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Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes 2018

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Meeting Minutes

04-19-2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

April 19, 2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Vince Frassinone, Chairman Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Frank Buck Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero  
Tom Cummings  
Julie Urbanski  


Mr. Kil called the first Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Thursday, April 19, 2018, at 8:45 a.m.


The following members were present: Tim Caballero, Tom Cummings, and Vince Frassinone. Staff Present: Stephen Kil; Town Manager

Absent: Frank Buck and Julie Urbanski


Mr. Kil thanked the members for participating and asked them to hold a quick vote to elect a Chairman for the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.

Nomination for Vince Frassinone to be the Chairman by Mr. Caballero. Seconded by Mr. Cummings. Nomination carries unanimously.


Mr. Kil welcomed everyone and gave a brief background summary on the Park Impact Fee. This process is done every 5 years to renew our Park Impact Fee. The community has been doing this for over 20 years now; so while it is nothing new, it does need to be revisited and refreshed every 5 years. In conjunction with the Park Impact Fee, Mr. Arshami is also updating the Park Master Plan.

Mr. Kil stated that this is the kick-off meeting for the Impact Fee Advisory Committee, and noted that this process is a lot more streamlined than the Road Impact Fee was for those who sat on that committee as well.

Mr. Kil introduced Mr. Taghi Arshami, Principal Consultant with The Arsh Group, and turned the floor over to him.


Mr. Arshami stated that they are happy to be here to update the Park Impact Fee, which is officially called Parks and Recreation Infrastructure Impact Fee. Mr. Arshami advised that the last time they did this study, the committee had three meetings, which is what is anticipated this time around as well.

Introduction and Background Information:

Mr. Arshami gave a brief introduction of the Park Impact Fee program and process. It is a form of exaction, which means it will impact people monetarily. Mr. Arshami advised that the fee that is decided upon must be fair and proportionate.

Mr. Arshami advised that during this meeting, they would share background information, answer any questions the committee has, and set up the next meeting.

Mr. Arshami stated that an Impact Fee is defined as charges levied on different types of infrastructure or development in order to generate revenue for the purpose of funding capital improvements by that development. As people move in, they demand or require additional facilities, and they have to pay for it instead of the existing residents.

Mr. Arshami stated that many developers and contractors are familiar with the fees typically associated with subdivision ordinances or subdivision development. The Impact Fees are not related to those fees.

Mr. Kil advised that before 1993, the Plan Commission used to require parkland donations in new subdivisions; however, we can’t do that anymore because the Impact Fee statute came out. The courts prescribe the communities must follow the Impact Fee statute and cannot require parkland dedication. A developer can voluntarily dedicate parkland, develop it, and build a park in their subdivision; however, the Plan Commission cannot require it.

Mr. Caballero stated that the town needs parks and asked where we find the land. Mr. Kil responded that the thought is the Impact Fee can be used to purchase land. The Town not only has to purchase the land, but it has to construct the parks.

Mr. Kil commented that we have had this fee since the late 1990s. The Town needs this Impact Fee because the Park General Budget is for operating expenses, and there is not enough tax levy there to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build new parks to meet the needs of the growing community.

Mr. Eberly advised that this fee is only charged against residential permits. It is not charged with industrial or commercial permits.

Mr. Kil noted the upgrades were done at Prairie West Park cost $335,000 and were done as a result of all the new residents moving in.

Mr. Arshami explained Impact Fee authority. The Town has the authority to impose Impact Fees based on the land use regulation, which is subject to Fifth Amendment requirements. There is a legitimate Federal purpose for this fee. At the State level, it is governed under the 1300 series of the State statutes, which was passed in 1991.

The State clearly outlines the process, elements, and methods of calculating Impact Fees. The State requires the CEO of the Town, or Town Council President, to appoint an advisory committee; there must be an infrastructure improvement plan prepared, which is an Impact Fee Study or Zone Improvement Plan, for a specific area designated as an Impact Zone or an Infrastructure Improvement Zone.

The State mandates that when calculating the Impact Fee, the fee must be reasonable. This does not mean it has to be to the dime or penny; the fee reasonably needs to reflect what is being provided as it relates to the level of service being provided.

Once a community approves an Impact Fee, the community has to establish an Impact Fee Review Board, and that board reviews cases where there are discrepancies or challenges.

Mr. Kil advised that in all the years he has been doing this, there has never been an appeal in front of the appeal board. Mr. Kil advised the Impact Fee Advisory Committee that they are the review board as well.

Mr. Arshami stated that the State also mandates that the fees are proportionate, which means that it has to be in accordance with the level that the Town is currently offering to the rest of the community and impose a fee proportionate to that amount. In other words, if the Town is spending $1000 per family for parks and recreational facilities, they cannot expect new residents to give $1200.

Mr. Arshami instructed the members of the committee what their role is as the Impact Fee Advisory Committee, which is to make a recommendation of a fee to the Town Council at the end of this process.

Mr. Arshami noted that the State allows various impact fees, such as utility access connections, park dedication fees, area wide utility access fees or trunk fees, area-wide road-improvement access fees, fire/public safety impact fees, and special assessments.

Mr. Arshami stated that Merrillville, Schererville, Crown Point, and Winfield also have Impact Fees.

Mr. Kil noted that only growing communities need impact fees; if you don’t have a lot of construction, the cost of enacting the Impact Fee will outweigh any benefit derived from it. St. John and Schererville have been using impact fees since the early ‘90s.

Mr. Arshami explained the reason for Impact Fees, including paying for infrastructure needs, which can include buying land or equipment. Future benefits of an Impact Fee include using it as an economic development tool and installing infrastructure before development occurs, as it is less expensive before land is developed.

Mr. Arshami noted some of the impacts associated with having an Impact Fee: It will increase the cost of development. However, there is also an argument that it reduces the cost of development because it provides advanced selection of land and/or advanced planning of the services, which may reduce the cost of future development. The Park Master Plan is going to be used as part of the planning efforts for the community and will use future Impact Fee funds collected to make those improvements.

Mr. Arshami stated that the greatest fear with Impact Fees is that the market cannot support the costs of those fees; however, people have shown that they are interested in parks and recreation and are willing to pay for it.

Mr. Kil advised the members that they were chosen to be on this board as they represent the building, construction, and real estate industries and can vet the information and make a good determination that is fair and equitable, based on market trends.

Mr. Arshami stated that future residents pay for the Impact Fee, which is built into their building permit cost. If there is no Impact Fee, future residents won’t pay the increased cost, which means everyone must pay for a parks program through taxation, or there would be no program.

Mr. Arshami advised that this fee could provide some financial stability to a community; for example, if a community can’t afford to pay for additional public improvements, this fee can help.

Mr. Arshami suggested that the whole town should be the Impact Zone. At the end of the presentation this will be discussed further; however, it is assumed that the town in its entirety will be the Impact Zone, and the balance of the presentation is based on that assumption.

Mr. Arshami stated that in 2008, the Impact Fee was $1,652.00; and in 2013, it was $1735.26, which is the current Park Impact Fee.

Park Assets:

Mr. Arshami stated that there are 36 parks in St. John, 1 trail, approximately 240 acres of parkland, which is approximately 14 acres of parkland per 1000 residents.

The park acreage is broken down as follows: mini-parks or block-parks, 41.3 acres; neighborhood parks, 52.1 acres; community parks, 95.7 acres; trails, 17.9 acres; and open space, 33.9 acres.

Park Master Plan:

Mr. Arshami summarized the Park Master Plan Vision and Mission statements, which focus on enhancing the quality of life for St. John residents. The Park Master Plan has 11 goals to address the needs for park facilities, programs and services, and operations and management.

Mr. Arshami advised that in order to have an Impact Fee, needs must be identified to establish a level of service. He further advised that they have completed a preliminary report based on the current population. Mr. Arshami stated that the determination of needs is based on national averages, and local averages may be different.

The two largest park needs of the Town are for more open space and a civic park. While the Town has a park named Civic Park, it is not what a civic park traditionally is. The needs are broken into a 5-year horizon and a 10-year horizon.

Mr. Arshami stated that they have also studied the parks for specific amenities and determined what is missing or lacking, again based on the national average and not based on what the Town or the Park Board wants. The park distribution within the town is a major issue as there are a very limited number of parks in the northeast part of town. The Town has a ratio of 14 acres per every 1000 people, and the national average is 9 or 10 acres per every 1000 people. The land amount is in excess of what is needed, but the distribution of that land is unbalanced.

Mr. Arshami recapped the park needs of the Town: The Town provides services on a town-wide basis; aggregate park area and major facility categories meet the needs on a quantity basis, but there are gaps in the distribution.

Population Trends:

Mr. Arshami advised that the statistics used are from the American Community Survey, which is done by the Census Bureau. The Town’s estimated population for 2016 is 15,777, which is a significant increase from 14,850 in 2010. Compared with the County, the Town has increased by about 8% while the County had a decrease for the same period.

Mr. Arshami stated that population projection is an important component of establishing an Impact Fee. The growth has slowed due to the recession, and the town has changed and housing is more expensive, which makes the town less accessible to younger families and young couples.

Mr. Arshami stated that they have studied the long-term population projection and the long-term construction activities for St. John and the surrounding communities. In 5 years, the population of St. John will likely be 19,012. He noted that the number of building permits issued has been used in the population projection figures.

Mr. Kil stated that the estimated population looks a bit low; last year we issued approximately 360 home permits, and we are on point to do that again this year. Our numbers are growing rapidly, so by the time Mr. Arshami calculates the numbers, they are almost obsolete.

Mr. Eberly noted that each permit adds roughly three members a household, so based on 360 permits, there were almost 1200 people added last year alone. We are ahead of last year’s pace so far this year. At 1200 for the next 5 years, that’s 6000 people.

Mr. Kil stated that 19,012, the number that shows for 2023, is where we are at right now in actual numbers. We know how many permits are issued and how many certificates of occupancy are issued, so it’s not that hard to do the math.

Mr. Arshami advised that the average number of persons living in a household was 2.85 in 2016, which is down from the average of 2.94 in 2010; and the average family size was 3.17 in 2016, down from 3.25 in 2010.

Mr. Arshami stated that it is important to distinguish between owners and renters. Traditionally, the household size is smaller for renters. In St. John, that number is quite close with renters having an average household size of 2.49 and owner-occupied homes having an average household size of 2.86. He noted that St. John doesn't have many rental units.

Mr. Arshami summarized the population analysis, which shows that the growth rate has been more than 5.5% annually for the last 16 years, which is about 500 people annually moving into St. John. Mr. Arshami stated that park facilities have not kept up with the population growth.

Housing Trends:

Mr. Arshami advised that 97% of all the housing units in St. John are single-family units, which is one home on a lot and constitutes 87.2% of the housing units; duplexes are defined as a single-family home attached, which constitutes 11.3% of the housing units. He further advised that a small percentage of housing units are 3-4 units, which constitutes 0.8% of the housing units; and multifamily and condominiums, which are housing structures with 5 or more units, constitutes 0.7% of the housing units.

As of 2016, there were 5658 housing units in St. John; however, that number is higher today.

Mr. Kil advised that the 2016 Census Bureau data was the data collected in 2015. If we add 2016, 2017, and 2018 numbers, the numbers are substantially higher.

Mr. Arshami stated that they have to stay consistent with the 2016 data for the purposes of this study. And this study is looking at the impact of a single household.

Mr. Arshami advised that the average bedroom count per household is three bedrooms. Mr. Arshami reviewed the breakdown of occupancy: Owner-occupied is 94.79%; renter-occupied is 2.93%; and vacant housing is 2.28%. He also reviewed the breakdown of occupancy based on a demographic occupancy: Family-occupied is 72.7%; other-family occupied is 9.8%; non-family-occupied is 17.5%; female householder-occupied is 7.4%; and 65-and-over-occupied housing is 7.2%.

Mr. Arshami stated that the total of occupied housing units is 5529 while the total housing units including those that are vacant is 5568. Mr. Arshami noted that the vacant housing is primarily housing where building permits have been pulled but a certificate of occupancy has not been issued yet; and only occupied housing can be used to determine the household sizes.

Mr. Arshami also reviewed data calculations on new construction and housing tenure and size comparing single-family detached, single-family attached, and multifamily housing units, including the population counts of each type of housing. The total population count was 15,767 with 13,937 residents living in single-family detached homes. Single-family detached homes equaled 4876 units; owner-occupied units equaled 4726; and renter-occupied units equaled 150. Including “other” types of housing, the total housing units equaled 5529, with 5363 units being owner-occupied and 166 units being renter-occupied.

Mr. Arshami advised that dividing the total population count by the total number of units in each category would yield the household size for that category. The average household size for all units and occupancy type is 2.85, which will be used when calculating the Impact Fee.

Mr. Arshami stated that the new-construction trends were provided by the Town. Including the new construction, the total number of housing units in the town is now 6119, which is a hard number. If you multiply that by 2.85, you are close to 19,000 people, not 15,000.

Mr. Arshami advised that many of these numbers would be used in future calculations. He further advised that the single-family detached household size and the single-family attached household size are both 2.86, so their impact on the parks is the same.

Mr. Arshami summarized the housing trends analysis stating that the number of housing units has increased by approximately 25% from the prior Census; the new housing construction for the last 5 years exceeds 1100; growth is expected to continue, which will consume more land making natural land less available and more expensive. Mr. Arshami advised that this land is desirable for parks and is desired by developers and other agencies, such as golf courses, as well.

Mr. Arshami further advised that St. John is becoming fully developed or landlocked; therefore, acquisition of land will become more difficult and expensive.


Mr. Arshami advised that this committee needs to establish the entire town as an Impact Zone.

Mr. Kil advised that the Impact Fee Advisory Committee needs to determine whether the entire town should be the Impact Zone. He further advised that development isn’t just happening in one area of the town; it is happening all over town.

Motion to approve designating the entire town, the corporate limits of the community, as the Impact Zone for the purposes of the Park Impact Fee by Mr. Cummings. Seconded by Mr. Caballero. Motion carries 3 ayes to 0 nays.

Mr. Arshami stated that the last Park Impact Fee was adopted by the Town Council on August 7, 2013 and this process needs to be expedited so the Impact Fee does not lapse and asked the members to set the next meeting.

The committee agreed upon setting the next meeting for May 17th at 8:00 a.m.


With no further business before the committee, Mr. Frassinone adjourned the meeting at 10:04 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

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

05-17-2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

May 17, 2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Vince Frassinone, Chairman Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Frank Buck Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero  
Tom Cummings  
Julie Urbanski  


Mr. Vince Frassinone called the Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 8 a.m.


The recording secretary took roll call with the following members present: Mr. Vince Frassinone, Mr. Frank Buck, Ms. Julie Urbanski, and Mr. Tom Cummings
Staff Present: Mr. Stephen Kil; Town Manager

Absent: Tim Caballero


Mr. Taghi Arshami from The Arsh Group welcomed everyone. Mr. Arshami stated this is our second meeting of the Parks Impact Fee Advisory Committee and advised that today the group will be talking about the Impact Measurements and calculations.

Welcome; Previously Discussed:

Mr. Arshami asked the members to recall the last meeting was an introduction that provided background information, a discussion of the concept of the Impact Fee, particularly in the context of the Park Impact Fee. He reiterated that it was explained that the State allows several types of impact fees, and the topic of focus was specifically about Park Impact Fees and the way the Park Impact Fees work as it applies to residential development or residential uses, not any other types of use.

Mr. Arshami stated today’s goal is to talk about what facility needs are, what your role is, and what we plan to do.

Welcome; Agenda for Today:

Mr. Arshami explained that the agenda for today includes a quick recap of what was discussed in the first meeting followed by a discussion about the process to determine the Impact Fee. Impact, in this study, means what a single family housing unit would have as an impact on the parks' assets. The goal is to determine that impact and to calculate the Level of Service. “Level of Service” is the total amount of service that the Town provides for all the housing units. Last on the agenda is to determine the impact per new Dwelling Unit.

Impact Fee Definition:

Mr. Arshami stated we learned the definition of an "Impact Fee," which is a charge allowed by State statute that is levied against new residential housing. That charge will be specifically designated for the purpose of funding capital improvements, meaning park improvements, in different parts of the community.

For those who are realtors and developers, often in the process of subdivision approval, you are asked to contribute either in land or in cash for certain public improvements. However, the Impact Fee has nothing to do with that. Any dedication, such as a dedication of a road to access a new subdivision, is not an Impact Fee cost. Within the Impact Fee process, there is an option of providing land in lieu of cash, which is something can be negotiated and is permitted within the State statute.

Impact Fee Recap; Park Assets:

Mr. Arshami stated the community of St. John is blessed with 36 parks and has been emphasizing parks and recreation within the Town. He stated out of all of the communities they have worked in this area, he doesn't believe any other community has 36 parks.

Many of the parks in St. John are small parks, but it is a large amount of parks. The total park area is about 240 acres, which translates to about 14 acres per 1,000 population. The national average is about 9 to 10 acres, so you are exceeding the national average. Many communities lack reaching 8 to 10 acres.

Out of the parks in the town, there are mini parks, neighborhood parks, community parks, and a trail. A significant amount is Open Space. “Open Space” is defined as space that cannot be used for recreational activities but will be used for passive recreational activities.

Impact Fee Recap; Park Needs:

Mr. Arshami stated Park Needs were discussed the last time. Despite the fact of not only meeting, but exceeding the national acreage criteria, among the different types of usage, there is a lack of Open Space. And the Civic Park, despite the fact that you have a park here that could act as a civic park, it is not large enough to meet that national average for specific civic-park activities. That is the two areas that the Town lacks.

Parks Impact Fee; Park Needs:

Mr. Arshami stated a part of our work has been looking at specific requirements on different recreational facilities or amenities within the parks. All of the red entries show a lack of facilities or a lack of some activities in the town. The issue is not a land issue; the issue is actually the need for facilities on those lands. As a developing community, there is much that can be done. One of the reasons that the Impact Fee Study is being done is so the Town can provide and meet the requirements that are needed.

Parks Needs Recap:

Mr. Arshami explained there is an issue of a lack of parkland and park activities in the northeast quadrant of the town, which is a major issue. In terms of facilities, several of those facilities that are missing were identified; and the bike trail is an issue. While the requirement of having a bike trail is met, it is only in one direction; therefore, planning needs to be done to add additional trail that would cross the community as a whole.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Arshami to inform the members that he is redoing the Park Master Plan in conjunction with this Impact Fee. Mr. Kil advised the Committee that the Park Master Plan has nothing to do with them, but that is what the Park Board is tasked with doing. Mr. Kil added that the study for the Park Master Plan and the Impact fee are being done together to help Mr. Arshami make the best recommendations for the Town.

Mr. Arshami stated that they are working with the Parks Department to develop a community survey that will be sent out, which will be an online survey. He spoke about another project he did where they received great feedback from 5200 comments about the parks in that community. Mr. Arshami stated it should be out in a few weeks and asked the Committee to partake in the survey.

Mr. Arshami stated that it was approved and agreed upon that all of the services provided are a town wide service. He added it is appropriate for the Impact Fee to cover all of the town within the corporate boundaries, and a motion was passed approving the same as St. John’s Impact Zone.

Impact Measurement; Service Unit:

Mr. Arshami advised that Impact Measurement will be discussed next. He explained that one element of the Impact Measurement is a Service Unit. A “Service Unit” is how we can measure different units of housing as a single item. The notion is that there is a difference between a townhome and a single family home in terms of their impact.

Mr. Arshami explained, in terms of the impact, there is a difference between a rental apartment and a single family home or a senior apartment and a single family home. These differences have to be put together to create a Service Unit that applies equally to the various types of units. The method to translate these different types of property into a Service Unit will be discussed. A Service Unit typically is a single family home. A Service Unit is measured by the population within a Service Unit, which is the unit of measurement that will be used.

Typically, when you're talking about the population, you have three different items that you have to consider: population, household size, and vacancy rate. The population of the town is driven by the number of housing units in the town. The household size is the difference between a senior unit and a single family home with three kids, which is called a household. The other factor that plays a role in the total population is how many of the units are occupied. At any moment, there is a vacancy rate. The vacancy rate is different between single family homes and apartments and those will be taken into consideration.

Impact Measurement; Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU):

Mr. Arshami explained the Service Unit, in the case of the Impact Fee, is called an "Equivalent Dwelling Unit,” (EDU) typically measured as a fraction of a single family home. An EDU is a unit of measurement and is not just one (1) single family home. It could be a fraction of a single-family home or more than one single family home because it is a unit of measurement. A townhouse is measured as a part of the EDU, a fraction of it. It could be larger or smaller than one (1). When a Service Unit is measured, everything is equal; different unit types are a fraction of that EDU.

Population Trends:

Mr. Arshami stated the Town is continuing to grow. The population estimate for 2018 these are 2016 numbers from the Census Bureau. Everything that is shown to you is information from the Census. The 2018 number is estimated by projecting the 2016 number two years upward. Since it is an estimate, there might be a little difference between some numbers.

The population continues to grow, which is not an issue. Mr. Arshami stated he wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that by 2023, using the Census Bureau's estimate, the Town is expected to have a population above 19,000. For planning purposes, it is important to consider that the facility needs and the general needs are going to increase, and the funds required to meet those needs will also increase.

Mr. Kil commented that the population numbers may seem fairly low right now. Because the Census Bureau used 2016 numbers, their data is probably from 2014. When you are in a growing community like ours, the Census numbers are severely lagging. For the purposes of this exercise, the only real numbers that can be used that are recognized are the Census Bureau’s numbers. They're not our population estimate, which far exceeds these numbers. However, for the purposes of the exercise, we have no choice but to use them.

Mr. Frassinone asked what the real number is for 2018.

Mr. Kil responded approximately 21,000. He added the Town is over 20,000 right now based on the number of occupancies issued. There are about 3 persons per household in our town. If you know how many households there are and how many occupancies were issued each year, the projected population can be calculated. For purposes of this exercise, the Census Bureau data must be used; so if the numbers look off to you, they are.

Mr. Cummings asked how many new permits have been pulled this year for new construction. Mr. Kil responded during the first quarter of the year, the number is well over 100. If the trend continues, that number should exceed 400.

Mr. Arshami responded we are not just relying on the Census on just population. We are relying on the households; we are relying on the housing; we are relying on a variety of data that is not available outside the Census. In order to be consistent, we use the same numbers.

If there is an error in the estimates, as long as it applies to every type of category, then that error is absorbed, and the end result is okay. If they are 1 percent off in population, they are 1 percent off on the number of housing and 1 percent off in the households, so it applies across the board.

Impact Measurement; Household:

Mr. Arshami reminded everyone that “household’ is a factor of the EDU. The number of households in the town is 5,529. And the households are different sizes.

Family Household: There are about 4500 Family Households; close to 83 percent of all the households are a Family Household. “Family Household” means that there are parents and children within that household. Among those families, there is a significant number of children within those households; the average family size is about 3.17.

There are other types of households in the town, and we need to be fully aware of them. Female Households are households with no husband present. There are households that are Senior Households. Both of those categories are each about 7 percent of the population.

The total number of households was about 5500 and/or 5529. And that is one of those numbers that we are required to use from the Census Bureau. The average household size is 2.85. In other words, if you combine all of these folks, senior, female, and family, you will get a household size of 2.85. The other table shows a difference between the rental household or rental units versus family households.

Impact Measurement; Housing Units:

Mr. Arshami stated the number of housing units impacts the population. What the Census provides is the population or the number of households as well as the number of housing units. The number of housing units here is larger than the number of households. The number of households are the occupied housing units. There are some housing units that are not occupied and apartments that are not occupied, which is why there is a difference in that number.

The Census gives us both the type of housing units that are in the town and the percentage of the total housing units there are in that category. So 87 percent of all housing units in the town are single family detached homes. A single family detached home typically has a larger household size.

Mr. Kil asked Mr. Arshami to explain to everybody how the U.S. Census Bureau looks at a duplex as a single family attached housing unit, so they have a clear understanding of why your numbers are what they are.

Mr. Arshami explained all of these categories are set up by HUD, and how HUD defines the different types of housing. He explained that what the Town calls a duplex, which is two units on a single lot, HUD calls an attached housing unit. The duplexes that are in St. John are included in this number (referencing the “Single Family Attached” number). HUD defines a duplex as a two flat. Two flats or townhomes that are upstairs/downstairs are reported in that category by the Census Bureau.

Mr. Kil stated when you look at this if you are wondering why it is showing zero when there are duplexes in town, it's because that is not how HUD defines it. Mr. Arshami reported the total number of units from 2016 was 5658.

Housing Trends; Housing Occupancy:

Mr. Arshami stated of the houses, there are certain number of them are occupied, and majority of them are owner occupied. There are only 166 units that are renter-occupied. And there are 129 units that are vacant.

The way the Census Bureau reports the vacancy is once a permit is pulled, it is reported. They consider that a housing unit and count it as a housing unit. Since it is not occupied yet, it is included in the vacancy rate. St. John’s vacancy rate is very low compared to most communities where the vacancy rate is about 3 percent. The level of rental occupancy is also very low when compared to other communities.

Mr. Kil asked when the Census Bureau is calculating the percentage of vacant housing if they are considering it a vacant unit as soon as somebody pulls a permit to build a new home. Mr. Arshami stated they consider that a unit of housing; and since nobody is there, under the population estimate, it is considered vacant.

Mr. Kil stated we will have vacant units as long as we're growing because they consider a home under construction a vacant unit.

Mr. Cummings asked once occupancy is pulled if it is then considered occupied. Mr. Arshami responded that he's not sure if they follow the Occupancy Permit as data.

Mr. Kil stated that is problem we run into. They do not look at the Occupancy Permits. Typically, you're in a house in four months or so. The Census Bureau goes through the exercise and then does not repeat it for another five years, which explains why we're always behind in our numbers. We're a moving target because we're growing. They can't drop everything and keep recalculating St. John. Mr. Kil added it is interesting to know they consider a home under construction as vacant.

Mr. Arshami stated they follow the Building Permit, which is what their interest is. HUD follows the construction trends and housing construction trends. They collect Building Permits issued locally, nationally, regionally, whatever it is. Mr. Arshami advised that housing occupancy is important for the Impact Fee because housing units that are vacant are not using the parks.

Impact Measurement; Existing Housing:

Mr. Arshami advised there is a difference between renter-occupied and owner occupied. What is important here and it doesn't apply for St. John because of the overwhelming single family character of the community is the strength of the rental units. Out of 166 renters, 150 renters are occupying single family homes. There is no other option for them. He advised it is important to note because the next meeting there will be a discussion about these as it does impact the household size. The fact renters are overwhelmingly occupying single family homes means it is reasonable to assume there is no difference between the household size of a renter family versus a home owner family.

Impact Measurement; Households:

Mr. Arshami stated that we have what the Census says: the population that occupies the different types of housing and the number of housing units; vacant housing units are not included because there is no population in vacant housing units. The total housing units is 5529.

The total population of the Town divided by the total housing units provides the average household size, which is 2.85. The same calculation can be done to determine the household size for different types of housing units.

When looking at this table, it's important to understand that the average household size for a single family home is slightly larger than the average household size of the community as a whole. The reason is because single family homes have larger families. Because of the abundance of single family homes and the overwhelming predominance of the single family home, it is very close to the average; the detached units and attached units are almost the same. That means the duplex units have the same type of family character.

When we get to the townhouses and larger, the average is reduced. Although minimal, it does show that the average household size is less than the typical single family home.

Impact Measurement; Service Units:

Mr. Arshami stated we have the average household size of 2.85, and if we divide 2.86 to the total number of the average for the town, you get this factor (referencing the EDU number). It is so close it shows up as 1, but it is 1.003... If we multiply the housing units to this EDU number, we get the weighted value of single family homes as a unit of measurement. This looks like a 1, but it is not; it's a tiny bit higher.

Impact Measurement; Park Service Units:

Mr. Arshami advised the total EDU of the single family home is 4887, and the actual single family home units are 4876. It has changed just a little bit; the weighted unit of measurement is higher. Attached units are almost the same story. When we get to the 3 4 units, it goes down from 16 to 14; so the weight is less.

When we add it up, 5529 is the total number of EDUs. Mr. Arshami advised it is important to understand because this is the number that will be used. He also stated that all the calculations that have been done is to get to this number.

He reminded everyone that these are all 2016 Census Bureau numbers, meaning they were released in 2016. They usually release in the calculations of the prior year in July of each year. There are still the years 2016 and 2017 of construction that happened in the community, and we have looked at those. We do know how many Building Permits have been issued in 2016 and 2017, which is 232 plus 358. These are additional units that need to be added to the units that were there before 2016. We will add this to this column (indicating on slide) and recalculate the total EDU.

Mr. Kil added, when it says new housing units, those are supplied by the Building and Planning Department here. We do not differentiate. We call duplexes a duplex, two unit. Remember the Census Bureau calls those single family attached, so we're going to have to look at those two terms for this exercise as interchangeable. The reason Taghi is referencing a duplex unit, not single family attached, because we report it as a duplex although the Census Bureau looks at it differently.

Impact Measurement; Adjusted Park Service Units (2018):

Mr. Arshami stated that the two years of duplexes were picked up at 63 for each 2016 and 2017 and added it to get the Single Family Attached number. That is what is called Adjusted Park Service Units. The number of new housing was added to the total service units to reach the amount of 6119. So from 5529, we added an additional 500 plus housing units in the town.

Going through the same process, that was used in the previous table, using the average household size and using the EDU determined previously yields a total adjusted EDU for the Town and that is 6118. Mr. Kil stated that doesn't include the 200 we've already issued this year. Mr. Arshami advised that 6118 is the number we're going to use for a Total Park Service Unit.

Level of Service; Cost per Service Unit:

Mr. Arshami stated next is what a Level of Service is and how to determine the same. “Level of Service” is basically the capital assets the Park Department has. Those assets consist of land, buildings, facilities, equipment, furnishings, essentially everything that the people use. Operational assets are not included in the Level of Service. Essentially anything that is out there that the public uses and must be out there in order to be utilized by people is shown here.

Level of Service, Land Assets (two slides):

Mr. Arshami stated this is where the Committee's input is requested. In order to determine land value, we look at comparables and we look at how the Assessor's Office defines the values for each parcel and come up with our estimate.

Included in the study are 15 vacant land parcels that have been sold from 2016 to now which were evaluated to determine an average. Not all of the parcels are in St. John; but they are in St. John, Schererville, Cedar Lake and Crown Point, very close proximity. Mr. Arshami stated he believes the Crown Point parcels are in an unincorporated area of Schererville with a Crown Point address. They are all unimproved residential land; although, there might be some utilities in close proximity. Looking at that, an average land cost was calculated of about $27,000 per acre.

The total land amount of the 15 parcels is 329 acres. The parcels range from 2, 3, and 5 acres all the way to 20. Vacant lots were also looked at, many of which are being offered by developers. Looking at those 15 lots yielded an estimate of $4 per square foot, or about $178,000 per acre for lots. The lot sizes are typically from 1/4 to 1/3 of an acre and typically sold for $60,000 to $80,000. There are other lots that are larger or have amenities that sell for a larger amount; however, this is focusing on the typical home lots, and that's what we received.

Mr. Kil asked the Committee what they think about that about $30,000 to $35,000 range an acre in the development community. Mr. Cummings stated by the time you tap into everything, and you look at your profit margin, he's looking at $70,000 to $80,000 for an average lot in St. John.

Mr. Kil stated the numbers are going up a little depending on where they are. He has seen some lots now in the $90,000 to $110,000 range. Mr. Arshami stated they looked at those lots; and they are a waterfront lot or they are larger or they have wetlands or natural areas on the frontage.

Mr. Kil told Mr. Arshami he is on target with his market evaluation here. He added it might be a touch low, but you're right there. Mr. Arshami responded that's what he wants to hear and believes it is fair and appropriate at $60,000 to $80,000 per lot.

Mr. Arshami stated we have looked at all 36 parks and treated each park separately. Looking at each individual park and asked if it can be considered vacant land or is it within a subdivision that can easily be subdivided and turned into a lot, particularly those smaller parks in the town. The streets are there; they are within a subdivision; all we have to do is subdivide it.

At the same time, a lot of these parks do have unbuildable lots: It could be wetland, a pond, or just not accessible. Especially if it is small, it doesn't pay for a developer to go and put a road in the back. We have gone through specific site analysis for each park to determine the value based on the assumptions in the previous table. When we do this, we get this number and factor it excluding all of the wetlands all of the non buildable areas.

Many of these parks are a donation to the Town. The developers may feel that the natural area should be preserved, and they design around it so it may not necessarily become accessible. Wetlands are valued anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 an acre. That means that as a homeowner, you're willing to pay extra to see that natural area in the backyards, so there is a value, and we have tried to put those in there. The Total of Land Assets is about $10 million.

Mr. Kil advised everyone the number they are looking at is $10,979,352. Basically, it is almost $11 million for the market, and the assessor has $11.7 million. Mr. Arshami stated as a part of their work, they also looked at the assessor’s values.

Mr. Kil advised out of the 240 acres of parkland, the assessor's office has it valued at $11,677, 000. When Mr. Arshami did his analysis, his market value he came up with was $10,979,000, essentially $11 million; so the market value and the assessor's value are probably about $750,000 off. Overall, that's pretty close.

Mr. Arshami agreed and stated that, ironically, in most cases in the other communities, they are often higher than assessor's estimate because they tend to undervalue park properties.

Mr. Arshami stated if we go back to the assumptions that we have made, that is what we want to get your input on. And if you feel that there is something we need to change, we can easily change those numbers and adjust them. What we have in terms of total assets is $10.9 million for the land.

If you look at the previous tables, there are a couple of discrepancies between the assessor’s figures and what the Town has. Chip is on vacation this week, so some of the numbers couldn’t be verified. From what we can determine, there is an 18-acre parcel that is actually 3 acres. We don't know where it is or why the assessor's office is showing it as such. Once Chip comes back next week, we're going to have to verify that, so the $10.9 million number may need to be adjusted.

Level of Service, Park Replacement Cost:

The parkland assets are determined. All of the parks have been inventoried. All of the structures have been identified and the replacement cost of those structures have been figured; and that adds up to about $5 million. There are 78 athletic fields in the town. The equipment/playgrounds have been cost estimated. There is a variety of equipment and playgrounds that have been identified and cost valued at about $2.6 million. The total replacement cost adds up to about $23 million

Mr. Kil asked if that is Town’s park assets right now. Mr. Arshami stated that is the total at park assets, which is an increase of about $5 million from last time. Prices have gone up, and the land value has gone up significantly. The estimate last time was about $6 million or $7 million. Additional parks have been added since then. At the same time, the value of land has increased. One of the factors that impacts the land values is the fact that it isn’t just a piece of land sitting there, it is a piece of land within a neighborhood which has a much higher value.

The numbers will be reviewed when Chip comes back. And, perhaps, we may need to review it with you as well so all of the assumptions are okay. Mr. Arshami added there are several trails that are on leased land that need to be verified as well.

Level of Service, Impact Cost:

The total park assets value has been determined. The total EDUs are 6118. If you divide park assets by total park service units, you will get the cost per service unit.

Level of Service, Park Cost per Service Unit:

The product of $23 million divided by 6118 is the cost per EDU. Divide the total assets by the number of households in the town and that equals the Town's investment of $3,768.56. The 2013 figures are included to show the difference in five years. In 2013, the total assets were $15 million. Now that number has increased by $8 million.

The total households or EDUs have gone up by over 1000. The Cost has increased from $3,004 to $3768. Total investment per household has gone up by about $700 per unit in the 5 year period. These are all raw numbers and not the Impact Fee. The Impact Fee will be discussed at the next Meeting.

Additional investigation will be done about those sites when Chip comes back. The numbers of the trucks, etc., will be verified in case anything has been retired. That information has been collected until now. The last two tables may be revised based on any possible new information.

Thank you; Next Meeting Agenda:

The base cost per Service Unit will be discussed at the meeting because there are calculations to be done that impact that. That will yield what is called the net cost. We will be looking at calculations and setting up the rate.

Mr. Arshami stated in our last round of this process the Advisory Committee felt that charging the full amount was not competitive for the housing market, and they worked a scenario that everyone agreed upon, and had fairly healthy conversations among the group. He added during the next meeting we will set up for the Advisory Committee to make a recommendation to the Council, which will be the end of your work. Mr. Kil advised that he will get the PowerPoint from Mr. Arshami and forward the same to the members for their review.

Following a brief discussion regarding everyone’s availability, the next meeting was set for Thursday June 21, 2018, at 8 a.m. Mr. Kil advised the Committee that they will need to be prepared to make a recommendation at that meeting which will allow the Plan Commission to get everything they need in a timely fashion in order to review all the documentation prior to conducting a Public Hearing on July 11.

Mr. Kil advised the Town Council would adopt an ordinance on July 26 which will be in advance of our August deadline.

Mr. Arshami advised the members to allow extra time for that day to discuss the Impact Fee that the meeting could go on for two hours.

Mr. Kil advised he will have the Certification ready. After making a decision that day, you will sign it, and then we are done.

Mr. Kil further stated the review was done in order to determine what a fair price would be and to determine what the market would support. He further stated this is similar to the Road Impact Fee process. The law requires a panel of professionals because it is your discretion as to what the actual Town can handle and the market can handle. Mr. Arshami advised the members have what was done the last time.

Mr. Kil advised that $1,735 is what our Park Impact Fee is right now. Mr. Arshami added that is the Committee's decision, and he wants to make sure there is ample time to discuss it and agree upon a rate that the Committee feels comfortable with.


Mr. Frassinone called for a vote of those in favor of adjourning. The Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

(The meeting adjourned at 9:16 a.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

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

06-21-2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee

June 21, 2018 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Vince Frassinone, Chairman Stephen Kil, Town Manager
Frank Buck Taghi Arshami, Principal, The Arsh Group
Tim Caballero  
Tom Cummings  
Julie Urbanski  


Mr. Vince Frassinone called the Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting to order on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at 8:12 a.m.


The recording secretary took roll call with the following members present: Frank Buck, Tom Cummings, Julie Urbanski, and Vince Frassinone.
Staff Present: Stephen Kil; Town Manager

Absent: Tim Caballero


Mr. Kil introduced Mr. Taghi Arshami from The Arsh Group.

Mr. Arshami welcomed everyone. Mr. Arshami stated this is the third meeting of the Parks Impact Fee Advisory Committee and advised that today the group will be talking about the net cost per service unit, the recommendation of the Impact Fee, and setting the Impact Fee.

Review: Mr. Arshami reviewed the process and requirements to determine the Impact Fee, which must be proportionate and reasonable; the level of service; and the EDUs, equivalent dwelling units.

Agenda: Mr. Arshami stated that today’s meeting includes determining the final impact per dwelling unit, calculating the net cost, and making a recommendation.

Mr. Arshami reviewed why the Impact Fee is based on the population as well as why the number of housing units and household size are taken into consideration when deciding the Impact Fee. He further reviewed the importance of occupancy and advised that an average 228 household permits per year have been issued over the last five years. The average household size is 2.85 members, and over 90% of the homes are owner-occupied.

Service Units: A service unit is one unit of service for park needs. The service unit is based on the average household size of 2.85. The average household service unit size is just over 1 unit at 1.00290. First, the multiplier is determined; next, the EDU is multiplied by that number. To get the total number of service units, the categories are then all added together.

Mr. Arshami advised that the numbers used are from the data from the most recent Census Bureau, which is the 2016 Census Bureau, with the housing units that were built in 2016 and 2017 added to that data for the total number of housing units. For 2018, 6119 was the total number of occupied housing units, that multiplied with the EDU yields 6122, which is the 2018 service unit total.

Assets: The assets are the number of units of park services that people are using. The park assets consist of land, building facilities, and equipment. The park land value is $7,414,129. The total for all the land, facilities, and equipment is $19,186,934.

The impact cost is all of the park assets divided by the park service units, which yields the cost per service unit. Thus, dividing the total assets of $19,186,934 by the estimated EDU of 6122 equals the cost per service unit of $3,134.29.

Mr. Arshami noted that the cost per service unit is a raw number and that the State requires additional calculations. The $472,078 of available revenue from previously collected Impact Fee funds must be included. That number is divided by 6122, the existing park EDU, which yields $77.12. That $77.12 is then added to the previously calculated number of $3,134.29 to produce the net cost per EDU of $3,211.41.

Mr. Arshami explained that the cost per EDU is $3211.41, and if you multiply that by the EDU multiplier for each housing type, you get the net cost per unit type. The actual cost for a single-family home (attached or detached) is $3,220.71; the cost for a 3-4 unit home is $2,804.05; and the cost for a multifamily/condominium is $2,362.11. The cost for the 3-4 unit and multifamily units are less because the EDU multiplier is 0.87 and 0.74 per unit respectively.

Impact Fee Options: A flat rate can be charged, or a graduated rate can be charged; which would start with a certain percentage and increase annually over the next 5 years.

Making a decision for an Impact Fee can be based on a single unit where all homes are equal; an adjusted unit based on the unit size and type; the number of bedrooms, which is typically categorized 2 bedrooms or less and 3 bedrooms or more; or a fraction of the calculated rate.

Setting the Fee: Mr. Arshami advised the board to consider the household size, predominance of new-housing construction, a percentage of the housing costs, the housing cost and economic impact on the market, and the ease of administration when setting the fee.

Mr. Arshami advised that the current rate that was set up the last time was 58%, which equals $1735. At 58%, based on current calculations, the total fee would be $1,868.01, which is approximately $132 more per permit.

The Recommendation: The committee unanimously agreed to recommend keeping the rate at 58%.

Mr. Kil advised that the Park Department has no debt at this time; that the 58% fee has worked well for St. John; and that the existence of an Impact Fee allows us to have the cash on hand for improvements.

Mr. Arshami stated that issuing 200 new construction permits per year, over the next 5 years, will generate about $1.8 million of additional funds. Over the next 3 years, the Town will have approximately $3.5 million of impact and collect $1.8 million in fees.

Mr. Arshami advised that the next step is to certify their recommendation, which will go to the Plan Commission and the Town Council. The Plan Commission will pass a Resolution approving the Park Impact Fee, and then the Town Council will vote on it.

Mr. Kil advised that after Impact Fee Advisory Committee makes and certifies a formal recommendation, the Plan Commission will hold a Park Impact Fee Public Hearing on July 11, 2018. Then the Town Council will act on this at the July 26th meeting.

Mr. Kil further advised that he will fill out the certified recommendation, if the committee is inclined to make a recommendation, and once they sign it, their job is done.

Motion to make and certify a formal recommendation to the Plan Commission and Town Council establishing a rate of 58% of the total Impact Fee, or $1,868.01, as the new Park Impact Fee by Mr. Cummings. Seconded by Mr. Buck. Motion carries 4 ayes to 0 nays.


Mr. Frassinone called for a vote of those in favor of adjourning. The Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

(The meeting adjourned at 8:55 a.m.)

Respectfully Submitted:

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

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