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Higher impact fees for Forsyth County parks approved

New homes in Forsyth County will be paying a bit more to county parks.

At a recent meeting, Forsyth County commissioners voted 4-0, with District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos rescued, to approve new parks and recreation impact fees for some residential categories.

“The modification here is modest,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “It changes three categories of our impact fee assessments.”

Impact fees are charges for new building that help cover the cost of increased demand on roads, infrastructure, services and amenities. About $5 million was collected in Forsyth County in 2015.

The fees will increase for three residential categories: single-family districts from $1,115 to $1,178; multi-family districts from $675 to $748; and mobile home park districts from $1,163 to $1,349.

Fees for parks were changed after a study on all county impact fees determined proper park values were not used in calculations. Members of the parks department had also expressed concerns due to the dwindling parks, recreation and greenspace bond approved by voters in 2008.

Duncan Associates provided guidance via two studies for an adjustment of all impact fees in April 2016.

County resident Kirk Wintersteen spoke in favor of the proposal during a public hearing.

“This will enhance the value of our county,” he said. “In the past, we’ve been blessed to have people who were willing to plan for the future.

These people were smart, hard-working and pro-active. In other words, they got in front of the ball.

“This is our opportunity to be proactive.”

Previously, it was estimated the increased fees will bring in an additional about $500,000 per year for parks.

During the meeting, commissioners also approved a resolution to amend a capital improvement element tied to the studies.