City staff will ask Evanston aldermen Monday whether they want to pursue imposing impact fees on new development.
The staff report comes in response to a suggestion made last fall by Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, that the city consider imposing such fees.
Rainey argued that the fees would be a way to spread the benefit of new development projects throughout the city.
Currently the public benefits the city demands from firms proposing planned developments in Evanston tend to be targeted to the neighborhood immediately around the development site.
A decade ago reports the city commissioned from the consulting firm TischlerBise suggested the city could impose impact fees for such things as water service, libraries and parks.
The consultants said the fees could add up to $5,695 to the cost of building a new single-family home in town. Per-unit fees for multi-unit buildings would be somewhat lower.
And they said the city could impose an excise tax for streets of $2.65 per square foot of new construction. That would add $5,300 to the cost of a 2,000 square foot home.
The consultants indicated that unlike public benefits, which the city only extracts from large, planned-development projects, under state law impact fees would have to be applied to all types of residential development in town — including single family homes.
No action was taken on the impact fee idea a decade ago, and since then the city has increased its public benefit requirement that developers subsidize affordable housing from a rate of $4,000 per unit to $10,000 per unit and expanded its inclusionary housing ordinance to apply to rental as well as condominium developments.
When Rainey called for the fresh look at impact fees last November, Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said she opposed the idea, arguing that public benefits from new developments should be targeted to the area immediately around the project.
Impact fees have come under fire from pro-development groups, including the Illinois Associaton of Realtors.
The staff report notes that impact fees are more common in communities where there is considerable open land that requires new infrastructure to be developed. Fully-built-out communities, like Evanston, are less likely to have the fees.
The staff report makes no recommendation about whether Evanston should impose impact fees, simply asking for direction from aldermen about whether they want to refer the idea to the Plan Commission or drop it from further consideration.