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Plan Commission OKs parks impact fee on new homes

The Shelbyville Common Council is due to take up a proposal to levy a fee on new residential construction to support the city parks.

On Monday evening, the city's Plan Commission unanimously approved sending the initiative to the City Council.

At the meeting, Chuck Lehman, president of Lehman and Lehman Inc. in Mishawaka, presented to the Plan Commission a study done by his firm.

Assuming a growth rate of 1.11 percent, or 249 new housing units, over the next 10 years, a fee of $1,005 for each new single-family home would be needed to cover the impact those new residents will have on city parks, Lehman said.

Following the meeting, Giant FM asked if current residents who built a new house would also have to pay that fee.

“Yes. It's, basically the statute requires anything that is a new residential building would be assesed this," Lehman said.

Apartment buildings would be assessed a sliding fee depending on the size of each apartment, such as a one, two or three bedroom.

Lehman said the state law allowing communities to levy the parks impact fee requires that a review board be established to hear appeals of the fee.

The Lehman study projected a cost of nearly $1 million for parks needs in Shelbyville in future years, and a current deficit of $146,000.

Four items got a priority “A” ranking in the study:  softball fields; park shelters; multi-use nature pathways; and natural open spaces.

No members of the public attended the Plan Commission meeting or raised questions about the fee.

The City Council may vote on the parks impact fee plan at its next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on March 4 in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.

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