Afton Planning Commission consider park dedication feeAfton Planning Commission revisited the topic of revising its park dedication fee ordinance during its May 7 meeting.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton Planning Commission once again revisited the topic of revising its park dedication fee ordinance during its May 7 meeting.
Previously, Planning Commission reviewed the ordinance, at the suggestion of Afton City Council, to see if it needed to be updated.
Currently the ordinance calls for new developments and subdivisions to either pay a flat fee of $3,800 or to donate 10 percent of the land to the city for parkland use.
Those funds are put into the city’s park fund, which goes toward capital improvements in the city’s parks.
Earlier this year the Planning Commission discussed revising the ordinance to require new developments and subdivisions to pay 10 percent of the property’s pre-development value.
This spring Afton City Council discussed the proposal and ultimately decided that asking for 10 percent of the pre-development value would put a large burden on those with large properties.
For example, an 18-acre property subdivided into two similarly sized lots with a pre-subdivision value at $316,000, would have a park dedication fee of $15,500 per lot.
Another example would be a 40-acre parcel that intends to be subdivided into seven five-acre lots.
If the estimated pre-development value of the property is approximately $500,000, the park dedication fee would be $50,000 for each parcel.
Afton City Council members said they did not feel comfortable putting such a large burden on those with large properties and were instead in favor of a graduated fee schedule similar to that of Lake Elmo.
“The council would like to have those per-lot value fees in a closer range,” Interim City Administrator Ron Moorse said.
Lake Elmo’s graduated fee schedule requires a 4 percent of pre-development value fee on properties of 10 or more acres.
A property of 2 ½ acres to 10 acres would have a fee equal to 7 percent of the pre-development value.
A property less than 2 ½ acres would see a fee equal to 10 percent of the pre-development value. A subdivision with three or fewer parcels would have a fee of $3,600 per lot.
Commissioner Dick Bend said he wasn’t in support of the gradual system since his view of gradual was that the fee should increase as the properties increase.
“Those who can afford larger parcels, they should be able to pay the same percentage in park dedication fees even though the dollar amount is more,” he said.
A second fee schedule proposal that Planning Commission reviewed during last Monday’s meeting would set the park dedication fee at 10 percent of the pre-development value, however a minimum cost and a maximum cost would be set.
“The advice is to not get too far out of whack,” Moorse said.
Afton Planning Commission opted to not make a decision during last Monday’s meeting. Members it said they would like to first see projections on what kind of money the park fund is going to need over the next 10 or 20 years.
Additionally, Bend questioned whether or not there can be any information gathered on how much of an added burden large parcels, and subdivisions are on the city’s parks.
Planning Commission also asked to see fee schedules from communities similar to Afton.
“We will most likely have to make a decision next month with as much additional information as we can get,” Planning Commission Chairwoman Barb Ronningen said.