City Wants Developers to Pay Increased Fees to Fund Future Transportation Improvements

Published : Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | 5:34 AM

Developers and homebuilders will have to pay higher fees – in some cases, significantly higher – in coming years to help fund public transportation and traffic reduction efforts if a plan by Pasadena’s Department of Transportation is approved by the City Council.

“It could have an impact on development opportunities, an impact on the cost of leasing or buying space, impact on the cost of living in Pasadena – any number of things,” said Pasadena Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Little.

A city official at a public meeting Monday said the Traffic Reduction and Transportation Improvement Fee (TR/TIF) is designed to plan for, and help pay for, the needs of projected future development within the City through the horizon year 2035.

“This money is all going back to the City and its to better the transportation as a whole,” said DOT Associate Transportation Engineer Juliana Iturrizaga.

The Department of Transportation and Chamber of Commerce held the community meeting Monday afternoon to update the public on proposed fee changes.

Developers will be asked to pay their “fair share” of the cost of future transportation improvements, expected to come in the form of new and improved transit services, building bike and pedestrian infrastructure and implementing intelligent transportation systems as the City grows in the coming decades.

The City Council adopted the Traffic Reduction and Transportation Improvement Fee (TR/TIF) back in July 2006 following the adoption of the General Plan, or a blueprint to guide the future that is made up of over a dozen chapters with the Land Use and Mobility Chapters currently being updated.

The DOT released newly calculated fees that are the Department now says are required to better conform to the City’s transportation facilities needs as Pasadena grows over the next eighteen years.

The fees are split into five land use categories that include single family residences, multi family residences, retail, office and industrial developments.

The Department has been working collaboratively with the business industry associations to review the methodology used to calculate the proposed fee which includes the Pasadena Foothill Association of Realtors, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and local property managers and developers.

The proposed fees have increased in most land use categories.

For example, single family land use developments would have to pay $8,905.24 per unit which is a significant increase from current fees amounting to $2,813.41 per unit.

Similarly, office developments would pay $8.13 per square foot compared to $4.20, retail would experience a slight increase from $9.75 to $10.75 per square foot, multi family developments would increase from $2,813.41 to $3,448.50 and industrial developments would pay a lesser fee from $3.51 to $1.13 per square foot.

“We also did a city comparison and our fees were comparable to neighboring cities. I Would hope that it wouldn’t be something completely new, but somewhat expected and within the boundary of what they had anticipated as a fee change,” explained Iturrizaga.

“I think we have well informed developers,” Iturrizaga added.

The fee anticipates and mitigates the impacts of growth on City streets by providing quality transit service, building bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and implementing intelligent transportation systems or state of the art technology like fiber optics, closed circuit television feeds, traffic lights and more.

Included in the City’s Needs List are Complete Streets projects, Traffic Operations, Bike Facilities, Pedestrian Improvements, and Local Transit Improvements.

“I think maintaining infrastructures isn’t really what DOT’s outlook is. We have this mission where we ideally want to circulate through the City without cars so in doing so we need to develop and rethink our transit, bicycle, pedestrian and traffic operations for the City in the future,” said Iturrizaga.

Sources of the projects include the General Plan – Mobility Element, the Pasadena ITS Master Plan Framework, the Pasadena Bicycle Master Plan, the ADA Transition Plan, and Specific Plans.

“These guidelines are so the City can be more encompassing. We’re not just seeing people in cars now days and it’s important to have an infrastructure that reflects everybody’s needs,” explained Iturrizaga.

The Monday afternoon meeting demonstrated the DOT’s willingness to get the public involved and informed about possible changes that may not only affect business opportunities in regards to development projects, but also as a platform to voice concerns about how various City proposals could affect quality of life for residents.

“DOT’s always been big on surveys and on getting community involvement. These meetings serve as the foundation of getting information out there and working with people who live and work in Pasadena. These things take time and we are looking far into the future so community involvement the planning stages now go a long way,” said Iturrizaga.

Staff will present the recommendations at the following committees before planned Council meeting scheduled for July 17, 2017.

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