Afton could raise park feeAfton Planning Commission opts to move forward with increasing park dedication to 7.5 percent of pre-development value.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Afton’s park dedication fee could soon see an increase.
Afton Planning Commission agreed to move forward with the drafting of an amendment to the city’s park dedication fee ordinance at the Monday, June 4 meeting.
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.
The proposed change would call for all new subdivisions to pay a fee equal to 7.5 percent of the pre-development property value. However, a minimum fee of $5,000 will be charged. The maximum fee will be $10,000.
Planning Commission was asked by Afton City Council to review the ordinance to see if it needed to be updated.
The park dedication fee is put into the city’s park fund, which goes towards capital improvements in the city’s parks or towards parkland acquisition.
Over the past 10 years Afton has collected a total of $200,000 in park dedication fees and has only spent $149,000.
“We’ve taken in more than we’ve spent,” Planning Commission Chairwoman Barb Ronningen said.
Earlier this winter Afton Planning Commission discussed revising the ordinance to require new developments and subdivisions to pay 10 percent of the property’s pre-development value.
However earlier this spring the commission 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.
“Without a floor or a cap you can run into some monstrous calculations,” Commissioner Judy Seeberger said.
Last month, Afton Planning Commission discussed implementing a graduated fee system; howeve, several commissioners were not in favor of that proposal.
Additionally, Planning Commission requested information detailing the nexus between new subdivisions and park use.
During last Monday’s meeting, there was some discussion on whether or not Planning Commission should postpone the decision until a more formal parks plan for the fees will go in place.
“We should stay conservative,” Commissioner Kitty Kilmer said. “There are funds in there that aren’t getting used.”
However, Seeberger said she would like to see the park fund built up so that when the city is ready to address its parks there is money in place.
“I don’t want us to be short sighted in that regard,” she said. “We should have those funds available for that purpose – I don’t think we should limit ourselves.”
Afton Planning Commission will next hold a public hearing on the revised park dedication fee at an upcoming meeting.