Homebuilders may charge you more - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Homebuilders may charge you more

August 3, 2006

Lee County - - Homebuilders react to a new Lee County ordinance that may make it more expensive for you to buy a home in the county.

The Commission passed impact fees last month.  Lee is one of the only counties in Southwest Georgia to do it and homebuilder's fear it will affect their bottom line. 

Builders are at work. New homes in Lee County have become a staple of the community contributing to heavy growth. You'd think that's a good thing, right?

"But is it fair for the people who already live in this county to have to help that builder make his living off of the expense of everybody else? I just don't think that that's true," says Eddie Hinman who served on a committee to study impact fees. 

The former Lee County Commissioner recommended the county adopt impact fees. They require a homebuilder pay the county $2,235 dollars when he purchases a permit to build each home. Hinman says the money would help Lee County offset its current budget woes.

Homebuilders say to buy a vacant lot like this one would normally run them around $25,000. Now with impact fees and all the other fees, they say that can end up being well around $45,000.

That's when you add the cost of a permit, sewer tap fees, water tap fees and meter costs.

"It cost me $2,200 to buy that permit more, so by the time it gets back to you, it's going to add another $3,000 of costs to your house just for a fee that I had to pay Lee County," Chad McDonald, President of the Southwest Georgia Homebuilders Association says.

He believes the fees are intended to halt growth because the county isn't prepared for it.

"We feel like they're going to try to push us out and stop building," McDonald says.

McDonald is trying to arrange a meeting with the county commissioners to have them lax the impact fee ordinance. His group is also fighting another county ordinance that requires new homes be built 2 feet above the center of the road.

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