Kalispell City Council finally carved out some time at a Jan. 20 work session to discuss the highly controversial implementation of transportation impact fees. And based on the conversation, there’s going to be a lot more talking before the fee report faces a vote.
Several council members expressed deep reservations about the plan. Councilman Bob Hafferman said the fees were too high, and should be reduced by about 75 percent, but the methodology to arrive at those fees was sound. Councilman Tim Kluesner, however, questioned the methodology, and disagreed with some of its conclusions, like whether a single family home generates more traffic than a rental property.
Council members were also vexed as to whether the road improvement projects listed in the report, which would be partially paid for through impact fees, were in areas affected by the growth and increased traffic generated by new development. The discussion frustrated some members.
“Bob (Hafferman) wants us to establish a new city policy to integrate into this and Tim (Kluesner) wants to throw out the report all together,” Councilman Randy Kenyon said. “We’re going backwards here real fast.”
“We’re just talking here, Randy,” Mayor Pam Kennedy reassured him.
The council planned to continue the discussion at its Jan. 26 session.
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