Petaluma prepares to lower development impact fees

After more than a year of examination and recalculation, Petaluma is poised to significantly reduce its development fees, a move seen by some as a way to rehab the city's image as anti-business.

Four years ago, the city dramatically increased its development impact fee structure with the adoption of a new General Plan, which created some of the highest fees in the county for those wanting to build new housing or commercial buildings.

Since then, little development has occurred in Petaluma. Now city staff, Chamber of Commerce representatives and some city leaders have urged the City Council to reduce the fees to potentially capture lost opportunities.

The council informally adopted a new fee structure last month and Monday are expected to formally pass several new ordinances to formalize the new rules.

Currently developers pay nearly $60,000 for each single-family dwelling built, with an additional $9,000 per home for major subdivisions. That fee ranks just above Novato's $59,100 and well above Windsor's $46,900. Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park charge $38,300, and San Rafael's fee is $33,700, according to Petaluma planners.

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