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Waxahachie to study impact fees

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Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE - A request made by City Manager Bob Sokoll to begin preliminary work on a plan to began charging inpact fees was approved by the city's council. In making his request, Sokoll said, 'I just want to let you know now that this is going to be very controversial, especially with the developers.'

The fees will be used to off-set the cost of expanding the city's water and waste water facilities. 

According to Sokoll, it will take the city staff approximately nine months to prepare a proposal to bring back to the council. 'At that time, you can accept it, reject it or modify it.' Sokoll said. Sokoll said he will have his plan ready to present within the next year.

Sokoll continued to say 'We're going to have to pay for these expansion projects somehow. We can do it by raising rates, raising property taxes or by enacting impact fees on developers or a combination of all three.' He added in order to lessen the burden on everyone, the city will have to look at doing all three.

'The residents are not going to like having their water and sewer rates raised in order for us to expand our facilities.' Sokoll said. He added 'The developers are not going to like it one bit.'

Waxahachie last considers imposing an impact fee in the middle 1980's. At that time, the proposal was dropped due to the recession.

In other action, council members approved a change of zoning request by the estate of Mrs. G.O. Walker. The original request was to construct a 160-unit apartment complex in the 800 block of Cantrell Street.

The proposed complex will be constructed and operated by United Affordable Housing.

Representing United Affordable Housing, Randy Stevenson told the council the company requested tax credits from the state to construct the facility. The project to be known as Mustang Creek Apartments would provide affordable housing for the city.

Stevenson said that under the state guidelines, his company would maintain the upkeep and operate the facility for a minimum of 15-years with the rents to be regulated by the state.

According to the plan presented by Stevenson, the apartment complex would be upscale. 'This is not subsidized housing. There is a misconception among some of the folks in town that this is a Section 8 project. That is not the case.'

Commenting on the location, Stevenson said, This is an ideal location, centrally located with close proximity to major transportation.' He added the company spent a lot of time studying the Waxahachie site. 

Following the public on the zoning change, Councilman Joe Jenkins made a motion the council deny the request. Jenkin's motion died due a lack of a second.

A second motion was made a passed by a 4-to-1 vote with Jenkins voting against.

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