Council balks at change to park feeAfton City Council discussed the possibility of increasing the city’s park dedication fee during its March 20 meeting.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
New subdivisions and properties in Afton could be seeing an increased cost.
Afton City Council discussed the possibility of increasing the city’s park dedication fee during its March 20 meeting.
Afton Planning Commission made the recommendation to City Council that the city require a park dedication fee that totals 10 percent of the pre-development value of the parcel, rather than the current fixed rate.
The fee goes into the city’s parks fund to be used for park maintenance and parkland acquisition.
Afton’s ordinances also allow for property owners to donate 10 percent of their land in lieu of the park dedication fee.
Planning Commission had the made the recommendation to move to a 10 percent fee as a way to help build up the city’s park budget in order to purchase parkland as it becomes available.
Mayor Pat Snyder said she was hesitant about the 10 percent fee because it would put a large burden on those residents with large acreage who don’t plan to subdivide.
“We certainly don’t want to penalize anyone for having a large lot,” she said.
City Attorney Fritz Knaak said charging fees that high would be difficult to justify if the property owners should choose to fight it.
Council Member Bill Palmquist suggested the city use a smaller percentage of the pre-development value.
Interim City administrator Ron Moorse said Afton’s proposal is similar to Lake Elmo’s policy, which uses a fee system similar to the 10 percent model; however the percentage is based on the demographics such as urban, suburban or rural.
Palmquist said he would like to consider that model.
City Council directed the park dedication fee ordinance back to Planning Commission for review.
Additionally, Council Member Randy Nelson requested Planning Commission to research if there could be any correlation between the fee and the city’s open space ordinance, which regulates development through open space preservation.