Fees for new developments in Atlanta are going up

The impact fee will go up for single-family home developments in Atlanta, starting this September. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC
The impact fee will go up for single-family home developments in Atlanta, starting this September. KENT D. JOHNSON/AJC

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

Credit: KENT D. JOHNSON / AJC

When Atlanta first instituted impact fees for developers in 1993, the city’s population was about 400,000 — over 100,000 less than it is now.

A lot has changed since then.

Now, those fees are going up. The Atlanta City Council on Monday passed a measure that raises impact fees across the board. The fees are one-time costs for new development projects that are used to pay for public services related to the development.

The average impact fee for a new single-family home is more than tripling, jumping from about $1,500 to $4,900.

Residential and commercial developers will have to pay about $5,900 for every 1,000 square feet they build, a nearly 200% increase.

The update could bring in millions of dollars to the city, which can spend the funds on things such as road and sidewalk improvements, new multi-use trails and public safety infrastructure.

It also brings the city up to par compared to other cities in metro Atlanta and around the country. Alpharetta and Sandy Springs charge over $6,000 in impact fees for single-family homes, while cities like Phoenix and Durham, N.C. charge $4,200 and $4,050, respectively, according to the city’s report.

“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,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office said in a statement.

The city previously studied the issue in 2010 and 2017, but no changes were ultimately adopted.

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The fee increase will go into effect starting in September and will be phased in over the next three years, said Councilman Matt Westmoreland, who chairs the council’s community development committee. He had not yet started kindergarten when the first impact fee ordinance was put in place.

Many in the development community understood that the program needed to be updated after a quarter of a century, Westmoreland said, adding that an advisory committee that supported raising the fees was largely made up of developers.

“It was a good conversation with stakeholders and interested groups, and I’m pleased with where we landed,” said Westmoreland.

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