The cost of building will start to soar in less than three months, following a vote by Mount Pleasant Town Council to increase impact fees, and quadruple them in some cases once impact fees are fully phased in. There has been a push in the community to slow growth and to shift costs to developers of new properties. Town Council voted 5-4 to impose a sharp rate of increase, and in a separate vote in March, called for a moratorium on building new apartment developments. This will be the second time the Town Council has voted for a moratorium in recent years on building new apartment developments, in addition to other growth restrictions. Mount Pleasant has more than 80,000 residents and is considered one of the fastest-growing towns in the eastern United States. As a result there has been backlash from some members of the community.
Those who considered the impact fee decision a victory believe that the taxpayers in the town of Mount Pleasant have been footing the bill for too long for developers, and have been subsidizing growth to accommodate for new services and improvements needed in the fast-growing town. In South Carolina, impact fees are to be used to pay for anticipated growth-related needs rather than for dealing with existing issues and problems.
Opponents of the fee hikes were either upset that the rates were not raised higher, or were concerned that impact fees will make building a new home less affordable, or create an unwelcome environment for new development.
Councilman Paul Gawrych opposed the impact fee increase citing the fact that Mount Pleasant fees are already among the highest in the Charleston region. He said many towns do not have impact fees at all. “I think we should have left them where they are,” Gawrych said. Councilman Jim Owens proposed the fee hikes approved by Town Council and stated “the fact is we haven’t raised (fees) in decades.”
There will be a phased in fee increase beginning in July, followed by two more increases on January 1 and July 1, 2018.
- Single family homes will see an increase from $1,860 to $3,850 on July 1, with an additional increase to $5,005 on January 1, then $6,161 on July 1, 2018.
- Restaurants (7500 square feet) fee increases will go from $57,718 to $127,808 on July 1, with an additional increase to $166,082 on January 1, then $204,432 on July 1, 2018.
- Shopping centers (100,000 square feet) will experience an increase from current fees of $328,000 to $706,101 on July 1, then $918,431 on January 1, and $1.13 million starting July 1, 2018.
Post & Courier, “Cost of building in Mount Pleasant to skyrocket,” by David Slade, April 4, 2017.
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