WINDHAM —  Residential and commercial developers will be charged new impact fees and the town will limit the number of growth permits it issues each year under measures the Town Council approved Tuesday.

The fees and permit cap are designed to “limit” or “direct growth,” according to Town Planner Amanda Lessard.

The council approved the creation of impact fees 6-1, with Clayton Haskell voting against it. Permit limits passed 5-2, with Haskell and Nick Kalogerakis voting against it.

The fees are calculated based on the average demand for safety and municipal services for residential buildings and per commercial square footage. The one-time fees are calculated based on the building permits. The final recommendation ranges from about $1,000 to $3,500 per residential dwelling, and from 20 cents to $2.04 per square foot for commercial buildings.

Fire Chief Brent Libby spoke in favor of impact fees at a July 13 Planning Board meeting, saying that existing taxpayers face an “excessive burden” to pay for additional services required by new development.

The impact fees on new residential and commercial developments and would apply to the construction and renovations of the Public Safety Building, town offices and Community Center, as well as capital expenditures for the Fire and Rescue Department.

“We’re just bringing Windham in line, and in by no means to the high line, of local towns for what it costs to build a home. I think if we don’t, we’re shortchanging the people who are here,” Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said.

“We want to bring people to town, but we should be paying the same as similar towns and protecting the Windham taxpayers,” he said.

The cap on the number of development permits issued per year is allowed under state law at 105% of the 10-year town average. In Windham, 100 permits per year will be the maximum number issued. No more than nine can be issued per month.

Lessard said 83 of the permits will be for single-family units, 14 for two-family units and three for multi-family structures. Senior and retirement housing are exempt from the ordinance.

Both ordinances go into effect Aug. 28.

The Planning Board voted unanimously not to recommend both measures at their July 13 meeting.

“I’d rather see the whole town paying for services that the whole community is going to use,” Planning Board Chair Keith Elder said with regards to impact fees at the July 13 meeting.

Haden Brooks called the amendment to the Growth Management Ordinance “not a perfect way to curb (growth).”

Lessard said earlier this month that the town has been discussing the amendment to the Land Use Ordinance to create impact fees and the permit limit amendment to the Growth Management Ordinance for over a year.

“(The ordinances are) another way to limit or direct growth in a way that may be more manageable for the town for keeping up with more services,” she said.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.