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Cal Co Developers Weigh In On New Road Fees

Developers are at odds over the RIM fee program recently adopted by Calaveras County supervisors.

The Road Impact Mitigation fee program, adopted Dec. 1, exempts commercial development, and institutional and medical facilities, leaving residential development to pay for countywide road improvement projects.

Supervisors said a commercial fee would discourage developers and bring commercial growth to a halt.

David Sidle, owner of Sidle Construction in Mokelumne Hill, isn´t happy with the board´s decision to exempt commercial.

“I don´t know that it will encourage (commercial development) because nothing has changed,” Sidle said.

Sidle said supervisors should have charged a reasonably small fee for commercial, which they could adjust accordingly over the years as commercial development increased in the county.

“The next step in the development of this county over the next 10 years is commercial and all those fees will be lost.

“There´s going to be commercial development regardless,” Sidle said. He admits the fees that were first proposed would have discouraged commercial development.

Still, with a $2,400 fee on multi-family residential, it´s going to be difficult to build affordable housing, he said. The fee gets passed onto rent and mortgages that makes it harder to be affordable, Sidle said. “Renters would pay at least $24 more dollars a month.” Sidle said a more reasonable fee for multi-family would be $1,200.

Sidle builds commercial and custom residential. He built the Best Western Cedar Inn in Angels Camp and is currently building the Twisted Oak Winery.

Unlike Sidele, commercial developer Fred Katz is happy with the decision. Katz developed Frog Jump Plaza, where Longs Drug Store is located, in Angels Camp. “It certainly will positively affect commercial growth,” Katz said.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner