[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Johnston 5-22-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-9. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Johnston must expand its school, park, recreational, open space and library facilities in order to maintain current standards if new residential development is to be accommodated without decreasing current standards. This must be done in order to promote the public health, safety, and welfare.
The State of Rhode Island, through the enactment of R.I.G.L. § 45-22.2-1 et seq., the Rhode Island Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act, and R.I.G.L. § 45-24-27 et seq., Zoning Ordinances, provides for orderly growth and makes provision for protecting public investment in public facilities.
The imposition of impact fees is one of the preferred methods of ensuring that residential development bears a proportionate share of the cost of capital facilities necessary to accommodate the needs of future residents of such developments. This must be done in order to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
Residential land development, except as exempted in § 149-11 hereof, creates demand for the acquisition or expansion of parks, open space and recreational facilities, the construction of park improvements, the addition of library facilities, and the expansion of school facilities. The fees established by § 149-12 are derived from and based upon the costs of providing additional school, park, recreational, open space and library facility improvements necessitated by the new land developments for which the fees are levied.
This chapter is intended to assist in the implementation of the Town of Johnston Comprehensive Plan. The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the use and development of land so as to assure that new residential development bears a proportionate share of the cost of capital expenditures necessary to provide school, park, recreational, open space and library facility improvements of the Town of Johnston.
The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed so as to effectively carry out its purpose in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare.
For the purposes of administration and enforcement, unless otherwise stated in this chapter, the following rules of construction shall apply to the text hereof:
In case of any difference of meaning or implication between the text of this chapter and any caption, the text shall control.
The word "shall" is always mandatory and not discretionary; the word "may" is permissive.
Words used in the present tense shall include the future; and words used in the singular number shall include the plural, and the singular, unless the context clearly indicates the contrary.
The phrase "used for" indicates "arranged for," "designed for," "maintained for," and "occupied for."
The word "person" includes an individual, a corporation, a partnership, an unincorporated association, or any other similar entity.
The word "includes" shall not limit a term to the specific example but is intended to extend its meaning to all other instances or circumstances of like kind or character.
The word "Building Official" means the Building Official or the municipal officials he/she may designate to carry out the administration of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT
- Includes planning, land acquisition, site improvements, buildings and equipment for school, park, recreational, open space and library facilities, but excludes maintenance and operation.
Any person who on or after July 1, 2000, seeks to develop land within the Town of Johnston by applying for a building permit for a residential building is hereby required to pay impact fees in the manner and amount set forth in this chapter, unless exempted by § 149-11 hereof.
No certificate of occupancy shall be issued for any residential building which was constructed pursuant to a building permit issued on or after July 1, 2000, until all impact fees required by this chapter, calculated as of the date of the certificate of occupancy, have been paid in full.
A Town baseline fee schedule for school, park, recreational, open space, and library facilities shall be established by the Town Council, to be based on the Town's Capital Program. The fees shall be based upon documented analysis of the projected cost of providing school, park, recreational, open space, and library facilities as indicated in the then current Capital Program reflecting adjustments for the time-value of money over the period between when the fee is paid and when it is projected to be utilized, and reflecting credits for the present value of any future property taxes to be paid by the developed properties for the same school, park, recreational, open space, and library capital costs, and shall reflect expected differences among dwelling types, such as single-family, two-family, and multifamily dwellings.
The school facility fee for dwellings in any particular development may be adjusted relative to the baseline fee to reflect any special characteristics of the development that can be assured for at least the following 10 years, such as occupancy characteristics resulting in public school enrollment expectations significantly departing from those assumed in calculating the baseline fee. Any request for such adjustment must be made and documented in writing to the Building Official who shall rule upon the request prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
If a building permit is issued for mixed uses, then the fee shall be determined using the schedule by apportioning the space committed to residential uses specified on the schedule.
If the type of development activity that a residential building permit is issued for is not specified on the fee schedule, the Building Official shall use the fee applicable to the most comparable type of land use on the fee schedule. The Building Official shall be guided in the selection of a comparable type by the Comprehensive Plan, supporting documents of the Comprehensive Plan, and Chapter 340, Zoning. If the Building Official determines that there is no comparable type of land use on the fee schedule, then the Building Official shall determine the appropriate fee by considering demographics or other documentation, which is available from state, local, and regional authorities.
In the case of change of use, redevelopment, or expansion or modification of a use existing as of July 1, 2000, which requires the issuance of a building permit, the impact fee shall be based upon the net positive increase in the impact fee for the use as compared to the previous use. The Building Official shall be guided in this determination by the sources and agencies listed above.
If a fee payer opts to have the impact fee determined according to Subsection B of this section, the fee payer shall prepare and submit to the Building Official an independent fee calculation study for the land development activity for which a building permit is issued. The independent fee calculation study shall follow a similar methodology and format as the impact fee study prepared for the Town. The documentation submitted shall show the basis upon which the independent fee calculation was made. The Building Official shall consider the documentation submitted by the fee payer, but is not required to accept such documentation he/she deems to be inaccurate or not reliable and may, in the alternative, require the fee payer to submit additional or different documentation for consideration. If an acceptable independent fee calculation study is not presented, the fee payer shall pay impact fees as required herein. If an acceptable independent fee calculation study is presented, the Building Official may adjust the fee to that appropriate to the particular development. The adjustment may include a credit against the fee for private facilities constructed or deed-restricted or otherwise set aside by the fee payer which serve the same purposes and functions as set forth in the Town Comprehensive Plan.
Should a fee payer disagree with a decision of the Building Official made under this chapter he/she may appeal said decision to the Town Council.
The fee payer shall pay the impact fees required by this chapter to the Finance Director or his/her designee prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. All funds collected shall be promptly transferred for deposit in the appropriate fund to be held and used solely for the purposes specified in this chapter.
There is hereby established a school impact fee fund, a park, recreational and open space impact fee fund, and a library impact fee fund.
All funds collected from impact fees shall be used solely for the purpose of providing and/or making capital improvements to school, park, recreational, open space and library facilities to meet the needs of the new residential development, which has paid the fee.
In the event that bonds or similar debt instruments are issued for advance provision of capital facilities for which impact fees may be expended, impact fees may be used to pay debt service on such bonds or similar debt instruments.
At least once each fiscal year, the Building Official shall present to the Town Council a proposed impact fee fund utilization plan for school, park, recreational, open space, and library facilities. This plan shall recommend expenditure of impact fee funds, including any accrued interest, for specific improvement projects and related expenses, which may include those under the jurisdiction of the Johnston Land Trust. Monies, including any accrued interest, not assigned in any, fiscal year shall be retained in an impact fee fund until the next fiscal year, except as provided by the refund provisions of this chapter.
Upon application to the Town Council by the payer of his/her successors in interest, fees deposited or a portion thereof may be refunded if funds are not expended or encumbered by the end of the calendar quarter immediately following 10 years from the date the impact fee was paid provided that the application for refund is made within six months of eligibility for said refund.
Exemptions. Any claim of exemption must be made no later than the time of application for a building permit and any claim not so made shall be deemed waived. The following shall be exempted from payment of an impact fee:
Alterations or expansion of an existing building where no additional residential units are created and where the use is not changed.
The construction of accessory buildings or structures.
The replacement of a destroyed or partially destroyed building or structure with a new building or structure of the same use and approximate size.
The construction of any nonresidential building or structure.
The installation of a replacement mobile home on a lot or other such site where a mobile home legally existed on such site on July 1, 2000.
Credits. Land and/or capital improvements may be offered by the fee payer as total or partial payment of the required impact fee. The offer must specifically request or provide for an impact fee credit. If the Town Council accepts such an offer, the credit shall be determined and provided in the following manner:
Credit for the dedication of land shall be valued at 100% of the most recent assessed value by the Town Tax Assessor or by fair market value established by a private appraiser acceptable to the Building Official. Credit for the dedication of land shall be provided when the property has been accepted by the Town Council and conveyed at no charge to the Town.
Applicants for credit for construction of improvements shall submit acceptable engineering drawings and specifications, and construction cost estimates to the Building Official who shall determine credit for construction based upon either these cost estimates or upon alternative engineering criteria and construction cost estimates if the Building Official determines that such estimates submitted by the applicant are either unreliable or inaccurate. The Mayor shall provide the applicant with a letter or certificate setting forth the dollar amount of the credit, the reason for the credit, and the legal description or other adequate description of the project or development to which the credit may be applied. The applicant must sign and date a duplicate copy of such letter or certificate indicating his/her agreement to the terms of the letter or certificate and return such signed document to the Building Official before credit will be given. The failure of the applicant to sign, date, and return such document within 60 days shall nullify the credit. Records of all letters or certificates of credits shall be maintained on file by the Town Clerk.
Credit against impact fees otherwise due will not be provided until the construction is completed and accepted by the Town or a suitable maintenance and warranty bond is received and approved by the Building Official, when applicable.
Any claim for credit must be made no later than the time of application for a building permit.
All park, recreational and open space fees in lieu of land dedication payments made to the Town at the time of subdivision approval shall be credited against park, recreational and open space impact fees due.
The Town Council shall adopt by ordinance a fee schedule for development impact fees utilizing the methodology set out in § 149-6 hereof and based on the Capital Program approved by the Town Council.
The Town shall have the power to commence suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to seek damages and/or equitable relief to enforce the provisions of this chapter.