Here is a novel economic idea. I am selling less of an item so I will just charge more to make up the difference.

What? That is exactly what the Oro Valley Town Council and staff are considering.

Recently, the council started the clock ticking to enact additional impact fees of $6,203 per new house. On commercial projects, the new rate is between $870 and $3,113 per 1,000 square feet of floor area.

There also are charges for office business parks, and even a lodging fee of $515 per room. This is on top of $29,067 in building-related fees that new home buyers pay in Oro Valley, the most expensive municipality to build in in Pima County.

Talk about hanging a sign out that says, “Closed For Business.” You get the idea how single-family home builders feel.

Because of existing projects in the pipeline, Oro Valley new home permits are running only 3 percent behind last year. However, if these fees are enacted, new projects encumbered by these fees will grind to a halt.

Which may be exactly what this community wants.

So why such a high increase in fees?

The real reason behind this punitive action is political. The Oro Valley Council doesn’t like the fact that SAHBA has co-sponsored legislation that would impose more stringent requirements on cities and towns regarding impact fees and their implementation. It’s called Senate Bill 1406.

This was confirmed in an e-mail to me from Oro Valley staff concerning the original hearing on the TischlerBise Development Fee Study & Infrastructure Improvement Plan done April 2008.

Additionally, the Oro Valley Council has indicated it will not honor the June 2007 agreement to phase in a $5,000 water fee increase, negotiated last year to help facilitate the import of CAP water.

SAHBA and many developers and builders have had our differences with Oro Valley’s governmental leaders, but have always chosen to negotiate for a fair and equitable solution.

However, to penalize an industry for exercising its right for fair and equitable representation at the Arizona State Legislature is wrong. As such, we do not agree with even a one-dollar increase in fees because of the unmerited motivations behind the issue.

Further, I encourage all Oro Valley business owners, business leaders and business groups to educate themselves on how this will impact them financially. SAHBA feels that the impact fee increases will backfire on Oro Valley economy, in addition to making housing in this area even more unaffordable that it already is.

At this time of economic downturn and low rate of building, SAHBA opposes any new building and impact fees in Oro Valley.

Taczanowsky is president of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. SAHBA represents about 750 member businesses and 40,000 jobs serving the residential construction industry in Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.

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