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San Ramon council to debate increasing traffic impact fees for developers

Sale of former city hall site, Falls Prevention Awareness Week also on tap

The San Ramon City Council is set Tuesday to consider approving a proposal to raise the fees developers pay to the city to help mitigate traffic impacts from their new residential or commercial projects, with the new cost structure more than doubling most of the current fees.

The fees, meant to defray roadwork costs incurred by the city to accommodate added traffic caused by new development, have not been adjusted since 1997, other than annual inflationary increases between 2% and 4%, according to Mike Talley, city senior traffic engineer.

The fee structure overhaul, recommended by city officials and reviewed initially by the council last month, would take effect in mid-November if the council signs off on the plan Tuesday night at City Hall.

Key factors necessitating the fee hikes include "increases in construction costs of transportation improvements, changes in the number and type of building units, changes in the roadway network and changes in the scope of the city's capital improvement program," Talley wrote in a staff report to the council.

The city hired Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to study the city's traffic impact fees, determine the relationship between future city transportation projects and traffic fee adjustments, and prepare a final report with recommended fee increases.

The proposal would raise the fee developers pay for new single-family standalone homes to $2,174 per unit, an increase of 163% compared to the current fee of $828.

The per-unit fee for new apartments, townhouses and condominiums would rise from $577 to $1,347, under the proposal.

On the commercial development side, new retail buildings would cost $4.54 per square foot instead of the current level of $2.36 and new office space would cost $5.27 per square foot, more than four times as much as the current rate of $1.07.

"Although the proposed fee schedule will increase revenues for all new development in San Ramon substantially compared with current city fees, the new schedule generally compares favorably with other fees imposed by other area agencies," Talley said in his report.

The council is scheduled to host a public hearing on the new fee structure and then consider final adoption Tuesday night. If that occurs, the increased fees would take effect Nov. 15 after a required 60-day waiting period to allow for public response.

The council members are also due to discuss Tuesday the first reading of a new ordinance revising the definitions, calculation and review rules for traffic impact mitigation fees. The ordinance, if advanced Tuesday, would return for final adoption Sept. 27.

Tuesday's regular council meeting is set to start 7 p.m. at San Ramon City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.

In other business

Mayor Bill Clarkson will present a proclamation to Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services in recognition of next week as Falls Prevention Awareness Week.

The council members will consider appointing a new representative to the Contra Costa County Library Commission.

They will recognize the Dougherty Valley High School stunt team for accomplishments during the cheerleading season. They will also receive a presentation on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission summer internship program.

In closed session, the council will meet with interim city manager Joe Gorton to instruct him on price and terms of payment relating to the sale of the former city hall site -- office buildings at 2220, 2222, 2226 and 2228 Camino Ramon.

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