The Westbrook City Council has killed a proposal to charge impact fees on new construction – again.

Last fall, Westbrook residents and officials worried a swell of residential development would strain the city’s infrastructure. The City Council asked staff to develop formulas for school and sewer impact fees, which are designed to pay for new capacity needed as a result of new construction. The plan was to charge those fees on all building projects with permits issued since Oct. 3 of last year, which would have included a large apartment complex on Spring Street.

But when the proposal finally came back to the City Council in August, it was nixed. The councilors worried the fees would be burdensome for property owners and prohibitive for developers. At a second meeting that month, a councilor moved to reconsider the proposal. The votes still weren’t enough to pass it on Monday night.

School impact fees failed to move forward, 3-3. The supporters were Councilors Brendan Rielly, John O’Hara and Victor Chau. Councilors Ann Peoples, Anna Turcotte and Lynda Adams were opposed. Councilor Gary Rairdon was absent. Sewer impact fees were also defeated, 5-1. O’Hara was the only yes vote.

At the meeting, Adams said she hopes the debate on impact fees prompts the city to develop a strategic plan for economic development in Westbrook.

“I think we definitely need to focus on future planning in this city. … We can’t keep being reactive,” she said.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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