A. February 24, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
B. May 7, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
C. July 16, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
D. August 13, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
E. August 20, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
F. September 3, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
G. September 24, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
H. October 1, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
I. October 8, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
J. November 5, 2020 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
Ms. McInerney made a motion to approve the minutes. Mr. Lambert seconded the motion. Motion carried with 3 ayes, 0 nays and 1 abstention by Ms. O’Brien.
Mr. O’Rourke referred to a presentation displayed on the screen. State law requires this be done every five years if there is already one in place, and each time, you have to produce a Zone Improvement Plan. The key deliverables included examining existing facilities to create the Zone Improvement Plan and the Impact Fee Ordinance. The Ordinance provides the funding mechanism for new Parks and Recreation facilities to support the Town’s rapid growth. He added that the Zone Improvement Plan and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan are similar in terms of the inventory and base level information, therefore, they worked on both simultaneously.
The purpose of the actual plan is to identify capital improvements and infrastructure for Parks and Recreation facilities. Park Impact Fees cannot be used to pay for anything outside of capital improvements, such as, operational costs. Redevelopment and replacement of existing development does qualify as new development. The fee is passed via resolution once it gets to the Town Council. Mr. O’Rourke described the process taken to capture the inventory and identify where the improvements are required. He explained the importance of the inventory and how growth affects the inventory. The other area they looked at was the miles of trails, ensuring it was built into the plan. During the process, they looked at future growth within and outside of the Town boundaries. Another element that was part of this process was an indoor Community Center. Another team of architects were asked to do a high level study of what is needed in the area as part of this needs assessment. It is determined that St. John does not have one, while other towns of this size generally offer some type of indoor facility. It would provide a different level of service as the population grows. He displayed a design of a possible indoor facility and described some of the highlights. The estimated capital costs of a Community Center was added as part of the calculation of the fee.
Ms. McInerney asked if the feasibility study for the Community Center has been completed. Mr. O’Rourke responded that it is at the point where it can get to the needs. The focus of that study was to focus on what type of facility was needed and all options are still under consideration. Mr. Baird provided some information about the properties under consideration. Ms. O’Brien asked about the dollar amount allocated to determine the Impact Fee with regards to the Community Center. Mr. O’Rourke explained how the estimate was derived. Mr. O’Rourke described the use options for the Community Center being considered through the study process. Ms. Fathke said there is a big need for meeting rooms as there are a lot of HOAs. Mr. O’Rourke responded that multipurpose space is planned in that assessment and they would be looking at about seven (7) to eight (8) acres of total space.
Mr. O’Rourke explained how they looked at coverage of all of the parks, such as, how far do you logically expect people to walk to them. He added that the coverage is pretty good, eliminating the need for a lot of new parks. It was determined that, although not a lot of new parks would be needed, more people would be using the existing parks requiring added features, such as, walking trails and outdoor fitness centers. He listed off the different amenities impacted by the population growth.
Mr. O’Rourke explained that an Impact Fee is a one-time charge. Indiana state statute is very specific that this is placed at time of issuance, and does not impact any existing residents. It is charged when someone gets a permit for a new construction of a residential unit. Impact Fees are a way to ensure that developers help pay for the new community parks. The Impact Fee Ordinance, approved by the Town Council, recommends the total Impact Fee determined by the calculations within the Zone Improvement Plan. The Town Council may adopt this or a lower fee if they want, but they do not have the right to raise it. The fee calculated is the maximum. It is then passed via Ordinance, and in this case, as it is an existing fee that is currently being charged, would be extended for another five (5) year term.
Indiana state statute does not provide a formula but tells you what to look at, such as, existing needs and future needs. It has to be shared costs incurred, improving the infrastructure and maintaining future levels of service. For St. John, they looked at compliance with state statutes, existing level of service and how the growth would impact the service. The hope is to adopt this by the end of July because the existing Park Impact Fee’s current term expires.
Mr. O’Rourke explained that in the report, there is a complete list of all of the maintenance items, trails, ADA accessibility, etc., to generate a cost estimate for each listed item, including the new Community Center. When it is all added up, the amount is almost $21,500,000.00. State law requires that any planned spending, matching funds or local revenues are deducted. In this case, there is an existing grant through IDNR in the current Parks Master Plan for Land and Water Conservation Funds appropriating $250,000 to the community to help pay for certain park improvements. Also, in the community’s current capital improvement program for park improvements, there is a little over $3 million already planned in spending, which has been backed out. Essentially, taking out every bit of spending the Town had already accounted for in the next five (5) years. Once all of that has been deducted, you get a new total amount just under $20 million, divide that by the projected number of units envisioned coming into the Town in the next five (5) years, and it results in a Park impact Fee of $3,423.00. Mr. Lambert asked about the number of projected units. Mr. O’Rourke corrected his statement to say that State law requires to project out for ten (10) years. Mr. Lambert questioned the accuracy of the projected units based on the current actual permits being issued on an annual basis in St. John. Mr. O’Rourke responded that it was a mix of traditional population growth with a few population calculation measures when projecting. Mr. Baird explained by looking at the current amount of building permits, it is projected that this will increase in the next five (5) years and that it wasn’t a straight year-over-year calculation. Mr. Lambert asked what the current average building permit cost per residential unit is in St. John. Mr. O’Rourke responded that he does not have that information, but that the existing Park Impact Fee is approximately $1,750.00. The new fee would basically double that, and that is squarely due to the Community Center inclusion. Ms. O’Brien asked what the Storm Water Fee, the Road Impact Fee and this Impact Fee cost will be for a residential. Mr. O’Rourke responded that they did not dive into that information.
Mr. O’Rourke referred to a slide comparing some of the other communities. He then addressed the project schedule of this process.
Mr. Lambert asked if the current Park Impact Fees were used for the infrastructure of the existing parks. Mr. O’Rourke responded that he is unable to speak to that as the Town has had the Park Impact Fee in place for the last 15 years. He did say that based on the report that was done 5 years ago, that would be accurate. Ms. O’Brien asked if they looked back to see how much was raised each year versus what was projected to know the accuracy of the past projections. Mr. O’Rourke responded that the previous studies didn’t provide as much detail on the projections used. They only had the ordinances of what was approved. Ms. O’Brien asked about the total that was taken in each year and Mr. O’Rourke confirmed they did not know that. Mr. Lambert asked if the building permit impact is the only funding mechanism that is commonly used for this type of capital improvement project. Mr. O’Rourke responded that in the State of Indiana, this is the fee that is set up in state statutes for this type of Impact Fee and other states do it different ways. Ms. O’Brien asked whether the taxes funded the maintenance of the existing parks. Mr. O’Rourke explained that it comes through the property taxes and is discretionary for the Town to appropriate the funds. A discussion about how much money is collected and allocation to parks each year continued. Ms. McInerney asked how much was related to the Community Center to which Mr. O’Rourke said it was approximately $12.5 million.
Ms. Fathke stated that they have an opportunity next Tuesday to have a meeting and make a decision before impacting the Town’s ability to meet the schedule on the expiring Impact Fee. She explained that if there is no decision by the next Plan Commission meeting, after tonight, it will impact their ability to collect the fee in January. Ms. Fathke asked Mr. Beezhold to provide the Committee with a synopsis of how the spending was done in the past. Mr. Beezhold suggested contacting the Clerk-Treasurer for that detail.
Ms. O’Brien made a motion to postpone the matter of a recommendation to the Plan Commission for the new Park Impact Fee until July 11th. Ms. McInerney seconded the motion. Motion carried with 4 ayes and 0 nays.
Ms. Fathke asked the Committee members to send all requests for information in an email to her.
Anastasia Lowery, Recording Secretary
St. John Impact Fee Advisory Committee
Approved This 11th Day of July, 2023:
Donna Fathke,Impact Fee Advisory Committee Chairperson
Also present: Joseph Wiszowaty, Town Manager, Mike O’Shea, Parks Superintendent, and Sergio Mendoza, Building and Planning Director. Nicole Bennett, Attorney and David Baird, American Structurepoint attended virtually.
A. July 5, 2023 Impact Fee Advisory Committee Meeting
Ms. O’Brien made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 5, 2023 Impact Fee Advisory Committee. Mr. Lambert seconded the motion. Motion carried with 4 ayes and 0 nays.
Ms. O’Brien asked about the question comparing St. John permit fees to other communities. Mr. Baird responded that the data comparing Impact Fees with other communities was part of the scope of the study, but not comparing the cost of permit fees. Ms. Bennett responded that legally, it is not part of the Impact Fee feasibility study. Ms. Bennett explained that the purpose of the Advisory Committee is to review the specific fee. Ms. Fathke stated that it seemed inappropriate to charge the full cost of the community center to the future homeowners. Mr. Baird responded that State statute created a mechanism to be able to afford a community center. He added that the other option would be increasing taxes. Ultimately, it would be the Town Council that sets the fee when they adopt the ordinance. Ms. Bennett explained that by State statute, there has to be appointments to this Committee, but otherwise, the only role of the Committee is to provide advice. The Town Council is not bound in any way to the recommendation of the Committee. The engineering study is done per State statute as required expertise and the numbers are put together based on the determination made through the study.
Discussion on the various fees and burdens continued. Costs for upgrading the various parks was discussed. A discussion on the Capital Improvements ensued. Funding of the community center was discussed. Mr. Lambert asked about a Referendum on the ballot. Ms. Bennett responded that she had to do more research on the legalities.
Mr. Wiszowaty suggested the Committee quantify the difference in the percentage and what the basis for the decision is, if changing the recommendation. Ms. Fathke provided some quantifying numbers to result in a fee of $2,441.00. Both Ms. Bennett and Mr. Baird responded that they don’t know of any way to collect the funds from existing homeowners and there is no other mechanism to raise the funds for the community center. Ms. Bennett clarified the role of the Committee with regards to the recommendation. Ms. Bennett and Mr. Wiszowaty suggested the Committee create a Findings document listing their justification for the fee they recommend. Ms. O’Brien listed off several bullet points for the Findings Exhibit. Further discussion on the wording of the justifications took place.
Mr. Wiszowaty read the Recommendation as:
Pursuant to the requirements of Indiana Code §36-7-4-1312, et seq., as amended from time to time, the Impact Fee Advisory Committee of the Town of St. John, by its duly appointed representatives, recommends the implementation of a Park and Recreation Impact Fee, to the Plan Commission and Town Council with a FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION, upon a motion duly made and seconded, at a Public Meeting at the proposed rate of 71.3% of the Full Rate, same being $2,441.00 per dwelling unit and that the report upon which the recommendation is premised is attached, hereto, as "Exhibit A” also referred to as the “2023 Zone Improvement Plan”, and “Exhibit B” “Findings.”
Ms. O’Brien made the motion of recommendation as presented. Ms. McInerney seconded the motion. Motion carried with 4 ayes and 0 nays.
Anastasia Lowery, Recording Secretary
St. John Impact Fee Advisory Committee
Approved This 19th Day of July, 2023:
Donna Fathke,Impact Fee Advisory Committee Chairperson