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Sandy raising cost of building a home

Fees to pay for road improvements likely to jump about $600 for developers


The Sandy City Council is in the midst of performing a balancing act.

This act could affect every Sandy resident who drives or rides on local streets.

The people who cause the need for street upgrades — new residents of Sandy — must pay for those upgrades said Sandy Public Works Director Mike Walker. The purpose of these capital projects is to make it safer or easier for people to drive around the city, he said.

Here is the balancing act.

Walker said the city must set the cost of system development charges (SDC) low enough to avoid stifling growth, but high enough to pay for improvements that assist growth.

The amount of funding needed is determined by the amount and size of capital projects such as new streets, street reconstruction, street widening and intersection improvements.

Initially, Walker presented the council with a proposal to raise SDC fees from $1,944 to $3,104 for a single-family dwelling — a hike of $1,160 over the current fee.

Walker made the increase sound very small when he told the council it was only about one-half of 1 percent of the cost of a $200,000 home.

It also sounded small when viewed against SDCs in some area cities.

For example, West Linn charges $8,544 for road SDCs; Happy Valley charges $7,682; Gresham in the Springwater area assesses new homes $6,801; and SDCs for a Troutdale home costs $730.

But the council wasn’t too keen on raising the fees that much at one time, Walker said. Instead, the panel chose to give SDCs a smaller bump now and another in the future.

The council decided it wanted to remove one expensive project (extending Champion Way to 362nd Avenue) from the list of capital projects in order to come back next year and raise SDCs a small amount to pay for some bicycle and pedestrian upgrade projects.

That change, eliminating the second-most expensive project on the list, requires a reduced road SDC of slightly more than $2,500 per dwelling, Walker said. That results in a system development charge increase of about $600.

When Walker returns to the council Sept. 3 with a resolution based on council’s directions, it will be decided with a vote.

If approved, it would be in effect immediately.

For more information, call Walker at 503-489-2162.