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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 26, 2010

Impact district plan moves ahead

Advertiser Staff

A state Board of Education committee yesterday advanced a Department of Education plan to assess fees on anyone building a home on the Big Island roughly between Kealakekua and Waimea.

If approved later by the full Board of Education, the West Hawai'i region would be the first of several intended school impact districts statewide.

The districts would provide a broader, more consistant and transparent structure to a current system in which housing developers that need state land-use changes negotiate contributions of land and cash to help build schools.

The new system was created by Act 245 in 2007, requiring the BOE to establish impact fee districts where projected school enrollment growth will create the need for new or expanded schools in the next 25 years.

Fees are designed so builders of new homes in a district, including individuals and large developers, will cover 10 percent of the cost for developing a new school or expanding an existing school, including land.

The DOE estimates that the fee would be between $3,000 and $5,000 per single-family home and between $2,000 and $3,000 per multifamily unit.

The fees would be a prerequisite to get a county building permit and would take effect July 1 if approved by the 14-member BOE. Yesterday's vote was unanimous by six members of the board's Administrative Services Committee.