Atlanta City Council approves impact fee increase for new developments

The Atlanta City Council adopted legislation at its March 1 increasing the impact fees on new developments.

The impact fees are used to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to the new development, such as new roads or sidewalks, recreation centers and multi-use trails, and building new fire or police stations.

According to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office, the new ordinance represents the first update of Atlanta’s impact fee structure in more than 25 years. And due to inflation, there might be a little sticker shock involved.

The average impact fee for a new single-family home will more than triple, jumping from around $1,500 to $4,900. Residential and commercial developers will pay around $5,900 for every 1,000 square feet, which is a nearly 200 percent increase.

Established in 1993, the Development Impact Fee Program has not been adjusted for escalating costs, nor have administrative changes been legislated to meet growing demand for public services during a period of significant growth and development.

As a result, Atlanta has maintained one of the lowest impact fee levels in the nation during a period when its population went from declining to an increase of more than 25 percent.

The council also voted to approve the following legislative items:

• A resolution to oppose Georgia House Bill 531 and any General Assembly action to impose greater restrictions on voting absentee by mail, reduce the number of early voting days, eliminate or reduce Saturday or Sunday voting, or otherwise limit the voting options of Georgia citizens.

• A resolution to express the City of Atlanta’s opposition to any legislation under consideration by the Georgia General Assembly during its 2021 regular session that proposes to take any action to restrict voter access of Georgia citizens, limit Georgia citizens’ ability to exercise their fundamental right to vote or would otherwise act to suppress the votes of Georgia citizens.

Other items adopted Monday include:

• An ordinance establishing that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be in operation during such hours as designated by the Department of Aviation general manager, outlining who is allowed in the airport during hours when it is closed, and setting punishment for violations

• An ordinance to amend the city’s charter to designate the two youth serving organizations that will each appoint a member between 18-30 years old to serve on the Atlanta Citizens Review Board. As a charter change, three readings are required to adopt the ordinance. This was the second of three votes.

• A resolution authorizing Amendment No. 10 to a contract with CCTV Products, Services and Installation on behalf of the Department of Parks and Recreation in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for the installation and repair of surveillance camera systems and keyless access control devices for various parks, facilities and recreational center areas citywide.

Legislation was introduced to be considered in committee next week, including:

• A resolution to establish a City of Atlanta-Fulton County Joint Committee consisting of representatives from the City of Atlanta and Fulton County to develop a framework to assist the Fulton County Sheriff with severe overcrowding at the Fulton County Jail.

• A resolution to accept and adopt an official justice reforms plan that is focused on stopping over-incarceration and finding real solutions to equity in our justice system and contains the final policy and operational decision necessary to make Atlanta safer and more equitable and accomplish the ultimate closure of the Atlanta City Detention Center within the next 15 months.

• An ordinance authorizing the mayor or her designee to utilize the Park Improvement Fund to install security cameras at the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.

• An ordinance authorizing the mayor or her designee to utilize the Park Improvement Fund to install security cameras at the McGhee Tennis Center.