November 15, 2016

Nashville Post

Williamson County’s growth and subsequent need to provide public schools for more and more students has resulted in a one-time impact fee on new housing construction to be enacted next year.

The Williamson County Commission voted 22-2 Monday night in favor of two resolutions related to the fee, despite the opposition of home builders and Realtors, according to a release.

Revenue generated from the impact fee, which is slated to take effect March 1, 2017, will be dedicated solely to capital projects related to schools.

The vote took place after a presentation earlier by Williamson County Schools Director Mike Looney, who explained that county public schools will need to accommodate another 10,000 students in the next five years, according to the release. He said the growth will spur the need to spend more than $500 million in new school construction.

The vote did not come without debate. Commissioner David Parr asked for a deferral, saying it was important that the county get the impact fee proposal “done right the first time.”

The deferral failed 3-21.

Fees for new homes within the Franklin Special School District will vary by square footage and will range from $1,145 to $3,745. Fees for homes outside the FSSD will range from $2,827 to $11,210.

Many in the real estate and development community were frustrated by the vote, the release notes.

David Logan, president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors, said in a prepared statement that WCAR will “continue to assess our options under the law.”

“We are disappointed by the commission’s vote,” Logan said in the statement. “We still believe it would have been the right thing to do to wait on final approval of this impact fee until the Tennessee attorney general’s office rendered its opinion in the next few weeks.”

Logan said in the statement that a ruling by the attorney general would “bring some clarity concerning the legal underpinnings of this measure in state law.”

“The opinion would have also given everyone a better idea of just how much money this fee will generate,” he said. “Based on existing state law, we think it could well be much less than the commission anticipates.”