Chesterfield County approves raising builder home fees

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - It just got even more expensive for developers to build homes in Chesterfield County.

The Board of Supervisors approved increasing the county's cash proffers by five percent.  And some say added incentives for "commercial businesses" aren't making it any easier to take.

With the five percent increase, the home fees are estimated to bring in some 3.4 million dollars, but that's still some 2 million less than the previous three years.  And that's because the rate of home building has basically slowed to a crawl.

"The proffer is supposed to help us with infrastructure needs, roads, and schools," Chesterfield County Board Supervisor Jim Holland.

And so it wasn't much of a surprise to the Home Building Association of Richmond that the Board of Supervisors voted in favor of raising those proffers for the second year in a row.  Five percent added to the current 18 thousand dollar home fees.  It's a move that's been criticized by those who say it's the last thing the development community needs.

"The housing start in 2009 by the projections of the county is going to be down 2/3 from just 2 year ago, which means there's no development going on, there's no home construction going on and it means there's no increase in the property tax revenue base," said Home Building Association of Richmond Director of Government Affairs, Warren Wakeland.

At this point in the year, not even half of that projection has been fulfilled. To ease the burden, Supervisor Jim Holland says the Board made some other adjustments, like "cutting" commercial fees for one year, to encourage economic growth.

"There's also many incentives. We voted last night to do a fee holiday, we're helping as much as we can with the economy," said Holland.

And while that could be a tremendous benefit to the cash strapped county, the Home Building Association of Richmond says it's just not enough.

"They're going to do something for the commercial development? Commercial development needs residential development to help it recruit businesses. A builder is not going to build an office park knowing he can't put any tenants in it," said Wakeland.

The additional home fees will take effect July 1.

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