Board agrees to bump development fees to $3,600 for single-family dwellings

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Increase in SDC fees associated with substantial increase in park offerings, including the Crooked River Wetlands Complex.

The fees Crook County Parks and Recreation District will charge builders for development have gone up following a multi-month process.

From Sept. 1 to Dec 31, the system development charge (SDC) for single-family dwelling will be $2,887, while the SDC for a multi-family dwelling will be $2,664. On Jan. 1, 2022, the fees will increase a second time to $3,600 for a single-family dwelling and $3,350 for a multi-family dwelling.

The parks district previously charged $1,887 per single-family residence, an amount that had been in place since 2008.

"Unfortunately, we haven't changed our rate in quite a long time," said Parks District Director Duane Garner, "so it is going to feel a little bit like a big increase all at once."

He noted that the parks board took into consideration some concerns among local realtors who wanted the district to phase in the increase.

"So, they did put a couple steps in place to do that."

The one-time SDC fees, established by state statute and local ordinance, are charged on development within the parks district that creates additional demand on park facilities. They are meant to recover a fair share of the cost of existing and planned facilities that provide capacity to serve future users.

The increase in SDCs was set in motion in 2019 when the parks district teamed up with the City of Prineville to update the parks master plan. The entities turned to consulting firm MIG Inc. during that effort and at the same time, engaged MIG and FCS Group, another consulting firm, to update the SDCs based on that master plan.

Initially, FCS Group determined a maximum that parks district could charge, calculating a ceiling of $42,651 per single-family dwelling, $40,003 per multi-family dwelling unit, $38,627 per manufactured home, and $37,355 per accessory dwelling unit.

The reason for such a substantial increase, according to FCS Group, was "the high level of service the district currently provides for its residents." The consulting firm explained that the current service level for parks and natural areas is 46.78 acres per thousand residents. The district has about 22 acres of neighborhood parks, about 73 acres of community park space and 580 acres of natural area.

"This entitles the district to charge developers for maintaining that high level of service as the population grows," FCS Group explained.

While that is true, the consulting firm stressed that the methodology should be viewed as a maximum, not a target.

"The district is free to implement any SDC between zero and the amount calculated on the methodology," the firm stated.

Consequently, parks district leaders arrived at an amount well below that maximum. It is lower than park SDCs in Bend ($8,594) and Redmond ($4,523) but higher than Madras ($1,819) and Sisters ($1,193).

"We tried to come up with a number that the board feels is reasonable for the community to handle," Garner said. "It will certainly help as we move forward with growth. It will be a piece of the puzzle."

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