Oklahoma City is now considering a plan that will raise construction costs for residential and commercial developers. The city says the money will go to road improvements and parks, but builders think the extra fee will drive business away.
The city says with a 622 square mile city keeping up with business growth can cost a lot in road construction.
“You have to widen those roads, put up traffic lights. It comes at a big price tag,” said OKC Planning Director, Aubrey Hammontree.
The city is now considering charging an impact fee to developers that would generate $6.7 million for road construction and $2 million for parks every year. But commercial developers in particular feel bombarded with fees that cost up to 8 times what they do now.
“We are going to hurt our economy,” said Jeff Van Hoose, with Van Hoose Construction.
The OKC Developer brings up the example of a 100,000 square foot office building. He claims, under the current numbers a permit would run the developer $32,800. Under the proposed plan that number, according to Hoose, would be $232,800. Some retailers would have to plan $4 a square foot.
Hoose believes retailers and other businesses would likely decide to move to neighboring city with smaller impact fees.
“It’s going to hurt our economy,” added Van Hoose.
The city would bring the fees in over the next two years if approved. On Tuesday, City Council decided to debate the issue again in 60 days.
“At some point, you have to start making changes happen,” said Hammontree.