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City puts off fees to boost jobs

OCEANSIDE — Council OK’d the deferral of impact fees in an effort to boost building in a 3-2 vote Sept. 2. Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
Scott Molloy, public policy adviser for the Building Industry Association of San Diego County, said the deferral of impact fees until final inspection will lower initial building costs and help jump-start a slowed construction industry.
“The construction industry has taken such a dive,” Molloy said. “Impact fees were $47,000 in 2008 per house and have gone up since then.”
While fee deferral is welcome by the building industry, more than half a dozen residents who spoke on the issue were concerned that impact fees are already too low, and taxpayers will be taking a risk of never collecting the fees if a project fails.
“If developers can’t afford to build here we don’t need them,” Oceanside resident Nadine Scott said. “The city needs to demand the best in design, best in material, best in sustainability.”
“We want to increase economic opportunity in Oceanside, but I don’t think this is the way to do it,” Sanchez said. “It is not fair to finance private development. We heard from residents and did not hear from a single one that they support it.”
The OK’d fee deferral has a two-year time limit and builders do not get a final inspection unless they pay impact fees.
“It is not taking any money from the general fund,” Councilman Jack Feller said. “If (a building project) is not complete, it goes to the regular way of paying for it. It’s a win- win for residents to see things built.”
An anticipated benefit of the fee deferral will be jobs created by more building.
“(The deferral of) $43,000 per unit may be the incentive to get those little projects moving,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “We can do the little things here as a city to get that plumber down the street a job. We need to try every way we can to get our neighbors back to work.”