pending subdivisions. The land is there and the Plan Commission has already approved it or it is in the process or indications of development. Mr. Kil mentioned the location of a school that is going in, but it is not on the map yet as it has not been through the process(s) of the Town as yet. These would be anticipated development. Banks, Schools, etc.

3. The Town has many subdivisions that are not fully built. Those lots are still available, and those will be built for the next ten years.

Mr. Arshami advised through many hours of work, the aforementioned is what has been identified as developable land throughout the town. Then we have identified with each parcel, what is the net acreage that is developable of said parcel, not the gross, because a lot of these lands have flood plain or wetland designations, or other issues with the parcel which would make it “unbuildable” in some way. Thus, a net buildable land figure buildable land has been calculated or adjusted to show what is available.

Mr. Arshami advised that out of the forty-one (41) parcels, twenty-eight (28) are residential and thirteen (13) are commercial. In total then there is approximately 1,361 acres (+/-). Once they apply the zoning designation, an example of “R-1 Residential”, then we configured how many units of housing would be reasonably be permitted. This would also be taking into consideration all of the easements, roadways, right-of-ways, then it can be determined the estimate of the number of housing units that could be developed.

Mr. Austgen commented that this will be based on the current boundaries of the Town of St. John, and does not include any land that may “possibly” be annexed into the municipal boundaries. Mr. Arshami advised that is correct, as speculation cannot be part of the equation, and it is the “current corporate municipal boundaries” that is the “impact zone”.

Mr. Hero asked if anything would be based on the utility boundaries that extend past the corporate boundaries. Mr. Arshami advised that even if the utilities expand outside the corporate boundaries, the land until it is annexed it is not part of the corporate boundaries.

Mr. Kil advised Mr. Hero that the Sewer District is just “proposed”, and the actual utility district boundary is coterminous with the corporate boundary, and there is a “planning district”. Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Arshami will get into some of that discussion. Mr. Kil expounded that Comprehensive Plan clearly shows that Expansion Area 1 goes down to 117th. Expansion Area 2 down to 125th. Those are the “planning boundaries”, they far extend beyond the corporate boundaries, but our Utility District boundary is coterminous with the corporate boundary of the Town. Mr. Kil advised that the future planning boundaries, those extend far beyond the corporate boundaries of the Town and Mr. Arshami is well aware of this.

Mr. Arshami advised that when you have a development that is outside of the boundary, and the Christian School is an example, will certainly have an impact on traffic. However, we are only responsible for the “road” inside the Town, but Mr. Cobb will be looking at the model for the generated traffic that would be from that school, so that is accounted for.

Mr. Kil clarified that the school in question at this point cannot be annexed into the Town as it is not “contiguous” to the Town, and although there are subdivisions and developments outside of the community, if they are not contiguous to the Town they “cannot” be annexed. So, if any of that was known at the time of preparing the Comprehensive Plan, Mr. Cobb was provided with that knowledge.

Mr. Arshami asked if the board members were clear thus far on the information provided and the method of the calculations that they have compiled. With no questions from the board members Mr. Arshami continued.

Mr. Arshami advised that they have identified the proposed “future planning” has been identified by the Plan Commission, or are “in the works”. Therefore, we have a total 437 acres (+/-), and among these are all types of developments, and the total transportation units that will be generated from these will be around 1,997 (+/-). This number is firmer than the previous one, because there is less speculation, because we already know how many lots there are.

Mr. Hero asked if when U.S. 41 is developed, does that mean there is going to be a different impact fee in every parcel? Mr. Arshami advised no, that is collective, based on the “use”. The fee is based on the use and not the parcel. Based on the single-family home rate versus a multi-family home rate, or a commercial rate versus a residential rate.

Mr. Hero asked how are you going to handle the peaks generated by commercial, and is it generated by the size of the lot or not. Mr. Arshami stated to Mr. Hero that it seems that he missed that part of the presentation earlier. For residential units it is based on the “units”, which is the way the fee is determined. For commercial, the unit of consideration, the measurements are based on 1,000 square foot of commercial space. Mr. Arshami stated that a 30,000 square foot structure would be measured by 1,000 square foot increments, or thirty (30) units. The model is run based on the type of use and the generated traffic costs for that type of use. The fee is divided or measured on a unit basis of 1,000 square foot.

Mr. Arshami clarified that the calculation is simply comparing “apples to apples”, and has nothing to do with an ordinance or the zoning, it is based on the square footage of the building and how much traffic that specific use generates, with that specific building size. Mr. Arshami gave the example of McDonalds, which is typically 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, so that by itself determines that it is five (5) units, and because they are using the calculation of 1,000 square foot as a unit of measurement. So, the cost of that type of land use would be a “restaurant”, under the I.T.E., would give you the typical fee or impact cost on 1,000 square foot of restaurant. So, for example let us say it is determined to be $200.00; the impact cost based on the calculations, then that would be $200.00 per 1,000 square foot, therefore you would have to pay $1,000.00 at the time of the permit.

Mr. Hero asked how you determine that figure when there is a drive-thru? Mr. Cobb advised that the I.T.E. has a separate category for “fast food” with a drive-thru lane and a fast food restaurant without a drive-thru lane. Mr. Cobb continued by saying that the trips are generated differently based on that aspect of the land use.

Mr. Kil clarified that a 5,000 square foot business office does not generate the same amount of trips as 5,000 square foot McDonalds. Mr. Eberly advised that it can be explained that it is the size AND the use, it is just not just the size of the building. Mr. Kil asked Mr. Cobb to go over what was previously discussed for clarification on the process for those that may have come in late or are uncertain.

Mr. Cobb advised that there are roughly more than one hundred fifty (150) categories of land use in the trip generation guide, and for the whole book there is a lot more, and so when we look at a type of development, we also look at the nature and then square feet within that specific category. That leads us to different formulas for how to generate the trips, and generally, it is a fitted equation. There will be land uses that will be “above” and “below” that category; it is an “average” based on all of the data. It is a good question since there will be some that will want to challenge the land use basis, however, it will boil down to the best classification of that land use for the calculation.

Mr. Blazak asked if the location is a factor in the equation. Mr. Cobb advised that again there will be some that will be above and some below, and that is why it is taken on the “average”. Mr. Arshami advised that the I.T.E. is based on national averages.

Mr. Arshami advised that there are 56 (+/-) acres of land, which then translates into 745 units of commercial. That tells us that within that 56 acres, we can have about 740,000 square foot, potentially as the maximum, based on the current zoning allowance, that is the amount of space that is permitted to be developed.

Mr. Arshami advised that existing subdivisions are much easier, because we know the number of lots, what will be built and there has been a lot of cross checking on what has been permitted. The total subdivision lots that we determined, and these go back to September of last year, is 1,008 lots that are available among the three (3) different residential uses. So, we went through developable lands, planned developments and available lots. Moreover, these are the three sources for the next ten (10) years.

Mr. Arshami advised with the three (3) uses and sources, we have come up with 4,444 units of service / 4,445 units of development. That is the total developable land for the next ten years and based on the assumptions that could go into residential development. This does not mean that it is going to happen, it just states that this is the potential. Again, the density is based on the Comprehensive Plan and the zoning.

Example being an R-1 is 20,000 s.f. and then adjusting the lot sizes to consider for the roadways, utilities and right-of-way, we can determine how many lots will be generated reasonably from vacant land. For planned developments that have already been subdivided, we know exactly what is left. Density for housing is always units per acre.

Following up, after residential, we looked at commercial and that is estimated at 2,943 units of commercial. Keep in mind the unit again is 1,000 square foot of measurement.

Mr. Hero questioned an area on the meeting room screen that showed “0” on the map. Mr. Arshami explained that there is a difference between lots and parcels. All of the commercial activities they have seen in the Town, they fall into the first two (2) categories of either vacant land or they are pending development.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Town has one (1) parcel for Industrial use, what is left there was a larger parcel, however, it has been re-zoned under the Comprehensive Plan, and what is left is currently about 52.91 acres of industrial property, and that generates under the zoning requirements, approximately 1,500 units of development.

Mr. Hero asked what the I.T.E. is. Mr. Cobb explained this document again for him, referencing the different codes and sections in detail. Mr. Cobb explained that in a category, there are multiple units, but when they give First Group the information, it is given by category or by I.T.E Trip-Generation Code.

Mr. Arshami advised that they have gone through and analyzed every parcel, by parcel, and what you are seeing is the aggregate numbers. When you go back to a specific parcel it is given a specific zoning, a permitted use. Mr. Cobb mentioned 820 for the shopping center, whereas Boyer Development is 29 acres, that is included and he has received specific information for that parcel in order to run his calculations, on that basis.

Mr. Cobb (to Mr. Hero), explained that there is a code for a bank with a drive-up, a code for a gas station, a code for a fast food restaurant, etc. So, when they supply him the number of units with what is going to be developed, then he can generate the number of “trips” based on that information by applying the trip generation code to the land use that is provided.

Mr. Arshami stated that they went through the Commercial, Residential and Industrial. Now, all of the residential would add up to 4,544 units, and that if we add non-residential, that would add 4,326 units of development.

Next, if you combine both, it is at 8,870, so, for the next ten (10) years our calculation would be based on “this” number of 8,870 units of development, and that is what we have at this point. Mr. Arshami advised that he and Mr. Cobb have spent a good portion of the last four to five months, literally coming up with those numbers.

Mr. Hero asked was it taken into account the semi-trucks? Mr. Denny Cobb advised that it was in the number of trips, but embedded in that traffic count of semi-trucks, as well as the cars.

Mr. Arshami commented that what we have seen is the future growth, and we earlier talked about 185 new housing units, and discussed about what happened with the population growth. When looking at 185 units per year we can estimate somewhere around 5,000 to 6,000 future added population for the Town of St. John in the next ten (10) years.

Clearly what Mr. Cobb showed is that there are needs for transportation improvements. So, at the end of this session we can make these part of our findings and that where St. John lacks adequate facilities in the several areas and at this point does not meet the level of service, and Mr. Cobb has identified the ones that as of right now are existing. Once these developments happen, certainly there is going to be more deficits. Facility deficit is throughout the town, and this is important for the board to agree, and what Mr. Cobb provided with his corridors and arterials roads throughout the Town of St. John, and what you determine is reasonable.

Mr. Arshami also noted that if you speak to the Town Manager Steve Kil, he will continue to say that development and growth exceeds the available budget in this regard. This is why we are here to address those needs.

Mr. Kil reiterated that Mr. Cobb has denoted that in talking earlier that nothing is considered a “failure” until it drops from the “D” into the “F” level. But, for example, every time Mr. Cobb is instructed to complete a study or start engineering a section of roadway, he is to engineer it at “Level A”. Mr. Kil advised that if we are going to build something, we are going to build it right “to the best”. For example as Mr. Cobb is looking at the project on U.S. 41 right now, he was told to adjust it, get it right the level “A”. Mr. Kil continued advising that we have a couple of major roadway projects that the Town Council will want to apply for a grant that is available through the “wheel tax legislation”, even though we don’t have a wheel tax. There is a grant process in place. Example: 101st Avenue, between White Oak and Calumet Avenue is one area; Parrish between Joliet Street and 109th Avenue is another one. We are looking at these arterial roadways. Mr. Cobb has been working hard on this and has actually done our complete study for the Town, the Capacity Asset Management Plan, so as soon as that grant becomes available, the Town Council can authorize that to be applied for, where it is a matching grant.

Mr. Kil advised that they are looking for these items right now, on top of doing the impact fee work, Mr. Cobb has done all the other engineering work on this for us, and there is no better qualified person in this field, since he has studied every single stitch of road in this community, and he does our roadway certifications to INDOT for our annual updated road mileage. Mr. Kil wanted to just make it clear on the qualifications of the persons that have been contracted to accomplish this task at hand.

Mr. Ashami stated that they wish to maintain the level of service, and get ahead of the traffic situation and that would be a problem at the rate the population grows.

Mr. Arshami stated that one of the requirements of the Impact Advisory Committee, is to agree to the service area and what is the impact zone. Basically is how do you provide the services, there are some communities that may have only a portion of the town that needs to be impacted. This committee can set up a service area that is less than the corporate boundary of the Town. In this particular case, we think because of all the services that are needed are throughout the town and the potential deficit that exists has similar distribution, a Town wide impact zone would be an appropriate boundary for this “road impact fee”. That is something that this board will decide.

Mr. Arshami stated that is the end of his presentation and he is available for questions, as well as Mr. Cobb for any specifics that you may have questions about.

Mr. Kil asked the committee if they agree that the entire Town corporate limits would have to qualify for the Impact Zone, since there is development all around and throughout the Town, Mr. Arshami is going to need some concurrence from the Road Impact Advisory Committee. Mr. Kil advised that the impact zone is a very important aspect of this, and Mr. Arshami and Mr. Cobb have identified it as being the entire community.

Mr. Buck, President, stated that he is in favor of the entire community, but would like to know the dollar amount attached to the units. Mr. Kil advised that Mr. Cobb will calculate a fee, which will be the “top end fee”. The board then, as you are familiar with the permits of the town, goes back to the term that was used as of what you believe is “reasonable”.

Mr. Kil continued that you are all aware of the infrastructure, you all drive the roads, and are familiar with the deficiencies that Mr. Cobb discussed. It will be your job to cap the “top end number”, and you will establish what is reasonable. You cannot exceed the number he gives you, you can only reduce it. Keep in mind that will be done after this entire process is over. And that is the recommendation that this committee will make to the Town Council, after reviewing all the data.

Mr. Buck asked if, in after five years they can raise it. Mr. Kil advised no, that in five years this would be revisited by the committee to validate, or re-visit it. Mr. Kil reminded several members of the Park Impact Fee and the fact that the law requires that they revisit it every five years. Mr. Buck inquired if he comes in with a commercial venture and he is designated at 830 and he believes he should be calculated by 822, how would that be determined. Mr. Arshami advised that there would be an Impact Fee Board to make that determination, such as an Impact Review Committee.

Mr. Kil stated an example if someone comes in and they get their assessment, wherein they come back with a list of reasons why they feel that the amount is too high. They can request an appeal to this board. This board can review on an individual basis, that request and make adjustments at that time. Mr. Kil stated that there is an appeal process that would go along with that, and that there will be a mechanism in place for this purpose.

Mr. Hero asked about the vacated K-Mart building. Mr. Arshami advised that the use of the land once it changes would require the land use calculation to be reviewed, and a determination has to be made. As a developer, if you are not in agreement with this conclusion, then you can go before the appeals board for further review. Mr. Kil advised that it has no land use now, but when it was in use it was retail. So, if the building gets demolished, and Kohl’s, or somebody else came in and wants to renovate the building as it stands, it would be evaluated based on the use.

Mr. Arshami advised that if it is renovated and is the same use, it stays as it is. Mr. Hero wanted to know who makes the determination of the fee and can it be lowered or raised. Mr. Arshami explained that the Impact Fee is set, the appeals process is in place, however the fee is set. Mr. Eberly and Mr. Kil agreed that in the instance such as K-Mart, currently there is “no land use”, and if a company wished to re-open and renovate the building for retail purposes they would be required to pay the impact fee, because right now it is assessed as a vacant building.

General discussion continued with Mr. Arshami and members of the audience.

Mr. Eberly inquired about a question that was placed before this board as to the boundaries. If there is an annexation of property that expands our corporate boundaries, would that be included in the Impact Fee area, Mr. Kil advised that it would have to be. Mr. Austgen will be drafting the ordinance, which will include statutory law and what is allowed, but if a voluntary annexation comes into the Town, they most certainly would be under the Road Impact Fee at that point.

Discussion continued as to projects, whereas the Town’s utilities have been extended and a “Waiver of Right to Annexation” has been executed, and then the property becomes contiguous. Does that mean that the existing project would be subject to the new impact fee as it enters the corporate boundaries of the Town of St. John. Generally discussion ensued and it was determined that the issue would have to be addressed by Attorney David Austgen, when drafting the ordinance that would establish the impact fee. Mr. Kil advised that is definitely a legal matter that would have to be researched.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Arshami if there is a requirement for the review of the impact fee every five (5) years once it has been established, and he was wondering if there is anything in the ordinance that would prohibit the board from reviewing the impact fee more frequently, such as annually. Mr. Arshami answered yes, but it will be cumbersome to update the study annually.

Mr. Hero and Mr. Blazak asked if they could get a copy of the slide show, so they can put it on a flashdrive. Mr. Kil advised that the presentation will be downloaded onto the Town’s website.

Mr. Blazak inquired as to how can the impact fee will be implemented, carefully and yet expediently, because all of the homes that are underway and/or are being built in the next few months to a year; we will lose all those impact monies if we do not have this in place soon. Mr. Kil directed that question to the consultant and the timeline that has been set.

Mr. Arshami advised that once this is approved and this committee makes a recommendation to the Town Council, then the Town Council has to pass an ordinance, and then there is the legal notices that have to be published prior to the ordinance being approved.

Mr. Kil asked for a basic time frame in general. Mr. Arshami advised that the study takes about seven (7) months. Mr. Arshami stated that the ordinance becomes effective six (6) months after the Town Council approval. Mr. Blazak asked why so long. Mr. Arshami and Mr. Kil advised because that is what the law states. State law says that it cannot become effective until that timeline.

Mr. Kil stated to Mr. Blazak that he hopes that this committee can get their work done, and then by April have an ordinance for the Town Council. Thus, the second that the Town Council adopts the ordinance, the clock is running.

Mr. Hero asked if there was a template for the ordinance so this committee don’t have to develop all these details, can you give them like an ordinance that you would propose, that they can work on? Mr. Kil advised Mr. Hero that the Town Attorney is already working on the ordinance. It is the committee’s work to develop the fee, which is a requirement of the law.

Mr. Arshami explained to Mr. Hero, that there is a process that this committee has to utilize in terms of how they develop the fee. What is the maximum amount of fee than can be imposed on a particular use in the Town.

Mr. Kil interjected that Mr. Arshami will identify or calculate a maximum fee to this committee, per unit, per restaurant, per office building, dentist office, etc. Then, this committee has to determine if that is “too high”. They cannot exceed that fee, they can make it less, but not above that.

Mr. Arshami advised that for numerous reasons, this is why they go through extra efforts, going through this process step-by-step, where we are going and where everything came up. The reason they were shown that total table, the available land, and the designated zoning, those are all available for review so the Committee fully understands the underlying assumptions and calculations.

Mr. Kil stated for clarification that let’s suppose a builder does not want to pay the impact fee on the next fifty (50) homes he wants to build. Mr. Blazak shouted out that they will just pass it on to the customer.

Mr. Arshami stated that the only challenge a builder could make to the impact fee, because it is a very mechanical process, would be to question the numbers or the data. Mr. Kil advised that he fully expects someone to challenge the Road Impact Fee because it is the first one of its kind.

Mr. Eberly asked if the Town Council is the ultimate authority on the setting of the fee. Mr. Kil advised that it is.

Concerning the period, Mr. Cobb advised that these numbers will have to be given to NIRPC to “model”. Mr. Cobb advised that we have given them the “existing” numbers, and so they have calibrated them and we have talked about how we will be giving them the new numbers and how many generations they are going to have to run. Mr. Cobb advised that they would be giving NIRPC the next set of data within the next two weeks, so it is a process. In addition, this is not the only thing that NIRPC has to do, so we have to fit into their schedule.

Mr. Cobb further stated that they are also doing this for the Town for “free”, so it is a very big advantage for the Town for NIRPC to do this. Mr. Cobb advised that they are going to try and shoot for two / two and a half months, but he cannot commit to that timeframe because he does not know what their schedule is.

Mr. Buck entertained a motion to go with the corporate boundaries. Ms. Niven made the motion, seconded by Mr. Frassione. Motion carried 5 ayes – 0 nays.

Mr. Arshami advised just to give them an update on the next meeting, it will be to determine the capacity needs and make sure that Mr. Denny Cobb has that information for us, and hopefully they will get into the calculating of the fee and possibly get into the impact per unit of service and maybe set the final fee, but that is a long process.

Mr. Cobb advised that he could have his information no earlier than the third week in March. Discussion ensued amongst the committee members. Several members were looking at March 17, 2017 at the same time and place. This, would however, have to be confirmed with schedules.

Mr. Kil advised that the meeting would be coordinated and noticed.


(The meeting was adjourned at 11:17 a.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Michelle L. Haluska, Recording Secretary
Impact Fee Advisory Committee

06-08-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

June 8, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Buck called the Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.


Roll call was taken and a quorum was confirmed.


Mr. Kil introduced Mr. Taghi Arshami and turned the floor over to him for his presentation.

Mr. Arshami welcomed everyone and reminded them that the next meeting will take place on June 29.


Mr. Arshami gave a brief recap of the previous meeting and turned the floor over to Mr. Denny Cobb to go over the trip calculations and improvement information he has prepared.

Mr. Cobb explained that a “level of service” is a measure of how well your system is working. The level of service is related to the amount of delay that is experienced at intersections as well as by movement and approach. A level of service is rated from A to F; and just like in school, A is really good, and F is really bad. A Level of Service D is the level that is accepted as the industry’s lowest level of acceptable service without starting to look at improvements that must be made.

Mr. Cobb stated that they had to establish the health of the existing roadway system as a benchmark. Mr. Cobb reported that they found two intersections that were below the Level of Service D as well as a segment of 109th Avenue between White Oak Avenue and US 41. The first intersection is Joliet and US 41, and the second intersection is 101st Avenue and Calumet Avenue.

Mr. Buck asked what level of service means. Mr. Cobb responded that a level of service is related to the amount of delay that is experienced at an intersection per vehicle, and each level has a different numerical value of that variable.

Mr. Cobb stated that there is a project on the books to put in a traffic signal at the intersection of 101st Avenue and Calumet Avenue, which would take care of the existing deficiency there.

Mr. Cobb explained that the horizon for this buildout is 10 years, and the benchmark must be kept for those 10 years. Mr. Cobb advised that in the next 10 years, traffic will continue to grow regardless of any development; the rate of growth is typically 2% per year.

Mr. Cobb advised that they took the existing traffic, factored that amount up by 2% a year, and looked at what that created. Mr. Cobb referenced a map on the viewing screen and mentioned various areas that would be a Level of Service F, in 10 years.

Mr. Cobb explained how they determine the impact of future development using the ITE, Institute of Transportation Engineer’s, Trip Generation Report. The manual shows a code for a multitude of land uses and has a graph that shows the data, collected to date, and how many trips are generated versus how many units of area, which is usually per square foot for retail and per dwelling unit for a house. They have graphed the information and developed a calculation for predicting the number of trips a specific type of land use will generate per day, how many trips during the morning-peak and the evening-peak drive times. It also distributes those trips in and out.

Mr. Cobb advised that the next step was to determine where the trips go to and come from; and they have data provided by the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission in the form of an Origin Destination Study. Mr. Cobb explained that they divided the trips from St. John residents into three categories, to work, shopping, and other; and demonstrated the flow of traffic for each category, referencing centroids near major roadways.

Mr. Cobb further demonstrated the same areas after 5 years of building out, which showed more deficiencies. Mr. Cobb advised that traffic needs to start being distributed onto parallel systems as US 41 is going to reach reasonable capacity, and INDOT will not put 8 lanes there because the impact on the community is too great.

Mr. Cobb stated that they will continue the analysis into the 10-year buildout and background growth at the next meeting, with solutions to all of the network. They will also try to have all of the construction costs for those as well.

Mr. Austgen asked if this was foundational to developing the cost for the fee structure itself. Mr. Cobb responded that first existing conditions must be assessed through the horizon year, because the impact fee won’t fix existing issues. First, a base system must be brought into a Level of Service D, or better, 10 years out, and then the development is applied.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Impact Fee cannot pay for existing deficiencies. Impact Fee calculations will be for the deficiencies that are created by new development for the next 10 years.

Mr. Buck stated that it is similar to the Park Impact Fee. Mr. Arshami concurred.

A comment from the audience was made that the 2% growth rate isn’t accurate because the town has doubled in population in the last 10 years. Mr. Cobb explained that the 2% increase per annum is external growth from outside the town.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Cobb if he will be showing a comparative graph of the improvements at the next meeting. Mr. Cobb responded that he will have a listing of the improvements including their costs.

Mr. Kil requested that Mr. Cobb provide an exhibit showing what the deficiencies are when all the Town’s and INDOT’s planned improvements are done.

Discussion ensued regarding INDOT’s plans for US 41 expansion, the Town’s road projects, and how that would change the figures for the Impact Fee.

Mr. Kil commented that it can get a bit tricky when a shopping center comes in and that we will need to ensure there is a good understanding of the calculations for the EDU calculation based upon the use that comes in. Mr. Cobb stated that he has it set up that as development comes in, especially large developments, the Town can see where the biggest impact is; and the money that is collected from them could be spent on those intersections or segments, if the Town so chooses. Mr. Austgen stated that there will need to be a formula in place.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Town can request that large developments, such as a shopping center, do a traffic study specifically based on what they are proposing. He further advised that the ITE codes are used to calculate the fees.

Mr. Kil asked if the EDU calculations and ITE codes will be part of the ordinance or if they would be established after an ordinance is enacted. Mr. Arshami stated that they will have a table showing various types of development and the anticipated fees before passing an ordinance.

Mr. Cobb asked Mr. Austgen if he is going to wait to draft the ordinance until after the fees are brought together at the July meeting. Mr. Austgen replied that he has a skeleton ordinance, but that he has to drop the fees in it. He further stated that he will need a an EDU based upon a fee that the Committee recommends to the Town Council; and it needs to be formulaic, fair, objective, and non-discriminatory.

Discussion ensued about less obvious uses, such as the Crossroads Motorplex car-condo mall, and the practicality of applying the ITE code and EDU calculation. Mr. Arshami advised that those are the times when the Town can require the developer to have a traffic study done for the impact of their business.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Buck adjourned the meeting at 10:18 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

06-29-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

June 8, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Buck called the Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 9:06 a.m.


Roll call was taken and a quorum was confirmed.


Mr. Kil introduced Mr. Taghi Arshami and turned the floor over to him for his presentation.

Mr. Arshami welcomed everyone and reminded everyone that the next meeting will take place on July 21.


Mr. Arshami gave a brief recap of the previous meeting and turned the floor over to Mr. Cobb.

Mr. Cobb reviewed the improvements that need to be made.
Intersection deficiencies and recommendations:

  1. White Oak and 93rd, install a traffic signal and a westbound right-turn lane.
  2. US 41 and 93rd, work with INDOT to improve the intersection by adding a through lane and a right-turn lane in all four directions.
  3. Cline and 93rd, install a traffic signal and an eastbound right-turn lane.
  4. Blaine and 93rd; install a traffic signal.
  5. 101st and Blane, install a traffic signal.
  6. 109th and Calumet, install a traffic signal and turn lanes. (This is County jurisdiction)
  7. 109th Avenue and White Oak, there is no practical solution for the small volume.
  8. 109th (US 231) and Cline, this is an INDOT project.

Roadway Segments deficiencies and recommendations:

  1. 109th from White Oak to Cline, widen to a 3-lane section.
  2. Calumet from 109th to 101st, widen to a 3-lane section.
  3. 93rd from White Oak to Hart, widen to a 3-lane section.
  4. 93rd from Cline to Blaine, provide a westbound right-turn lane at Cline and an eastbound-turn lane at Blaine.

Other improvements that are recommended:

  1. Cline Avenue from 101st to 109th, widen to a 3-lane section.
  2. Blaine from 101st to 93rd, widen to a 3-lane section.
  3. Parrish at US 231, extend existing turn lanes on the north approach.
  4. Parrish at Joliet/101st, extend existing right-turn lane, provide a westbound left-turn lane, and a northbound left-turn lane. (Note: a roundabout was installed.)

Mr. Cobb also reviewed recommended improvements for the US 41 corridor and the US 231 Corridor.

US 41:

  1. A 3rd lane is needed in both directions with multiple intersections needing dual left-turn lanes and possibly dual right-turn lanes, which include 96th, 105th, and 109th, some including traffic lights as well.
  2. 96th from US 41 to Joliet, provide an eastbound through lane and a roundabout at Joliet.

US 231:

  1. US 231 needs 3 lanes in each direction with new traffic signals at Park Place and the development between the tracks, including turn lanes.

Mr. Cobb advised that the estimated construction cost for the 10-year development is approximately $80 million, which is still being refined and is based on today’s costs. In 10 years, that will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 million.

Mr. Cobb noted that Carmel and Fishers has two expressways, 31 and 431; and between those two routes, they carry 110,000 to 120,000 cars a day. The development St. John is talking about will generate similar volumes in a smaller area.

Mr. Cobb advised that the recommended improvements and deficiencies don’t take in anything south of the town or anything east of town, other than Luers Tree Farm.

Mr. Austgen asked if there is a priority list for addressing the deficiencies. Mr. Cobb responded that he does not; however, he suggested that since each development unit has its own trip distribution and generation the Town can look and see where their traffic will impact the system, as they start coming on board. Mr. Cobb added that this would be a good tool for prioritizing a list of the order in which to tackle the projects.

Mr. Austgen stated that it would follow the path of development. Mr. Cobb responded in the affirmative. Mr. Kil advised that some of these projects will have to be done in conjunction with other projects because a road segment can’t be increased without updating the associated intersections.

Mr. Austgen advised that it would be a good idea to have a prioritization list or a master plan done ahead of time so it is known up front what would be taking place and in what order it would happen.

Mr. Cobb advised that if some of the projected development does not happen during the 10-year horizon, then some of the improvements will not be needed.

A member of the audience asked if a developer could be required to do some of the improvements when they come in to develop a subdivision. Mr. Cobb responded that dollars per building unit would be collected, which would then be used to pay for those improvements. The developer could put in the improvements and get a credit for those impact fees; however, double-dipping is not permitted. In other words, if you get the improvements installed by the developer, you can’t also collect the Impact Fee.

Mr. Cobb advised that improvements on US 231 and US 41 are not included in the cost of the improvements, as those would be INDOT’s projects.

Mr. Arshami advised that all of the analysis can be used by the Plan Commission when a development comes in to say what needs to be done in that area as part of the subdivision negotiation.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Eberly stated that if we take the worst-case-scenario number of $120 million and divide it by the 9536 units yet to be developed, the cost per unit is $12,600, which is the average residential building permit cost. Adding the cost of improvements would double the building permit fee.

Mr. Eberly asked if there a State law would need to be enacted in order for us to consider a recapture agreement for a developer who puts in all of the improvements that will be funded by the building permits for each unit. Mr. Austgen advised that there is no prohibition to that. Per statute 36-1-3 we can have a recapture fee; and in fact, we have one now for a water recapture fee.

Mr. Kil noted that a developer could build a road today that may take him 10 years to get his money back. Mr. Austgen stated that there is a limit of a 5-year term on an Impact Fee, which is subject to a renewal process by State statute; so the agreement would need to match that statutory time period.

Mr. Eberly stated that recapture agreements are typically 15 years. Mr. Austgen stated that there is no guaranty that the Town Council will consider or adopt a continuation of this Road Impact Fee. Mr. Arshami added that the fee may change if it is renewed.

Discussion ensued at length about developer-paid improvements and recapture fees.

Mr. Kil advised that some of the board members need to leave soon and that Mr. Arshami needs to finish his presentation.

Ms. Castonaros asked if Mr. Arshami had said that this program is in Westfield. Mr. Arshami responded in the affirmative. She further asked if they are actively using the Impact Fee there. Mr. Arshami stated that he believes so.

Mr. Kil noted that one of the towns gave up on it. Mr. Arshami stated that Zionsville gave up on it.

Ms. Castonaros stated that she drove through Westfield, and they have no traffic lights. It is all roundabouts, and she got right through there with no problem. Mr. Cobb stated that a roundabout isn’t always the best option; however, for intersections with two or three streets, they are great.

Mr. Arshami noted that there is one industrial parcel that is 52 acres of land that only has one access point because there are tracks on two sides with a pond opposite the one access point. Mr. Kil advised that, while it is zoned industrial, St. John doesn’t have a lot of industrial and that it will likely be rezoned. Mr. Arshami stated that they have to follow the zoning in the Comprehensive Plan for this study and that the number of industrial units is likely to change.

Mr. Arshami explained facets of the Impact fee:

  1. An Impact Fee is the number of EDUs multiplied by the net cost per EDU.
  2. Net cost is the cost per EDU minus any credit per EDU.
  3. The cost per EDU is the growth cost divided by new EDUs.
  4. Growth cost is the total growth-related cost minus the existing deficiencies.

Mr. Austgen asked Mr. Arshami to bring examples of the formulas in action to the next meeting. Mr. Arshami agreed to do so.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Arshami if he will be in a position to apply a cost to this or if he will be doing an ad hoc formula and show an example. Mr. Cobb stated that their goal is to have the construction numbers and the calculations for the next meeting.

Mr. Kil asked if they will be using factual numbers. Mr. Arshami stated that he intends to.

Mr. Arshami previewed the agenda for the next meeting.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Buck adjourned the meeting at 10:06 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

07-21-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

July 21, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Buck called the Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Friday, July 21, 2017, at 9:07 a.m.


Roll call was taken and a quorum was confirmed.


Mr. Arshami welcomed everyone, recapped the previous meeting, and previewed what would be discussed during the meeting. Mr. Arshami advised that in their final meeting, the committee will make a recommendation to the Town Council.


Mr. Arshami advised that the growth cost is what is generated from the new development plus the existing deficiencies and that the committee should focus on the growth-related deficiencies.

Mr. Arshami turned the floor over to Mr. Cobb.

Mr. Cobb reviewed the improvement projects for the roadway improvements that were discussed at the June 29th meeting and gave the current-deficiency cost, 10-year cost, and applicable Impact-Fee cost or growth-related cost for each. Mr. Cobb reviewed the totals for each category, which showed 10-year deficiencies of $89,529,300; current deficiencies of $11,289,900; and growth-related deficiencies, or applicable Impact Fee costs, of $78,239,400.

Mr. Cobb reviewed the improvement projects for the intersection improvements of Cline Avenue and US 231 and Parrish Avenue and US 231 that were discussed at the June 29th meeting and gave the current-deficiency cost, the 10-year cost, and the applicable Impact-Fee cost or growth-related cost for each. Mr. Cobb reviewed the totals for each category, which showed 10-year deficiencies of $3,137,700; current deficiencies of $0 (zero); and growth-related deficiencies (also known as the applicable Impact Fee costs) of $3,137,700.

Mr. Cobb commented that at the last meeting, it was discussed what to do with improvements at a development’s front door; and it was decided that those would be the developer’s responsibility and that those costs would not be included in our total.

Mr. Cobb stated that the total for the applicable Impact Fee cost for segments and intersections combined is approximately $81 million at today’s cost.

Mr. Arshami explained that the total 10-year cost including both existing and future deficiencies is approximately $92 million, and the total applicable Impact Fee costs is $81,377,100.

Mr. Arshami was asked why there is a 10-year cost for a funding mechanism that has a 5-year lifespan; he responded that State statute requires a 10-year deficiency projection of the infrastructure needs.

Mr. Cobb commented that there are ways to cut costs and gave a list of general things that could be done, such as reducing 6-foot shoulders to 4 feet or 2 feet, in response to a question from the audience.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Cobb reviewed trips and trip-generation rates from previous meetings and then explained growth-related trips. Mr. Cobb advised that all the anticipated developments that are expected to occur each had a trip-generation rate, which all together totaled 167,335 trips per day. Mr. Cobb demonstrated a couple of examples of the trip generation.

Mr. Cobb advised that one way to reduce the construction cost is to reduce the trips, and trips can be reduced by reducing the square footage of allowable development.

Mr. Arshami stated that adding the cost of the Impact Fee Study the net applicable Impact Fee cost equals $81,614, 583. If you divide that by the number of trips generated in a 24-hour period, which is 167,335, you get the cost per trip, which is $487.73.

Mr. Arshami explained grant funding credit per trip and road debt credit per trip, which are not applicable since it is the first instance of a Road Impact Fee for St. John.

Mr. Kil advised that there is a General Obligation Bond from 2014 that was used to pave 20% of the roads in town. Mr. Cobb responded that it is not the same costs. Mr. Cobb advised that future TIF funding provided for improvements in this study would go in that “outstanding road related debt” category.

Mr. Arshami referenced a table he had for the impact cost per trip as related to the ITE code and how the codes impact the EDU. A single-family residential ITE code is 210, and the impact on the EDU is a multiplier of 1.0.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Impact Fee is the number of EDUs multiplied by the net cost per EDU. Mr. Arshami presented examples on PowerPoint slides using the formula for determining the Impact Fee, starting with a hypothetical number. Next, Mr. Arshami did an example using actual figures: A single-family home is 1.0 unit with an average of 11.16 trips per day. When multiplying the trips per day of 11.16 by the net impact cost per trip of $487.73, it produces an impact cost of $5,443.09.

Mr. Arshami exampled a subdivision with 44 single-family homes: He multiplied the number of houses by the EDU for a residence of 1.0 which produced 44. He multiplied the product of 44 by the impact cost of a single-family home, which is $5,443.09. That subdivision impact cost total is $239,496.12.

Mr. Arshami exampled a shopping center of 250,000 square feet: He multiplied the square footage by the trip rate divided by 1000, which is the unit of measurement for commercial, [250,000*(3.2/100) = 800 EDUs]. He then multiplied the EDU amount of 800 by $5,443.09, which produced $4,354,474.94.

Mr. Kil asked where the “3.2” number came from. Mr. Cobb responded that the number of trips generated by a shopping center is 3.2 times as much traffic per every 1000 square feet of development than is generated by a single-family house.

Mr. Arshami noted that the examples are just hypothetical examples.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Impact Fee Advisory Committee’s responsibility is to make a recommendation of a fee to the Town Council and discussed fee options with them. If the flat-rate option is used, the flat rate per EDU is $5,443.09. The fee could be set up as a fraction of that amount, which is Park Impact Fee Advisory Committee did for the Park Impact Fee.

Mr. Arshami showed the various zoning classifications based on a flat-rate Impact Fee using the whole fee amount of $5,443.09 multiplied by the ITE Code’s EDU Factor. A single-family home is 1.0 EDU or $5443.09. A townhome is 0.52 EDU or $2,830. A multifamily home is 0.17 EDU or $925.33. C-1 Commercial 820 ITE Code is 3.71 EDU per 1000 square feet or $20,193.88. C-2 ITE Code 826 is 2.71 EDU per 1000 square feet or $14,750.78. Industrial ITE Code 110 is 0.97 EDU or $5,279.80.

Mr. Arshami stated that another option is a graduated rate Impact Fee. The first year would be set at a certain percentage; and then the fee would incrementally increase once a year over the 5-year period. For the example, the imposed fee started at 25% of the net fee and went up by 5% a year for 5 years.

Mr. Arshami stated that a third option would be to go with a fraction of the base, or a percentage of the calculated rate that would remain the same for all 5 years. Mr. Arshami used 50% of the calculated rate of $5,443.09 as an example, which would be $2,721.55.

Mr. Arshami advised that the next step would be to set up the fee, which can be a percentage, flat rate, or graduated scale, and make a recommendation to the Town Council.

Discussion ensued.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Cobb to explain what the ITE is. Mr. Cobb advised that ITE is the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a national organization, which has published nine editions of their publication; they constantly collect and update the information.

Mr. Cobb stated that the tenth edition is under review right now. It is a living document that is updated to reflect how development is occurring. It is a resource that is used nationwide.

Ms. Niven asked if the graduated fee would be more likely to be contested. Mr. Austgen responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Arshami asked if it would still be contested if the percentage of increase was based on the CPI or construction pricing index. Mr. Austgen stated that if it were, it would change his opinion.

Mr. Cobb advised that INDOT’s documented rate of inflation could be used as they have an estimating program with new price information all the time. You pick the year you want to construct something, and it automatically adjusts the cost using INDOT’s documented rate of inflation.

The board concurred that it would be helpful to have that information.

Mr. Arshami asked Mr. Austgen if the ordinance could contain language including CPI or whatever inflation factor that Town would choose to use. Mr. Austgen responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Cobb if a project can be estimated for 2021 using the program INDOT has. Mr. Cobb responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Cobb stated that he will get the projected rate for the next five years, using a year-by-year breakdown. Mr. Cobb stated that is what he uses when he works up a project that will be let in a future year.

Ms. Niven asked Mr. Austgen if that would be a good method to use. Mr. Austgen responded that it would be a good way to go as it is formulaic; and it is an industry standard, which is hard to challenge.

The committee set the next meeting for August 7, 2017, at 9 a.m.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Buck adjourned the meeting at 10:27 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

08-07-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

August 7, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Buck called the Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Monday, August 7, 2017, at 8:01 a.m.


Roll call was taken and a quorum was confirmed.


Mr. Kil welcomed everyone and turned the floor over to Mr. Taghi Arshami.

Mr. Arshami wished everyone a good morning and gave a brief recap of the previous meetings and an overview of the meeting agenda.


Mr. Arshami reminded everyone that the Road Impact Fee is attached to all building permits: commercial, industrial, and residential. If the Town institutes the fee, it will be made effective 6 months after it is adopted by the Town Council and remain effective for 5 years.

Mr. Arshami advised that the Road Impact Fees that are collected would be credited to a dedicated fund for road improvements to provide infrastructure for future development, cost to size systems for roadway/lane expansion, project demand impact, and capitalized interest. He further advised that Road Impact Fees cannot be used for operation expenses, to pay for capital improvements, or to correct existing deficiencies.

Mr. Arshami reviewed the benefits and costs of a Road Impact Fee and did a recap summary of the findings that were covered in previous meetings. In the last 5 years, there has been an average of 185 new residential units, which increases the Town’s population by 5100 people in the next 10 years. Added residents create added demands for retail and services in the town, which means additional capacity pressure on existing roads.

Mr. Arshami noted that there are significant deficiencies and the level of service is very low. The current road deficiencies are $11 million, and over the next 10 years, the net deficiencies would be approximately $81 million. The population growth does affect the Town.

There are three factors in determining an impact fee: Who should pay for the growth; should the cost be distributed on a proportional or incremental basis; and what is the right amount for the impact fee?

Mr. Arshami reviewed the Impact Fee Options: using a flat rate; a fraction of the base cost; and a graduated rate, which would be a percentage of the fee in year one and go up by a set percentage rate each year for 5 years.

Mr. Arshami reviewed EDUs, equivalent dwelling units, and ITE codes, which are land use codes established by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, both of which are used in determining Impact Fees. In addition, for commercial and industrial, the square footage is used in determining the Impact Fees. Mr. Arshami then reviewed the Impact Fee options using calculations listed on a PowerPoint Presentation for the benefit of those present.

Mr. Cobb explained the commercial and industrial aspects of an Impact Fee. He advised that setting the fee too high could result in a lack of commercial or industrial development in town.

Mr. Cobb used $1 per square foot as an example, which is 6% of the full fee. A 250,000 square-foot development would have an Impact Fee of $250,000, and a single-family home would have an Impact Fee of $312.50. This calculation would yield approximately $4.7 million at 6% over 10 years. At full rate, that amount would be approximately $81.6 million.

Mr. Arshami reviewed the Road Impact Fee in other Indiana communities, including Fishers, Zionsville, Noblesville, and Westfield for a reference point. Westfield uses a graduated rate; Noblesville uses a flat rate of $250 per trip, and Fisher’s rate per trip is $237.03.

Ms. Niven asked what our level of service would be if we spent the $92 million. Mr. Cobb stated that there would be intersections with a level of service rating of D and segments of roadway that may be between D and E capacity if all the development occurred and all the improvements are made. Mr. Cobb advised that intersections need to be at least a Level of Service D rating.

Ms. Castonaros asked if any of the money collected on building permits is currently allocated to road improvements. Mr. Kil responded that a portion of every permit goes to the General Fund. If there is any extra money in the General Fund, the Town Council can transfer those funds to the Rainy Day Fund and use that for road improvements; however, there is not a line item specified in building permits for road improvements.


Mr. Buck opened the floor for Public Comment.

Scott Spevacek (8929 Crooked Bend): And maybe it’s just the terminology I don’t understand, but you said the Impact Fee cannot be used for any existing deficiencies. So in my mind, I’m thinking the only thing that isn’t an existing deficiency would be a new road being built. Is that correct?

(Mr. Arshami started to respond and was cut off.)

So, like, to make a road wider is not considered an existing deficiency.

(Mr. Arshami responded in the affirmative. Mr. Cobb started to discuss some of the issues are farms that are being developed.)

Yeah, but Luers Farm’s not in our (inaudible) into town. Correct?

(Mr. Kil responded that the roadways and intersections were analyzed and as part of the study, external entities impacting our roadways and intersections must be included. Neither Illiana Christian High School or Luers is in town, however, they both impact our streets.)

Oh, I understand that. I’m like, here we’re asking a select few people to pay for many motorists who may not even live in our town.

(Mr. Kil responded that he understands what is being said; however, it is something that plagues our town.)

But – so there’s only, what, four communities in the whole state that do this? How do the other communities get – or how are they making it happen? How are they getting by, I guess, is my question?

(Mr. Arshami responded that the communities that have the Road Impact Fee are growing communities.)

Yeah, and these are huge towns compared to ours.

(Mr. Arshami responded, “Not necessarily.”)

Noblesville, Zionsville, Fishers.

(Mr. Arshami responded that Fishers’ population is about 90,000.)

Yeah, so – I mean, they’re – okay. I don’t know exactly, but I know – I know they’re pretty well populated. So that was the only question I had was what the existing –

(Mr. Arshami explained that the logic is that existing residents should not have to pay for something that they didn’t create.)

I moved in just in time, I guess. You answered my question. Thanks.

Joe Lenehan (Olthof Homes): I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to come here today and listen to this presentation and hear, kind of, your feedback with each other about how we’re going to work our way through this. So, um, I have a few specific comments about just, kind of, the methodology, and all that; but really in general, what I was really hoping to do was come to you today and ask if we can, uh, have a little bit more time, uh, to look into this. Uh, so that’s really the first and most important thing I’d like to ask you.

I’ve known about the details of this for six days, and it just hasn’t been enough time. Frankly, I was out of town. That’s not your problem, but I was out of town Thursday and Friday, so really four days I’ve had to really, um, work my way through this; and I’ve got lots of questions. And after I had a chance to look at the slides, and I was trying to work through some of these things, so that’s what I would really ask you to do is that you not make a recommendation today and give us just a little bit more time to digest this, if you would.

But a couple of the things – and I brought these up at the meeting that we were, uh, invited to – and I made clear then – I want to make it clear again, I – I am not saying that Denny calculated anything wrong, uh, but his assumptions are based on bringing roads up, lots of roads up to certain levels of service, which involves very specific construction projects, you know, multiple lanes, turn lanes, things like that.

And I think – I think we know that many of those things won’t happen. In other words, he’s charged with calculating what it costs to bring them up to a certain level of service. But I don’t think anyone believes that all that stuff is going to happen. And so you’ve got $91 million or so of improvements, which would bring roads up to a certain level of service; but I don’t think we’re actually working with $91 million.

So that – that – and just figuring that out and trying to determine what’s in, what’s out, I just – I don’t have that detail. I’d love to be able to see that before I could say, “Hey, here’s what I think, you know, is, kind of, reasonable.” Um, another thing, um, I think that – I think that there needs – and I don’t know the answer – again, I’ve had four days, but, uh – six days. But there needs to be a broader base of – of funding for this. The gentlemen before me said how are the other towns and cities making this work.

I mean, there’s got to be grants and other – I think, because basically we’re looking at $91 million, which is – which is everything. And I don’t even think we’re going to do it all; and we’re saying let’s have new construction permits pay for all of it. And I just – I would love to see a conversation that says where else is there funding available in order to be able to do some of this work. Uh, I wrote here, what – what are some of the other towns and, and cities – you know, this is a – a minor point; but I – I think that this methodology, just the way of thinking about this, kind of, ignores the fact that I think new construction is cheaper in some ways, too, than houses that have been in town.

By the way, I’m a resident. I’ve lived here since, well, since I was annexed. But, uh, I moved into my home in 2005. Um, you know, when you finish a subdivision, a developer provides a guaranty, so once their warranty expires, you’ve got this brand-new community. And I think there’s certain things about that new community that are cheaper. In other words, theoretically, uh, provided the work was done correctly, the Public Works department isn’t out there as much as they are in a subdivision where, maybe, it’s 30 years old.

So, you know, I just would like us to have a little bit more of a balanced view of: what really is the additional cost; where are there additional savings; how can these things offset one another? Um, and then, as I said before, there’s just a lot of detail. I’d love to have the opportunity to, just, pick Denny’s brain. You know, for instance, what specifically are the improvements in the $11 million, which is the existing deficiencies? And I – and I know he’s done that work; I just haven’t seen it. But he – he has a plan which says in that $11 million, that’s adding this lane at this intersection or this stoplight or things like that.

Okay. So you’re going to start collecting this money, and then I’m assuming you’re going to go to the area where it needs it the most; and you’re going to say, we’re going to – we’re going to take this money from this Road Impact Fee and we’re going to spend it on that intersection. But what if the work for that $11 million hasn’t been done yet? Where is that money going to come from?

I just, I wonder about the plan here, and – and what is the – the – the thought out plan for how – cause – cause you can’t use that money for the existing deficiencies, so how do we, you know?

(Mr. Kil asked if he is saying that we don’t have $11 million sitting in our back pocket right now.)

Actually, I think you’re – you’re saying that, so.

(Mr. Kil stated that we are applying for the grants that are available. The Community Crossing Grant is helping us, which is a matching fund grant, but we still have to come up with our portion.)

I understand. That’s, kind of, my point.

(Mr. Kil explained that we have general maintenance with repaving roads and replacing curbs, and this year, there are about $700,000 in general maintenance items to be done. We don’t have $11 million right now, but we use whatever money we have available.)

Yeah. I understand. I’m just saying that I think it makes sense, as a resident and then also as working for a company which would pay this fee, to see, sort of, a detail – a detailed plan. And even though it might not go just like that, because what I think would happen – I – I think what I hear you telling me is the statute would not allow you to use any of the money that you generate from this fee to work on those existing deficiencies. But I’m assuming those existing deficiencies, it would be safe to assume, are the things that most need attention right now.

So, if you collect 200 homes times whatever in the first year, you’ve got this money. You can’t use it for that stuff, so you’re going to go use it to do something which isn’t needed quite as much, which, you know, you got to do what you got to do. At that point, you’ve got the money, and you can spend it on – but I’m just saying, like, that just doesn't seem like a really good plan. And that maybe that’s not the way it works. I don’t know.

As I thought this through over the last few days, I was trying to figure out, like, what – how – how – how do you spend the money on the most needed things if you’re not allowed to spend it on that? And it might just be a matter of getting it – more of an education, which is the reason I’d really like some more time to just be able to talk with you all, and Steve and Denny and – so those – those are my thoughts.

John Lotton (The Gates of St. John): And, uh, while we’re talking here, I texted one of my former employees; and currently, right now, in Fishers and in, uh – or Westfield and Noblesville, the building permits are $5000 to $5500 with a Road Impact Fee of $2900. That’s the difference between St. John and those two communities. And he said that Fishers’ probably around the same.

Um, and we’re at $12,000 right now; and we’re looking to add, you know, somewhere between, you know, $3000, $5000; and, uh, obviously, even if you do it at the 50% rate, you will have no commercial development in this town, ever. I mean, you have none right now; but at that rate, you’ll have none. Thank you.

(Mr. Kil stated that the Road Impact Fee could add $17 per square foot to the lease price, which is what people are paying per square foot now.)

I’m paying $12 a square foot where I’m leasing right now in St. John.

Discussion ensued regarding the cost for a commercial building permit with a Road Impact Fee included.

When asked what a commercial building permit runs now, Mr. Kil responded that McDonald’s building permit was approximately $72,000 without a Road Impact Fee. Mr. Cobb advised that roughly the Road Impact Fee would add an additional $60,000.

Mr. Arshami explained that an Impact Fee Review Board can review and reduce fees for commercial.

Mr. Kil advised that the commercial requires no services from the community, but it generates our tax base, which lowers the residential property-tax rate.

Ms. Niven asked if implementing a Road Impact Fee could prevent commercial development from coming into town. Mr. Kil responded that they were all selected to be on the Impact Fee Advisory Committee as specialists in development and real estate because they have a better concept of what would affect the market.

Derek Pritchett (Schilling Construction): I just wanted to point out two things. Uh, Mr. Lotton already pointed out the other two towns. I was able to find Fishers’, uh, fee schedule online. Uh, residential is $850 at a rate of 20 cents per square foot, with bridge, park, road impaction fees and then $75 for an additional basing; so very, very small.

(Mr. Arshami stated that they have looked at the same thing. The $850 is the building permit.)


(Discussion ensued with over talking, which was not transcribed due to numerous inaudible comments.)

And one additional thing, going back to commercial, we’re currently in a project, three retail space, 4000 square feet plus, with all impaction fees was $32,000 in Lake County.

Doug Terpstra (Wingate Development): I think, based on what these guys were talking about, um, the analytics that, that the Plan Commission needs or the – this ad hoc committee – is the effective cost of raising this permit. And there’s going to be a decrease in permits that are issued. I mean, we know, with whether it’s a cigarette tax or a beverage tax, it’s going to go down. You have to – how they pick these out – maybe they’re saying they’re a lot like St. John.

We compete against Schererville; we compete against Crown Point; we compete against Cedar Lake; we compete against Lowell. I didn’t hear anything on compares of these permit fees compared to what we’re already paying. We already know we’re the highest around; and you know, where are the permits going to drop that’s supposed to be paying for this?

This type of consultant that you got, for me, just shows us how to get to that money; but it doesn't say it’s ever going to happen. It just shows a way at it. If everything goes as it’s done, you’ll get there. So I think we have to look at how this is going to affect the Town and the number of permits issued. Thanks.

Jack Slager (Schilling Development): I’m also a resident of St. John. Um, I’ll – I’ll echo what, uh, Joe Lenehan from Olthof said earlier. Um, we were invited to the meeting six days ago, and it – it was the first chance that we had to see or hear any of these numbers. Um, as Doug just said, we – we do anticipate that it will drop permits in the Town of St. John with – with a sizeable Impact Fee.

Um, we would like some more time to analyze it, figure out what other options there are for raising this money; and, um, I – I don't know if we’re – we’re not – I don’t know that anybody’s necessarily arguing that it needs to be zero. But there needs to be a happy medium that’s not going to affect future development, because we know the towns around us are not going to stop growing. Cedar Lake, Crown Point, unincorporated Lake County, Schererville, and – and – and that traffic is still going to go through our town whether we have our normal 200 permits or we go down to zero.

We, if we enact this, uh, $5500 Impact Fee and our permits drop from 200 a year to 20, um, we’re still going to get that traffic from the neighboring towns, so we need to see what other options there are to pay, uh, for these road improvements. And we’d love to be involved in that process, but we – we need more than six days to analyze all this. So, um, we would ask that there be some more time put into this. Thank you.

(Mr. Kil responded that without the miscellaneous revenue, we wouldn’t have a healthy cash balance in our general fund, which means the Town Council wouldn’t have the money to apply for a matching grant. There’s a double-edge sword because, if we go down from 200 to 20 and everybody goes outside of St. John, we are going to still have the same problems.)

Yeah, what I believe, we could actually go backwards; and we could actually go backwards, yeah. I believe you threw out the figure of 25% of your Town’s normal budget comes from building permits; so not only would a decrease in permits not allow us to improve the roads, but it might affect other services as well.

(Mr. Kil advised that the Town Budget must be looked at as a big picture. Every year when the budget is made, the tax levy the Town has is not sufficient to fund the Town Budget. It’s tax revenue plus miscellaneous revenue, i.e. permit fees, that funds the Town’s Budget. Mr. Kil advised that during the recession, the Town had to cut staff and get to a level to sustain the Town; as a result, we run lean now. During the recession, we issued less than 60 permits a year; so we couldn’t pave a road, hire new employees, and we had to watch every single penny.)

Yeah; so thank you.

(Mr. Buck asked how much time the developers need to digest this information.)

We were just told, uh, last Tuesday – whatever day we met – last Tuesday, we we’re told that there was a vote being taken today. Um, so I don’t know if you guys have a normal meeting schedule. If you’re going to meet again in 30 days.

(Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Buck is asking how much time the developers would need to digest this information if the committee does not take a vote today.)

I would say 30 days, at a minimum; but I mean, as much time as you’ll allow us. I – I, honestly, I don’t know how long this process has been going on already cause we just got brought in six days ago.

(Mr. Kil stated that it is has taken four months to get to the number that Mr. Cobb is talking about.)

And – and I believe you just heard the number, for the first time, last week. Or maybe you’re all hearing it for the first time.

(Mr. Kil responded that they heard the number for the first time at the last meeting.)

(Mr. Lenehan asked from the audience if the Impact Fee Advisory Committee meets on a regular schedule. Mr. Kil responded that there is not a normal monthly meeting because the Impact Fee Advisory Committee stops meeting once this process is concluded. After that time, they turn into the Impact Review Committee, which will only meet when there is a request for an Impact Fee review.)

Motion to grant a 30-day extension to gather information by Mr. Frassinone. Seconded by Ms. Niven. Motion carries unanimously.

Ms. Niven asked what the Town will do when it runs out of land and doesn't have building permits to make up the deficit in the budget. Mr. Kil stated that the ultimate buildout of the community should take about 30 years.

Ms. Niven asked what happens if another recession hits. Mr. Kil stated that more staff would be cut, and the impact on the General Fund is lessened until the Town gets down to where the community could be sustained; however, building a strong commercial tax base keeps tax rates low. St. John has the lowest tax rate in the county next to Winfield.

Mr. Arshami stated that he and Mr. Cobb agreed to come back if that is what the committee is interested in doing.

Mr. Spevacek asked from his seat what zoning is taken into consideration when calculating the density for new subdivisions. Mr. Arshami responded that the zoning is based on what the current zoning is on the Zoning Map in the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Spevacek asked the implications on the tax rolls and roads when a subdivision has less new houses built due to requiring it to be only R-1 zoning. Mr. Kil responded that the same roads still have to be maintained.

Mr. Spevacek countered that an R-2 lot is a big lot in St. John. Mr. Kil noted that whatever is currently listed on the Zoning Map is what was used as they can’t anticipate zoning changes.

The committee agreed that September 11 would be the next meeting.

Mr. Lotton approached the microphone and stated that he had recommended that a good time to implement this fee would be in 2024 when the Sewer Recapture Fee falls off, which would be less of a shock to developers. He then asked the Impact Fee Advisory Committee to consider that information before the next meeting.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Buck adjourned the meeting at 9:12 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

09-11-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

September 11, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Buck called the Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Monday, September 11, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.


Roll call was taken and a quorum was confirmed.


Mr. Arshami welcomed everyone, briefly recapped the previous meetings, and previewed the meeting agenda.


Mr. Arshami discussed the options for establishing the Impact Fee with examples using a net cost per trip of $487.73. He advised that a residential household generates 11.16 trips per day. Multiplying the net cost per trip by the number of trips generated equals $5,443.09, which is the impact cost of a single-family home.

Mr. Arshami advised that he contacted INDOT and that their increase are calculated at 3% per year, which would allow the rate to stay constant with the rate of inflation.

Mr. Arshami showed a slide with what the other communities in Indiana charge for building permits including all fees. He cautioned that it will be hard to compare against these other communities as they use a home and/or commercial unit’s square footage to calculate their building permit fees. The chart shown used a 3000-single-family home for comparison between those communities. The road impact fees collected reflected between $1,009 and $2930 while the total building permit fees reflected between $7500 and $9000 for single-family homes.

Mr. Arshami also noted the cost per trip and the road impact fee for each community respectively: Fishers, $237.03, with a road impact fee of $2,257; Zionsville, $106.00, with a road impact fee of $1,009; Noblesville, $250.00, with a road impact fee of $2,393; Westfield, $299.00, with a road impact fee of $2,930; and St. John, $487.00, with a road impact to be determined.

Mr. Arshami noted that when comparing the per-trip cost, St. John is significantly higher than the other communities. Mr. Arshami noted the number of building permits issued for each community in 2016: Fishers, 612; Zionsville, 125; Noblesville, 460; Westfield, 681; and St. John, 185.

Mr. Frassinone asked if there is a way that a rate can be calculated on a home’s square footage. Mr. Arshami stated that the number of bedrooms have been used, but he has not seen a per-square-footage fee; based on the ITE Code, and there are three types of residential units: single-family homes, duplexes, and multifamily.

Mr. Eberly asked if duplexes and multifamily units are less than 1.0 EDU. Mr. Arshami responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Kil asked if there is any way that Mr. Arshami could try to calculate the rates based on residential square footage. Mr. Arshami responded that they will look into it.

Ms. Niven stated that it shouldn’t be all based on new construction and that she would rather see a small tax increase of $200-$300 a year. Mr. Kil advised that Indiana is not a home-rule state; therefore, we can’t just decide to raise taxes. We get what the State tells us we can have, and we cannot arbitrarily raise the tax rate.

Ms. Niven asked if there could be a referendum done. Mr. Kil stated that once something exceeds a certain dollar amount, it could go on a ballot; so a road improvement referendum could be done.

Mr. Arshami commented that he received a letter from the Home Builders Association opposing the Road Impact Fee and that there was an article in the Times supporting the Road Impact Fee.

Mr. Frassinone stated that, at a percentage, it may only add $1000 to a home building permit; but it has a “holy cow” impact on commercial development, which he does not agree with.

Mr. Arshami addressed the commercial development worries and stated that all commercial developers have the right to do a specific analysis with their business and ask a review committee for a reduction in the amount they must pay.

Mr. Kil stated that he doesn’t believe that we should get in the habit of doing review board reductions as there will be inherent problems with it: The board could be asked to meet multiple times a month because developers or commercial businesses come in asking for a review; and once it is awarded to one, it could create a cascade effect. Mr. Kil further stated that he is not in favor of that option.

Mr. Kil advised that a fair and equitable fee should be imposed and not have the onus on an Impact Fee Review Committee to decide which commercial development should pay what amount. It will be cumbersome and put the committee members in a very difficult situation.

Mr. Arshami stated that the State statute allows for an Impact Fee Review Committee, and he believes most of the committees only have one to two cases per year.

Mr. Eberly asked if the language in the State statutes says it “may be” or it “must be” created. Mr. Kil and Mr. Austgen responded that it must be created. Mr. Austgen went on to explain that it is the due process of the law.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Austgen if the Impact Fee Review Committee is obligated to follow the results of the developer’s traffic study data that is indicated, or if they have to consider the data in adjusting the fee. Mr. Austgen responded in the affirmative.

Mr. Eberly concurred with Mr. Kil that it is an onerous process to have to go through. Mr. Kil stated that it can be very subjective and is riddled with problems.

Mr. Caballero asked if it is an option to assess different percentages to residential and commercial developments based on the recommended fees. Mr. Arshami stated that it has to be equal.

Discussion ensued about the legality of having different fee percentages for residential and commercial development.

Mr. Arshami advised that the standard methodology for establishing what is fair and equitable is based on the per-trip costs.

Mr. Kil requested that Mr. Arshami and Mr. Cobb prepare a spreadsheet with various commercial building sizes and what the commercial developments would have to pay for a road impact fee.

Mr. Caballero asked if the number listed in the letter from the Home Builders Association is accurate or close. Mr. Arshami responded that it is inaccurate and should be around $4000.

Mr. Arshami stated that he believes they need to provide the Impact Fee Advisory Committee with another example for different types of use to be reviewed and that they will prepare the same and email it to the committee for review.

Mr. Eberly stated that Mr. Cobb has said the McDonald’s, by itself, can generate enough trips to require signalization at an intersection, where other commercial uses don’t because they don’t generate the same trip numbers. He further stated that a 5000-square-foot McDonald’s will generate a lot more trips than a 5000-square-foot building of some other commercial use.

Mr. Cobb advised that you open yourself up to concerns about not being treated fairly once you get away from charging the same dollar amount per EDU. The way it was presented treats everybody fairly using the cost per trip. Once you vary that, by trying to change the percentage of housing versus commercial space, the more you open yourself up to charges that you are favoring one class over another, or disfavoring one class over another.

Mr. Kil concurred with Mr. Cobb and noted that Mr. Austgen had stated that as long as we treat classes the same, we will pass legal muster.

Mr. Austgen stated that if the board takes Mr. Cobb’s advice as accurate, which he does, and decides as a body that the trip measurement and the cost calculation against that $400 is too much or not appropriate and you want some other number, you have the authority of exaction. Deviating from that gross number, based upon the trip calculation and the cost calculation, the committee has already started deviating from the objective, and the classes within the same category have the same argument right out of the box.

Mr. Austgen advised that the board’s decisions need to be uniform, non-discriminatory, and apply to each class.

Mr. Arshami stated that it is important that the board feels comfortable with the recommendation and that it is important to hear from the builders and developers.


Mr. Buck opened the floor for Public Comment.

Ed Kelly (Kelly Construction, Inc.): I’m twice past-president of the Home Builders Association, and I’ve came up a couple of times here. I can emphatically state I don’t endorse any impact fees, so there was not letter sent that we were in support of this that I’m aware of. I’m at every board meeting. Um, but most importantly, I’m a local home builder, and I built a couple dozen homes in Crown Point over the last 25 years. And you start talking about $5000 fees, all these communities that came up as comparative are down around Indianapolis. They are nowhere near here.

The real comparative is Crown Point, Cedar Lake, unincorporated County. What does it cost them? Because if it gets too darned expensive in St. John, uh, they’re just going to hop to another community; and they’re still going to hop on your roads; and you’re going to have the same problem but no fees you can collect from them to correct those. So I totally understand and appreciate there’s an issue with the roads here in St. John and something has to be done; but it can’t be done just on the building permits cause it’s already expensive.

You know, just last week, I had clients come in, and they’re trying to get in White Hawk. There aren’t too many lots left there, and they said, “Well, what about St. John?” We did a quick calculation and it’s like, wow, it’s $7000 more to be in St. John than to be in White Hawk. And guess what, if you wait till 2018, add another $5000 potentially on top of that. We know in the conversation, it’s not just, you know, one builder. I talked to other builders; and it’s the same sort of story. So, you know, while there’s a good recovery in home building, I think St. John could be doing a whole lot better if the fee structures were more competitive. And we’re moving in the exact polar-opposite direction here. So that’s pretty much what I wanted to say.

(Mr. Arshami noted that they didn’t say the Home Builders Association letter was in support of it; the letter was opposed to the Road Impact Fee.)

Joe Lenehan (Olthof Homes): I’m a resident of St. John and also an employee of Olthof Homes, which is a builder and developer here in town. First of all, I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate your openness to have public input in this meeting. It’s really helpful. I’m grateful for that. At the last meeting, I mentioned that, uh, I wanted to be a constructive voice; and I want to continue to be that. I want to look for solutions.

And one of the points that I had made at the last meeting was a point that you made as well, that I think we really need a much more comprehensive view for how to improve the roads here, as a resident and also as an employee of a business who does work here, that we need to have really good infrastructure. And so roads in the town – or in the state of Indiana are, you know, a challenge for – for every town, every county, every state. It’s not unique to St. John; but it is something we need to be concerned about.

And so one of the things that I’m advocating is that, as part of this process, that – that you would identify all types of ways to fund roads, whether it be bonds, TIF Districts, different things like that. In – in this case, I really feel – I really feel that this could end up being a destructive thing. I had a few comments here, but if you don’t mind, I want to clarify a couple things because I – I think the $17,000 may actually be underestimated, quite possibly.

So as I understand the way this fee is calculated currently, what you guys did is you established what would be a cost per trip, and you came up with $487.33; and then you said, um, and that was calculated by looking at one residential unit, single-family residential unit, making that one EDU, which was 11.16 trips per unit, or something like that. And then you created a scale on that spreadsheet that you had done. You showed different uses, and then you showed EDU Factors. And C-1 on there had, was an EDU Factor of 3.71, if I recall.

(Mr. Lenehand asked Mr. Arshami if that was correct, and Mr. Arshami responded in the affirmative.)

So what you would do, if you were going to calculate that type of use is you would take the 1.0 EDU of residential, $5444.90, I think, times 3.71. Would that be correct? So that would actually be $20,000 – hold on a second. It would be $20,193.

(Mr. Cobb stated that it is 3.12.)

So the spreadsheet that I was given at the last meeting said 3.71 for commercial C-1 ITE 820. So I don’t know what that is, but whatever – whatever you said it is and whatever uses fall under that, that would actually – that would be 20 – $20,193 for every 1000 square feet. So it’s probably – do you know what kind of uses that would be?

(Mr. Cobb replied that it is a shopping center.)

Shopping center, and then like a strip mall or something like that. Yeah, there was multiple commercials in there. I don’t – I don’t know what these are.

(Mr. Kil stated that we only have C-1 and C-2 in town.)

Yeah, C-2 was a factor of 2.7; so that would probably be closer to that $17,000 number, maybe not exactly. So there probably is, uh, a problem with that 17; it’s probably too low. It’s probably more like $20,000, right, 3.71 times.

(Mr. Arshami noted that there are several hundred types of uses on the ITE table, and for that particular example, it was an ITE 820. Each one would be calculated for its specific type of use.)

Sure. I don’t know what those are. I don’t develop C-1. But if that’s a shopping center, say, and you’re talking about a 60,000-square-foot anchor of a building, you know, it’s – it’s – we’re talking big money, millions of dollars, so.

So, and I just think it’s important that we – that we keep the commercial tax base going here in the town too, kind of, as a resident. All the surveys that you see, people want more shopping. I know my wife and I, we’re just two people; but that’s something we’d really like to see, and more restaurants and things like that. And so at 20%, I mean, those numbers were thrown out here. At 20%, you’re looking at $1088 for a residential unit. And then again, using the $20,000 number – I don’t have those updated – but you’re talking about something like $250,000, or something like that, for a 60,000-square-foot building.

Again, I – I don’t build those buildings, but my guess is, is that building doesn't get built anymore. It’s not going to happen. And I just think it would be a good thing for our town if those kind of developments did happen. Um, I think broadening the commercial tax base would be very valuable, as Steve mentioned. The commercial tax base actually adds – adds to the – to the – to the revenue side of the bucket because it’s not – it’s not as expensive, frankly (inaudible).

Um, so, but even if we did that 20%, uh, so that’s about $1000 bucks on a residential unit; and if you did 200 units in town, you’d get about $218,000, something like that; $217,000 and change. And let’s say you raised another, about $300,000 for commercial permits if you knocked it down to 20% – I’m not even so sure that would happen. I would strongly suggest you reach out to some commercial developers and ask them to look at the underwriting of their deals with that extra fee in there just to see if they’d still be able to make the – the (inaudible). They may be able to offer some input into that.

But let’s just say we got ourselves up to $500,000 a year for road fees, then in 160 years, we would have raised the $80 million that this study says we needed to raise. And so I know it’s tempting to say, “Well, it’s better than nothing, now we have something.” But it might not actually be better than – than nothing; it could end up having a negative impact. Probably, at 20%, not on the residential side, you’d probably still get those 200 units; but maybe you don’t get the commercial at all.

I think it’s worth reaching out to some commercial developers and talking to them about that. And then you won’t get their tax base, and so maybe it’s a net negative. Um, that would – that would be a really bad thing in my view. Uh, which is why I’m advocating a – I think – I think we need – and, you know, I don’t know, talk to some other towns and cities. I haven’t had a chance to do that. I talked with Steve a little bit about what the options are for how to pay for roads here in town, the way St. John looks at it, the different branches and things like that. But you just – you’re not really going to accomplish anything. You may – you may end up doing more harm than good.

Also, I hadn’t had a chance to review Taghi’s building permit spreadsheet, so I, you know, I don’t understand how those numbers were calculated; but we – we – buildings in Westfield, and so a permit must still cost just less than $6000 for similar size houses. And so right now you pay about $1200 to $1300 in St. John; and so, you know, it matters what you’re actually going to pay. I – I don’t know. You know, I understand what he’s saying. He has a challenge in that he’s trying to look at their fee structures. But if you just call there and tell them, “I want to build a 2500 square foot or 3000-square-foot house, what will the fee be?” You know, what – “What check will I have to write?” In Westfield that’s – that’s about $6000, and here it’s a lot more than that.

So these are – these are the things I’m looking at. You know, I mean, I want – I want good infrastructure here. I live here; I plan on staying here. I would love it if my kids would grow up and stay here; and in order for that to happen, we need to continue to see growth here. Growth is a good thing for this town; and so that’s – that’s what I’m advocating. I just don’t think we’re ready. I – I – I don’t think we’ve done all the work that needs to be done in order to be able to know the effects that something like this would be on it. I just wouldn’t move forward right now; and I’m willing to put the time and the effort into looking for solutions. I’m happy to do it. Thank you.

John Lotton (Developer of The Gates of St. John): And also, you know, back in the 2000s, I developed a project – three different projects in Beecher; and they decided they were going to raise the fees and, you know, collect the big dollars off of the developers and new people moving in, because the people that already lived there really didn’t care. So they all voted to raise the fees there, and before the bottom fell out of the market, the bottom completely fell out of Beecher; and I’m still sitting on about 100-130 residential lots that aren’t even worth the taxes that I pay yearly on the lots.

And the commercial that was there, a lot of it is folding up and leaving. You can drive right down Route 1, take a look at Beecher; and it is going backwards. And I think maybe they do ten building permits; but I think out of the ten building permits, probably eight of them are specs. And, uh, and, you know, the year after they raised their building fees, I don’t even know that they ever even received the full impact fees on one single permit because everything else was grandfathered in, and, uh, there hasn’t been a new lot developed in the town since ’06. Thank you.

Nick Georgiou (G&K Development): I am a resident here in St. John; I also own G&K Development Design and Construction, which is a commercial design/build contractor. I’m also on the St. John Economic Development Committee. This topic became publicly aware to me, uh, the last few weeks. Uh, I have more questions, and I’m not totally up to speed other than what I have heard from talking with Steve and others. And I haven’t seen all the items, etc.; but I guess I have more questions than answers, obviously. Uh, because if I understand it, these fees are going to be assessed on permits. Is that correct?

Regardless, so if somebody’s building a brand new shopping center and pays whatever the permit fee is with an impact fee, what happens down the road? Is somebody repeating that fee constantly? If they’re building out, moves out, another tenant moves in, are they constantly paying that fee? If not, are you double-dipping, triple-dipping? These are questions. I don’t know the answers.

Uh, so you have to assess that impact, it’s strictly going to be a dollar-spent item, you know. What are you going to do with that, uh, the square foot cost? And it really has to be tied to the traffic type or the thing, because, otherwise, the only commercial you’re going to allow to develop in St. John is going to be build a warehouse because that’s the one that has the least amount of traffic and have the least traffic impact fee, if you’re going to actually go down that path of what’s the most attractive.

Uh, I did talk with Joe Lenehan. I deal in commercial construction, small commercial construction; I’m not a big guy. A lot of our projects are $750,000 to $1.5 million; and we’ve built in Dyer, Crown Point, uh, some in St. John, etc. And current commercial fees are all over the place in most of the towns, but they range somewhere between – for that size project – between $15,000-$30,000. And if you – and most of these clients that I have, they’re not, you know, big corporations, etc. If I told them, “Your permit fee is going to be $100,000” – I’d reinforce the comment made – they’re going to walk; they’re not going to be in St. John. They’re going to go elsewhere.

Uh, you got to look at where you are in the – in the – from the adjacent towns, etc. I’m well aware because I’ve built residential in here to; and as you well know and you’ve heard, we’re the highest permit cost in residential. Uh, and even running that up has a considerable impact that you have to look at what impact that’s going to have on development.

But I guess I’ve got more questions? Will the developer pay the fee up front or all the permit fees? I mean, would you negotiate with the developer versus the actual contractor building the buildings or houses and the various things? Last is, really, I would encourage the Town, on a parallel track, is look at creating a key infrastructure capital improvement program: How do you fund it? What do you do with it? Maybe you address it that way too; and whether there’s some way to fund the key improvements over a period of time having an aggregate capital program that would go forward and address a lot of the traffic concerns within the town. Thank you.

Jack Slager (Schilling Development): Resident of St. John and also represent, um, Schillings and Schilling Development. Um, residential developer and also own quite a bit of commercial land up and down 41 in the Town of St. John. Um, the Schillings has not typically developed much commercial; but we have been, uh – we’re getting ready to, uh, look at developing more of our commercial land up and down 41 as the demand is there.

Um, and there currently is a restaurant looking at one of our sites; and I know Steve has talked to them; and already, they’re – one of their biggest hurdles in coming to the Town of St. John is the permit fee. Right now, it’s – I – I believe they told me it was going to be $91,000; and they’re having trouble, um, making that work to – to bring that restaurant here. And we, again, we’d all like to see more restaurants here.

Um, I’m going to echo what some of the other guys said; um, even after today’s presentation, I think we have more questions than answers. Um, we – we’re not opposed to some fee at some point, but it needs to be part of a comprehensive road improvement plan that says, um, this is – this is what the fees are going to be; this is what they’re going to represent. Not just that this money is going to go into an account or a pot somewhere that is going to build up over time and hopefully someday it’s going to be spent on some road somewhere in town.

Um, how is this money going to be leveraged with other multiple funding sources? I heard a referendum today, grants, bonds, TIF money. Uh, how is that all going to work and how can it – how can that – these funds be maximized to actually get some roads improved in this town?

Um, if we have to convince our buyers that, hey, there’s an extra $1000 or $5000 on – on their permit, what – how do we – how do we sell that to a buyer in a home, um, saying, look, you’re paying more than any other town:; but for that fee, 93rd Avenue is going to be widened in the year 2020, um, or – or something to that effect, rather than all this money is just going to go into a pot and hopefully someday get spent on a road?

So, um, we’d like to see it, again, a comprehensive road improvement plan and, um, how is this money going to be leveraged, uh, with other funds available, um, sources of funds to actually do some roads and what roads are going to be done and what time. Uh, that would be great to have that all in this part of the plan. That’s all I have. Thank you.

Joe Hero (11723 South Oakridge Drive): Forty-one years here. I think you’re being manipulated through this whole process. Uh, I look at the makeup of the board, and I look up – look at all the developers that are back there. Okay. They have a financial interest in making no fees or little fees. The whole problem with St. John is the roads. Okay. The Town has not – as the developments have gone in, they had a chance to at least get land for the roads adjacent to these developments; but they haven’t done that. They put themselves in a bottleneck now.

The road – there’s – everybody complain – the number one issue is roads in St. John. Okay. So somewhere here, the town fathers decided to support hiring an engineering firm, or whatever you want to call the consultants, to give you a proposal. The problem is, if you look at your own jobs, it – they may be tied to building and development. And you look at all those developers back there, they have a financial interest in this; so you’re in, kind of, a catch-22.

This thing has gone on for months and months and months. And somewhere down the line, they’re paying these guys a lot of money to come up with a engineering number that says this is how we do it. At this stage, you shouldn’t be looking at, let’s say, square foot or trying to shift this to the – continue the study because it’s like a basketball game. And you remember in the old days where they used to do a stall because they – they had a close game and they stall and they stall until somebody can make the – the shot? You can’t afford to be stalled anymore.

Everything that has been presented to you is to stall the game, to stall your decision. So the problem is the more you stall, the costs go up to improve the roads. At some point, if you delay and delay, the engineering study’s no good anymore. Okay. So you have to make a decision; and it’s a hard decision because you’re in the business that is tied to the developers back there. If you’re a builder or a real estate person, you know, you got to ask yourself, “Do I have a conflict of interest here?”

And that – that’s what paralyzes you. Okay. You got to step back and forget what your business is; you got to forget what their business is; and you got to decide what is best for St. John because that – that’s why you’re all here. Okay. And the way I look at it is very simple: We did an engineering study. They did a calculation. If we try to deviate from the calculation, you open yourself up for challenges, or you open the Town up to say that whatever you pick is – is illegal, it’s arbitrary, capricious. Okay.

They – they gave you a number; they gave you a solid calculation. Okay. I know you’re under a lot of pressure with the builders and developers. That – that’s part of your dilemma; but anything you – if you deviate from what the engineering guys have told you, the consultants, then your decision is arbitrary and capricious and opens up the Town for challenge. And the worst thing that can happen is we spend all this money and come up with a formula that is half-baked, not equal and fair, no due process to the builders, developers, whoever has to pay this thing.

So you have to get some backbone here and see what’s happening. Okay. Don’t be misled; don’t go into the stall game; and step aside from your occupations so people don’t look at this as a conflict of interest. Okay. Look at yourselves as residents of St. John, because what’s going to happen is this: If you reduce the percentage of what the cost is, you’re going to shift the burden to the individual residents in St. John, because whatever comes up short in the $80 million, $90 million, whatever the number is, you’re going to have to do it with bond issues. Okay.

We’ve got all TIF Districts right now up and down St. John. That’s a great benefit to builders and developers. We’re giving them our tax money in there for their infrastructure. Okay. They already got a sweet deal. Okay. That’s why everybody wants to develop in the TIF Districts. So you should take that into mind that these guys are not hurting. If the guy has to pay more money, the chances are that all the commercial is in TIF District. Okay. They’re – They’re already – that doesn't – money doesn't go to the schools, whatever, till that infrastructure’s paid for, the bond issue.

Okay. So you did an engineering study. Okay. You need to get and look at that and say, let’s pick a number. And if you’re under stress, you know, maybe you pick a number of 50% or 75%, not the 25%, because all you’re doing is shifting the burden to the individual taxpayers because there’s not going to be enough money to build the roads unless you do a bond issue. They’ve already given away the TIF money to the owners of the property that they make TIF Districts in.

And everybody wants to come to St. John. Okay. You don’t need the TIF Districts; but you don’t control that; but that’s already given away. All these guys are still going to make money. Okay. And that’s how you got to look at it. And you’re going to make money if you’re a builder or if you’re in real estate, because everybody wants to come here. And you shouldn’t be influenced, and oh, we’re so down and they’ll go somewhere else. A good part of 41 is – is already bought and paid for with the TIF Districts in the future.

And you need to fix the roads because who wants to drive to a city, a town where you have – you’re backed up all the time to get here. And so I think you need to fix the roads; but most of all, you have to look at what did we pay for with this engineering study. Okay. And this has been going on for months and months. And I think you have to look at the actual cost of the roads because what you don’t set up in the fees, the building fees, gets shifted to the homeowners, because there’s no free lunch.

Okay. Now, all these guys are – they want to make money. There’s nothing wrong with what they’re saying, but it’s all because they’re – their interest is to make money and not pay the fees. But you as the committee here, have to, you know, stand up for the people of St. John. There’s – there’s, what, 19,000 people here. Okay. And I would go along with what they recommend at the maximum or something, 75% or something close to that; and the town will develop. It’s the hottest town around. They’re coming here, and all you’re doing is giving away the local taxpayers’ money in whatever shortage you create by not getting the top fee applied.

And the developers are not bad people, they’re just trying to make money; but so you’re caught in that decision. The decision is do the homeowners pay or do developers pay. The developers will pay; they will make money. They all want to be here, or they wouldn’t be in the audience here asking you not to go through with this or go to through some other stall tactic that delays the fees. Pick a number and get this over with. That’s my recommendation, this as a resident for 41 years here. Okay. Thank you.

Mr. Kil advised the Impact Fee Advisory Committee members that they are on this board because they do represent the building and real estate industries.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Austgen to confirm that they are on the committee in accordance with State statutes. Mr. Austgen responded that their membership is strictly based on upon the statutory requirements and that is why they are here.

Nick Georgiou (requested to speak again): I equate this, what I’ve been hearing, especially from Mr. Hero, to the Lake Central Referendum. Does this benefit all of us or none of us, and who’s going to pay for it? Uh, if we wanted to raise money, I have no idea if the Town can legally have a referendum to increase by – to get funds to fix the roads. I don’t – would equate that to the same situation. I equate it to our property taxes.

I agree fully that we need to improve our roads and our critical infrastructure, but you’re asking everyone from this point forward to pay for it. Yet there’s 20,000 residents who are going to benefit from it. I think if equally spread amongst the entire town – it’s going to benefit me, who I live down the street here, if they improve 93rd. Everyone in town is going to benefit from the infrastructure improvements that are going to happen.

The question is should that cost then be beared equally amongst the entire town and the future development. I think that’s the more appropriate question. It goes back to my point about how can the Town fund critical infrastructures, priority improvements on a 5-year, 2-year, 10-year basis and try and address this in a fair and equitable manner. That’s all I request.

Mr. Kil advised the committee members that if they feel they need certain information or more information, don’t hesitate to ask for it.

Mr. Buck stated that he doesn't believe that anyone on the board is ready to move forward with making a decision at this meeting.

Mr. Caballero stated that he feels it is worth getting more information on using square footage for this matter.

Ms. Niven asked if the information would be something that can legally be used to move forward on this topic. Mr. Kil responded that Mr. Arshami wants to meet with Mr. Austgen prior to getting all this information to determine whether it is something that can legally be used going forward. Mr. Arshami concurred.

Mr. Arshami advised that the existing deficiencies have been excluded from the calculations and that the Impact Fee is only for deficiencies created by new growth. He further advised that the statute does allow for a fee payment schedule to be worked out with a developer if the amount is over $5000.

Mr. Kil advised that it would be impractical for the Town to try and work out fee repayment schedules. He further advised that we need to come up with something that is fair and equitable from the start and not something that has to be negotiated later.

Mr. Eberly stated that the payment fee negotiation is separate from the commercial waiver request that is decided by Impact Fee Review Committee where the developer would do their own traffic study that was discussed.

Mr. Kil stated that we want to limit payment schedules being used so that it doesn't happen every time a permit comes in; that needs to be an exception, not the rule.

Mr. Cobb stated that he can almost guarantee that every commercial developer will have his own traffic study with the magnitude of the dollars being charged for commercial properties. Mr. Cobb further stated that there are people in his industry that will tell you what you want to know for the right price. Then it becomes up to the Town to try and cipher through the information, as most of them will come in with traffic counts lower than what ITE says.

Mr. Kil stated that we can’t put the committee in the position of reviewing numerous requests.

Mr. Eberly stated that he agrees with Mr. Kil; however, the statute mandates that there be a review committee available to review these types of requests.

Mr. Arshami stated that other communities have an application and an application fee for filing a review request.

Mr. Kil and Mr. Eberly agreed that how reasonable and logical the fee is set will determine how often a review request will occur.

Mr. Kil stated that it is up to the committee if they want to act on this or make a motion to request additional information and schedule another meeting.

Discussion ensued.

The board decided to set up another meeting on October 16, 2017 at 9 a.m.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Buck adjourned the meeting at 9:45 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

10-16-2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

October 16, 2017 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Frank Buck, President Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Shirley Niven, Vice-President Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero Denny Cobb, First Group Engineering
Julie Castonaros David M. Austgen, Town Attorney
Vince Frassione Rex Sherrard, Austgen Kuiper & Jasaitis
  Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director


Mr. Frank Buck, President called to order the St. John Impact Advisory Committee Regular Meeting on October 16, 2017 at 9:10 a.m., and asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance (recited and all took their seats).


Mr. Kil took roll call. Members present: Frank Buck, Shirley Niven, Vince Frassione, Julie Urbanski and Tim Caballero. Staff present: Stephen Kil (Town Manager), David M. Austgen (Town Attorney), Rex Sherrard (Austgen Kuiper), Rick Eberly, Building & Planning Director, Taghi Arshami (Principal Consultant, The Arsh Group Inc.) and Denny Cobb (First Group Engineering). Mr. Kil wanted it noted for the record that all committee members are present.


Mr. Taghi Arshami, of the Arsh Group, greeted the committee members and advised that the goal for today is the continuation of the fee review. He reminded them that this process was started two (2) meetings ago. Mr. Arshami stated he wanted to thank the committee members and the community for their input, and that this will hopefully be a short meeting today. Mr. Arshami advised he would do a quick re-cap of the last meeting and then have a recommendation for the Committee. Mr. Arshami advised that the committee will make the final decision and that they will also be informed of the next steps for the study. He advised that those next steps will be affected by the decision that the Committee makes today.

Mr. Arshami advised that today he wants to start with a recap from the first meeting six (6) months ago. He reminded that they discussed costs and benefits of the impact fee; the higher fee meaning the higher costs of whatever is being developed. He noted that market may not support higher development costs, and that is a consideration that the committee needs to take into account.

Mr. Arshami advised that on the benefit side, the infrastructure in place, and what can meet future development needs. One other benefit is the current property owners do not have to pay for the future resident’s needs. And lastly, the construction cost of some of the improvements will be much lower if they are done when other improvements are done, if it is done at the strategic time. So these were some of the “costs and benefits” that we discussed in the past that you will need to consider today, as you make the decision.

Mr. Arshami reminded the committee that he has spoken several times that growth is continuing, Fifty-One Hundred (5,100) residents are anticipated to move into the community in the next ten (10) years, which will create more demand and pressure on the road needs.

Mr. Arshami reminded the Committee that himself and Mr. Denny Cobb have talked that St. John does not meet the level of service standards in the past, and there is deficit available, and he (Denny Cobb) spoke about the deficit in excess of Eleven Million Dollars ($11,000,000.00) for current deficit; as well as future ten-year deficit at about Eight-One Million Dollars ($81,000,000.00). Mr. Arshami advised that in terms of the Town’s budget, the development continues to exceed the budget of the Town.

In our last meeting you asked for us (the Consultants) to look into options of a residential fee to be graduated into different levels. Mr. Arshami indicated that we looked into that, and tried to see if that could be done.

Mr. Arshami noted that Mr. Cobb is here, so he can advise of different rates and what the issue is; however we have identified what ITE has for different type’s residential classifications. Mr. Arshami noted that the committee has this handout material in regards to this in front of them to review. Basically St. John has typically two (2) types of housing; single-family and duplexes, however, in the event there comes a point when you have other types of housing you have the table that exhibits different rates for different types of housing that the Town can use to establish rates for them. As can be noted, these rates can be fairly equitable.

Mr. Arshami advised that they will be making a recommendation to the Town Council, based on a set of findings. This board has gone through these finding during the course of our meeting. It is these “findings at this point” that will be used to establish a fee and our recommendation will also be made based on these findings.

Mr. Arshami recapped these findings as a part of his presentation. He noted that the estimation for population in St. John in ten (10) years will be 20,443. He stated that the Town is currently deficient in regards to growth related infrastructure, which is estimated at the $81,000,000.00. He reminded the board that they have gone through the calculations with the cost per trip, calculated as being $487.73. He reminded that this is the actual calculation and not an estimate.

Mr. Arshami stated that they have met with the community developers and citizens, and have addressed numerous concerns and questions. This required additional analysis. Looking at other communities; and it was decided that the impact fee cost at the full base rate could have a negative impact on the development community under normal process. While you consider to establish the fee, your decision should include the following considerations:

• St. John can demand higher premium than surrounding areas. We have discussed what exactly that premium is.

• The committee has reviewed three (3) surrounding communities that do not have an impact fee, mostly unincorporated St. John Township, Center Township and Hanover Township. A review of the building permits issued over the past seven (7) years in these communities, indicate that a total of thirty-seven (37) housing permits have been issued per year on average.

• St. John is averaging approximately three hundred (300) housing permits per year. Thus, the competition argument of people moving out to these areas cannot be supported, as the Town’s fees are currently much higher than these area.

• Evidence from other communities show there has not been significant detrimental impact on development climate because of higher fees.

• A reduction in fee is a common practice, so you do not need to be afraid to reduce the fee. Such action will have moderate impact, especially towns that are starting the fee for the first time. Although you do not want to abrupt the normal development process that has been in place, a reduction in the fee is a common practice.

• The Town needs to build capacity and to acquiring additional funding, and then carry out projects over the next five (5) years. Mr. Cobb had gone over the selection of the locations, timelines and when these projects can be done. It takes time for the Town to plan and get prepared to consider the projects, and prioritize project locations. These may include land acquisition, engineering and planning.

• An example of this timeline is INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation. They announce a project when it is approved, however, the actual construction will be four (4) years later. This is the process that is commonly accepted practice.

• The Town’s current permit fee schedule includes a $2,200.00 charge for Water or sewer Infrastructure, which expires in Y2022. That in itself is a major burden in the total building permit fee. That burden is already in place and will be gone in four (4) years.

Mr. Arshami reminded the committee that they have gone over what their tasks would be when they started this process. Your overall task will be to review conditions, analyze the provided data, and make a recommendation to the Town Council. In your recommendation you are required to be reasonable and proportional, as mandated by the state statute.

Mr. Arshami continued that the committee is further tasked to balance the transportation needs of the Town with the development needs of “the development community”. This is all a reminder of discussions from earlier meetings.

In providing the committee with a recommendation, we feel that we have created a very systematic process so that the Town can implement the impact fee program. You have listened to numerous comments, and taken into consideration those comments that have been made during the meetings. Mr. Arshami wanted to congratulate the committee for allowing public participation and comments from the development community. This allowed the committee to view the matter in a much more concerted way. At this point we feel that any fee should be “moderate”, and should not be significant and abrupt, and hoping that our recommendation will be supported by the development community. The developers have been present and have heard and seen all the data and we hope that they support the effort that has been taken.

For these reasons, we are recommending that we set the fee at ten percent (10%) of the actual base rate of $487.74 for the next five (5) years. The members have in their possession a table that has been developed, with a column showing the ten percent fee for all the different types of development, with each column starting at one-hundred percent (100%) and then going down to the five percent (5%) rate. So, our recommendation of ten percent (10%) would set the rate per trip at $48.77. With this calculation, a single-family home will be charged additionally at $531.00, a Duplex will be $371.00 and an Apartment / Senior Type of facility (per unit) will be $94.56. That is the impact that will be placed on the proposed developments.

The next table showing potential revenues that could be generated based on different rates, 10-30% and it is important for you to see what the revenue will be for the Town under different rates. These are the potentials. Mr. Arshami wanted to thank Mr. Rex Sherrard (Civil Engineer) from Austgen - Kuiper and Associates, as he came up with the potential number of units that can be constructed. The sample scenario that there are 250 single-family housing, 50 duplexes, and perhaps 25,000 square feet of retail commercial space. There is somewhere around $974,000.00 revenue over the next five (5) years anticipated for a 10% rate. On an average revenues will increase by about $94,000.00 as you go down the column you will see that rates will increase five percent (5%).

Mr. Arshami stated that this is our recommendation and should be our start-up and we need to be cognizant of the development community, and is very important in this consideration.

Ms. Shirley Niven asked “what is the difference between a Convenience Store / Gas Station and Retail / Commercial”. Mr. Cobb replied that a gas station with a convenience store is what you typically see being developed now. The other was the forerunner of that, as was the old Seven-Elevens, where it was a convenience store, but they also had gas pumps.

Ms. Niven asked about the multiplier of 25.97 versus a shopping center going 3.28. Mr. Arshami advised that the numbers are ITE factor numbers, so basically they are number of trips generated by each on thousand square feet of the space which is the numerical factor. Mr. Arshami further advised that a gas station has eight times more number of trips, car coming and parking, rather than a regular shopping center, on a unit by unit basis.

Mr. Kil asked the committee to start at the top of the list, and look at the recommended ten percent (10%) single-family home. Five Hundred and thirty-one dollars and four cents ($531.04) per permit is what the fee would be recommended. Mr. Kil then reiterated that the Duplex is Three Hundred Seventy-One Dollars and fifty-nine cents ($371.59) per permit; and finally Ninety-Four Dollars fifty-six cents ($94.56) per Townhouse unit. Mr. Kil stated that the Town is predominantly single family.

Mr. Caballero asked Mr. Arshami that if the committee implemented this fee, will any developer or owner have the opportunity to request a reduction in the multiplier; not a waiver, but a reduction? Mr. Caballero asked about a scenario where there is a blended mix of commercial and light industrial. Mr. Arshami asked Mr. Austgen to chime in on this question. Mr. Arshami advised that once the ordinance is written, the rate is set. But in most cases and also it is in state statutes, every developer can provide their own impact trip rates. In other words they can prepare their own study and provide this data in regards to the ITE due to their own special circumstances. They can submit that to the Town for review, who can either accept it or challenge it. This process can reduce the fee that development. Mr. Arshami referred to Mr. Cobb in regards to developments doing their own transportation study during the planning process.

Mr. Austgen advised that the statute permits a reasonable fee, credit process. That process though must be as objective and neutral as the process that Denny Cobb utilized to establish the trip rate, so that the fee credit applied for could be considered uniform. The practicalities of that are that it would be a rare occasion. It is an expensive project to appeal the challenge, and they want to move forward with their project.

Mr. Kil stated that when you look at this in terms of a shopping center, wherein they have seven (7) separate buildings in the center, each building will get charged the impact fee. Mr. Cobb reminded the committee that the shopping center code, the number of trips that are developed, assumes there is interaction between uses. Example is, while one is at a Kohl’s buying jeans, they will stop at McDonald’s, and from there they might even make a third trip to the drycleaners in the general area. Mr. Cobb explained that the number of trips for a Unit Development, like Shops on 96, is going to be figured in one fashion, whereas if you have a “stand alone” McDonald’s that is not part of that development, it generates a whole different set of trips. Mr. Cobb advised that using Shops 96 as an example, anything that is in the Shops 96 would be charged impact fee at $1.74 per square foot.

Mr. Kil asked if Shops 96 would then have an impact fee of $300,000.00, saying they have 250,000 square feet, we have to access the impact fee on the building permit, so would be just take a percentage of the total fee and apply it to each building. Mr. Kil noting that there could be several different building permits issued for that development.

Mr. Cobb advised that the Town could do that, or you just do a flat rate per square foot, which is at $1.74 per square foot. This would be based on the square footage of the building, thus if a 4,000 square foot building comes in, it is 4,000 times 1.742.

Mr. Eberly asked Mr. Arshami about the Apartment / Senior Facility is 94.56 per unit, and is the Duplex $371.59 per unit, or for the building. Mr. Arshami clarified that is “per unit”. Mr. Arshami advised that the unit for commercial is 1,000 square feet and that the fee is based on that calculation. Mr. Eberly asked that if it is less than 1,000 square feet, as he understands from Mr. Cobb, it is the $1.74 per square foot that you can reduce to that calculation. Mr. Arshami responded yes if the development is a shopping center.

Mr. Kil asked them to review back to a slide on the meeting room screen in regards to “a quality restaurant”, does that mean Wendy’s? Mr. Cobb advised that would be considered fast food, so a Chili’s or Applebee’s, a “sit-down restaurant”. Mr. Kil asked if a quality restaurant would be one where you are served at your table. Mr. Cobb advised that is a good way to define it. Discussion continued in regards to what constitutes a higher end fast food, and at what rate that is tabulated for the impact fee.

Mr. Arshami advised that another item that is new and uncertain, as a part of the final report, we will have a definition that identifies; and specifically says what code is for a particular restaurant, with a description of same. Definitions will be made part of the final ordinance in regards to all classifications.

Mr. Kil asked about the classification denoted as “specialty retail”. Mr. Cobb advised that would be similar to the development of Lake Central Plaza, across from Lake Central High School, such as a small strip mall. Mr. Cobb advised there is a couple of codes for the smaller retail and that there is also a code called “community retail center”. Mr. Cobb advised that a specialty retail would probably be more “high end”, and that the ITE definitions that explain the difference between the two, this was what we have to work with. Mr. Cobb noted that this would be smaller developments such as boutique developments as opposed to The Lighthouse in Michigan City.

Discussion ensued with Mr. Cobb, Mr. Eberly and Mr. Kil that those definitions would have to be dealt with when we get to those bridges, since how they are defined can be very important.

Ms. Niven asked about the Water Fee that Mr. Arshami stated would be ending. Mr. Kil clarified that it is actually a Utility Fee, specifically a re-capture fee in regards to The Gates subdivision, in which the developer installed three (3) miles of sewer infrastructure that then goes to the Schererville Wastewater Treatment Plant. That by law is active for fifteen (15) years, and once that drops off that is done forever.

Ms. Niven inquired about the five (5) year timeframe. Mr. Kil advised that in five (5) years that this committee would reconvene and use the last five year’s data, which would supply actual hard data that would show (1) what did the impact fee do (2) how much did it generate (3) what was your actual development, and then Mr. Cobb would take that hard data in order to look at renewing the fee. Also at that time there would be another recommendation from the consultants on what it would be. Right now the figures are better than educated guesses, but there is no hard data since this is the first one.

Mr. Cobb agreed that Mr. Kil was correct that in five (5) years the residential development that takes place, then there is hard data on where the traffic goes. All factors would have an impact on the northern and the southern boundaries of the street system. The other streets are “feeder streets”. Mr. Cobb explained the calculation process of one (1) household and trips per day, however in a more affluent neighborhood it could be more and in a less affluent neighborhood it could be less. All of this data would be used to refine the process that we went through.


Mr. Buck and Mr. Kil asked if there were any comments from those persons in attendance.

Joe Lenehen (Olthof Homes): He advised that from the beginning he appreciates the comments about the development community and approves as resident. He believes that growth is good for the Town, and commercial growth comes with residential growth. Because I am developer, it is kind of in my focus from the beginning, and also wanting to see a fund, capital improvements here in town, by looking at a comprehensive approach of where there might be additional funding for roads, through changes in tax levies, as well as, and primarily from getting money from the Federal government through, or State funding through grants and things.

So, that has been my focus from the beginning. I don’t know whether a commercial, any commercial developers have had the chance to take a look at this. It’s not really my business, I said that at a past meeting, so, I don’t know exactly how this affects them, like a strip mall that 25,000 square feet would be $55,000.00, or about two bucks a square foot. I don’t know how that exactly affects them. From a residential standpoint, of course we would always like to see it minimized, um, there were some comments made about that they, that there are other communities that have,., um, put in place impact fees and it didn’t impact their growth. I build in two of those communities and I would agree with that. But their permit, their total permit cost continues to be about 50% to 60% of what St. John’s is, so, and that is including their road impact fee. So, in any event, I think at this ,., I was hoping to see something a little less, but I think at this ten percent range, I don’t think you are gonna shut down residential development at this ten percent range. It’s an increase cost to the people who are moving here, and so something to think about. And then how does that couple with the commercial, I don’t know exactly, I would just be very careful because every survey this town has ever done, and I’ve participated in those, the residents have always said they want more restaurants, and they want more opportunities to keep the money in town here, and we just want to make sure we do that. You know?, whatever ends up happening, so. Those are my thoughts. Thank you.

Discussion ensued again on the definitions of specialty retail and high end restaurants. Mr. Kil reminded that there will have to be a lot of definitions incorporated into the ordinance, and depending on how the business is defined, that would be how it then set. Mr. Eberly stated that in many cases we do not know who the end user is, all we know is space. When the building permit is issued, Mr. Eberly stated that they do not necessarily know that a Hungry Hound is going in there, or that a State Farm agent in going in to that space, so we have to qualify that and determine that impact fee just based on the square footage and make some assumptions there, since we just don’t know who that end user is going to be.

Mr. Cobb advised that again, you will have a description of this center of the strip retail of “whatever” to go by, and when you approve it through zoning, you are going to see what’s there, and they typically tell you what the typical uses are. Mr. Cobb continued, that at that point you can then identify, or describe or delineate what that is. Whether it is a specialty retail center, a community retail center, a shopping center, by looking at the different descriptions and identifiers for those uses. Then you can pick that use, and once you have that use pick, at the zoning stage, then when a building comes in for that, well that is what it is.

Mr. Arshami advised that part of the implementation, you will need to develop a form, for each, in addition to what you have for building permit. That includes all of that information that you need from the developer to make that decision, and assign the appropriate code to. Mr. Kil reminded Mr. Arshami that he will be needing to development that form.

Bryan Blazak (9099 Franklin Drive): Just one question, that number, put the 541 back up there please. Or, 532, wasn’t the initial charge $5,443.00, wasn’t that the number I got somehow in my head. And you got ten present of that comes down to 531, how’d that swing. It’s way too loose.

Discussion ensued as to previous meetings and figures. Mr. Eberly advised that the ITE number, the trips per residential unit was lowered. Remember it was 11.16, now we have a 9.51, and I’m not sure.

Mr. Blazak: Yeah, we’re trying to get the mass back, it wasn’t a big deal, but now, one other question. That 531, is that proposed per permit, or is that the number of trips for the developer. So in other words, if St. John builds 200 units next year, okay?, you’re talkin’ a hundred thousand dollars of road impact fee. What is that going to accomplish when you are looking at 11 million dollars. 11 million dollars is something separate. Isn’t that the cost estimate of.,.

Mr. Cobb responded that the $11,000,000.00 is the current deficiency.

Mr. Blazak: Correct,., this fee does not go toward the current deficiency. No,. I’m following you.,.

Mr. Cobb: Say, if a road needs to be 3 lane because of a current deficiency, but in the ten year build out scheme, that road has to go to four lanes. The fee that is collected would go toward the difference between the three and the four. Eleven million pays for the three lanes, the fee that is collected is what is contributed toward the fourth lane.

Mr. Blazak: So in other words,., we’ve kind of missed the boat on the 11 million,., currently.

Mr. Cobb: You have to start somewhere.

Mr. Blazak: No, no, no. But, I’m saying that the timing is built-in.,.

Mr. Cobb: If this process was started ten years ago,.,

Mr. Blazak: That’s, that’s my point, cause if you are only going to charge $500.00 a unit, okay.,. you’re only gonna have a hundred grand for this year going forward, and you’re saying that is for five years down the road.

Mr. Cobb: Keep in mind Brian, every house contributes only so many trips, and so you don’t look at this in a vacuum. It is the fee that’s collected over a year, over two years, over three years. And then at a certain point that fee is used toward a project. And we have been able to, by the way we have done this is, we know where Greystone’s traffic goes. So, if Greystone is the biggest contributor to that fee, we’ll be able to say,., okay these are the roads that are impacted. The Town then, at their decision may say, that is where we are going to put the money we’ve collected.

Mr. Blazak: I always figured that the 11 million, that that was what you were trying to cover the 11 million current deficiency.

Mr. Arshami advised that the fee only pays for the growth of the future traffic costs.

Mr. Jack Slager (Schilling Development): So I want to thank the board, and the consultants for the work that they’ve done and for listening to us, and taking the time to review this over the last several months. I would so that we’re satisfied with where it ended up. I won’t go so far as to say we’re pleased. I do believe that it will have an impact primarily on commercial. Obviously we won’t know that impact, but I’m glad to hear that. I guess we’ll have to go through this process again five years from now, and then we could look back and say, what did it do and what impact did it have. I do believe that there will be a negative impact in commercial, but,., we don’t have a lot of commercial development going on right now, so that’s maybe what’s going to continue for the next five years.

Mr. Kil advised Mr. Slager that if a commercial development does come in and they feel that the fee is unfair, for whatever reason. And they have engineering data to back that up. They are more than welcome to present that data like Mr. Austgen stated.

Our zoning ordinance says that you are required to have “this many parking spaces”, well you get a national chain come in like Tractor Supply and they say “well, we’ve got 600 stores, this is how much parking we need we know”. Well it is different from our ordinance, so we defer it, because obviously you have data. Basically you cannot argue with the data. Hopefully, that will go to help what we do.

Mr. Slager: I agree that you have to start somewhere, and now is the time. It probably was ten years ago, but at least we are starting. And in five years we’ll go through this again, and then we have the opportunity to look at the sewer impact fee that is dropping off, and maybe there can be an increase then that does not have an impact more than what we have now. I’m anxious to see where this goes and I think it is a good thing at this point.

Mr. John Kennedy (8661 Tapper Street): I want to state that I appreciate the board for their time and effort involved with this. But as has been discussed, this impact fee is for future issues. As you know we have current traffic issues and people talked about additional funding and what other sources would be available to the Town. Last year, the State allowed communities to pass what is called “The Wheel Tax”, which is $25.00 per car registered in your community. That would be able to cover existing deficiencies that this town has. So as you make this recommendation to the Town Council, I would recommend that you highly consider not only a potential impact fee, but a wheel tax that would be charged to existing residents that have registered cars in the town, but it would be able to address existing deficiency that we currently have in the town, that this impact fee cannot address. Thank you.

Mr. Eberly advised he had a question for Mr. Austgen that just occurred to him. That if the impact fee is ultimately adopted, is it locked in for five (5) years, or if it has a really negative impact on development and the community, could it be rescinded anytime within the five (5) years. Mr. Austgen advised “absolutely”. Mr. Kil reminded that it is an ordinance and would be treated as such, wherein an ordinance is rescinded. Mr. Austgen reminded that the five (5) years is the maximum statutory term cycle of the initiative.

Mr. Kil inquired if there was anyone else from the audience wishing to speak, hearing none, the matter brought back to committee President Frank Buck.

Ms. Niven asked about the status of the Boyer project. Mr. Kil advised that the Boyer Project is waiting for Mr. Boyer to finalize his development deal with Buchanan Family, so that is not moving forward as of right now. Ms. Niven asked what would be the fee for this development. Mr. Kil advised per the exhibits before them, based on 250,000 square foot, their fee would be $293,000, and that is for the whole permit and they will not be ready to pull a permit for at least a year or more. Mr. Kil noted that with this project there would be approximately 7 to 8 permits, and that fee would be spread out over 7 or 8 different permits, depending on what the use is defined.

Further general discussion ensued in regards to the Boyer Project by Ms. Niven and Mr. Kil.

Ms. Niven inquired if they can pick different percentages, such as ten percent (10%) for residential and three percent (3%) for commercial. Mr. Austgen advised that he has not seen that done, it is normally uniform across the board. A different rate would create a greater opportunity for appeal or challenge to dispute, or fee credit request by residential residents paying a higher percentage versus commercial who are paying a less percentage. I don’t recommend it at all. Ms. Niven asked if that is the same for flat fees. Mr. Austgen responded “flat fees make them the same”; then we maintain that uniformity, non-discriminatory, non-differential treatment. Mr. Austgen stated that it would be a prima facia lawsuit, as something that doesn’t appear right, so it would give somebody a good starting place.

Mr. Austgen reminded the board that this will be a recommendation, whereas the Plan Commission will hold a Public Hearing on the recommendation, when it is articulated carefully by Mr. Arshami. The Plan Commission will schedule, advertise, notice and hold public hearing. Mr. Kil and Mr. Austgen also noted for the committee members that the recommendation from the Plan Commission to the Town Council can be altered in any fashion. Mr. Austgen noted that it is a process that we are going through that is substantive and receivable. Mr. Kil noted that the Plan Commission will weigh through their recommendation.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Austgen to go over the role of the Plan Commission at the public hearing. Mr. Austgen stated that the role of the Plan Commission is to provide, most important, more public input that is where the formal public input will be made. This has been a public meeting, graciously and correctly, permitting input from all sources, to anyone that has attended. But a public hearing will be conducted at the Plan Commission where anyone interested will make their public record comment. At the conclusion of that, the Plan Commission will take your recommendation and the comments they receive from the public hearing, and certify a recommendation. That being favorable, unfavorable, amended or whatever, to the Town Council. Mr. Kil asked if the Plan Commission can amend this committee’s recommendation and say they do not agree with ten percent (10%), we want “this” percent. Mr. Austgen advised that is correct, as it can be amended all the way to the end. The legislative body adopts ordinances in St. John, and this will be an ordinance at the end of the day, having gone through that process. It’s substantive and procedural in the process.

Mr. Eberly advised that he thought the Plan Commission was just a conduit and did not realize that the Plan Commission could amend the recommendation as well. Mr. Kil and Mr. Eberly noted that as much deliberation that went on here on this committee. Mr. Kil believes there will be a lot of questions at the Plan Commission then.

Mr. Austgen noted that this is not a “rubber stamp” process, and you can tell by the amount of time that you have spent, and the consultants, and discussion to make the right decision and have it done correctly. Mr. Arshami noted that the Plan Commission will also need to certify the compliance with the language of Comprehensive Plan; that is part of the resolution.

Mr. Frassione asked if they are looking for individual opinions or a group function. Mr. Kil advised that they are looking for a motion from this body, and if there are three (3) affirmative votes, out of five (5), that is the action that is taken then. If there is not at least three (3) affirmative votes then there is no action. Noting that if someone makes a motion, and there are three (3) “yeses”, that carries on to the Plan Commission, and that is when this body’s work is basically concluded, barring the letter that goes to the Plan Commission.

Ms. Niven made a motion for seven percent (7%) fee rate to Plan Commission and the Town Council. Motion seconded by Ms. Urbanski. Mr. Buck conducted a roll call vote for a recommendation of a seven percent (7%). Motion passes four (4) ayes and one (1) nay. Noting for the record that Mr. Buck was the descending vote.

Mr. Austgen asked Mr. Arshami to prepare a report for the committee, based upon this action. Committee needs to authorize signature of that report and Mr. Arshami needs to prepare the final report. Mr. Arshami advised that is correct.

Mr. Arshami advised that he will need to finish up writing the actual report and that they will use the rate that was just voted on, for the understanding that when it comes to the Plan Commission and Town Council, if there are any changes, we will have to go back and revise the report. Mr. Arshami advised this will be the Draft Report and will stay a draft report, until adoption of the final ordinance by the Town Council. The draft report will be submitted to Mr. Austgen’s office for legal review of all of our findings. A letter with this committee’s recommendation will be prepared and attached to the draft report, to be forwarded to the Plan Commission. Plan Commission will take their actions and make a recommendation to the Town Council. Then the Town Council will take it under consideration.

Mr. Austgen recommended that they stop by the Town Manager’s office, once the document for signatures is prepared.

Mr. Kil thanked the committee for their efforts.


(The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 a.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Road Impact Fee Advisory Committee

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