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Panel continues review of Forsyth Countys impact fees

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County’s impact fee advisory committee turned its attention Monday to parks and recreation, as well as the possibility that roads could benefit from the charges levied on new development.

Impact fees help cover the cost of increased demand on county services and amenities. But Jim Pryor, the county’s parks director, said the department is only able to use the money for certain purposes.

“We have new facilities and we have older facilities, so we’re facing a lot of renovation, but we also face operating [costs],” he said. “The impact fees are only for new development, so we’re constantly trying to juggle money for old versus new versus maintenance versus renovation.”

The current impact fees per square foot of heated area for residential developments are: $0.34 for parks and recreation; $0.06 for library; $0.09 for fire department; and $0.02 for emergency/911.

Unlike impact fees for public safety and libraries, which were discussed at the panel’s meeting last week, the county parks and recreation department does not split its fees on the basis of whether they are north and south of Hwy. 20.

The county is currently building two parks in north Forsyth, which Pryor said he thinks will soon develop like the county’s more populous south end.

“I have no doubt that the north end is going to be exploding one day,” he said. “It’s already moving that way now. But in 10 years, I expect the north part of the county to look like the south does now.”

During the meeting, the committee also discussed the possibility of levying impact fees for roads, something it currently does not do.

David Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer, called roads “the largest of the potential fees that can be put in place.”

Though no official action was taken, seven members of the committee seemed in favor of adding road impact fees, which could go toward funding future projects.