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Las Cruces City Council approves delay for impact fees

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Dec 17 2012 10:06:06 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 19 2014 01:50:38 PM CDT

Las Cruces road fee delay

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

The City of Las Cruces is trying to get developers to take responsibility for unfinished roads and pay up.

On Monday, the council voted 6-0 to delay the Major Roads Impact Fee and the Drainage Impact Fee -- fees that would have helped pay to finish roads such as Roadrunner Parkway north of Highway 70.

The new impact fees will be applied to any new residential or commercial development within the city.

Las Crucens who live in the newer parts of town are fed up with having to take the long way around because of unfinished roads.

"Roadrunner Parkway has been unfinished for a long time, and I've been really curious why they didn't connect it through to the north," said Chuck Glymp, a resident of North Las Cruces.

It's a thought many in North Las Cruces have.

Every time Kaitlin Bowen drives south into town, it takes much longer than it should.

"It's just really inconvenient for us as far as getting home. We have to go completely around when coming from different locations," she told ABC-7.

People who live north of Highway 70 should be able to drive straight through Roadrunner Parkway to get to the south part of town. Instead, they have to take the long way around, through Del Rey Boulevard or Rinconada Boulevard.

"Del Rey gets really backed up in the mornings and I take Rinconada, too, but it would be really nice if I could just drive straight through," Bowen said.

When developers don't finish the roads, the city has to find the money to do it.

"Developers have built those roads, but they only build the roads that are around their immediate subdivision. If their subdivision isn't connected to another major road, then they don't do it. They don't have to," City Councillor Gill Sorg told ABC-7.

That's why the city wants to find a way to collect funds from developers to ensure the roads are finished.

Sorg said other unfinished or incomplete roads include parts of Del Rey Boulevard, Elks 

The council delayed the proposed impact fees after the Las Cruces Homebuilders Association asked for time to find a better plan.

Managing Director Steve Chavira said the fees would place a burden on first-time home buyers and possibly stifle new development in the city.

Chavira also said the proposed impact fees won't cover the costs of finishing all the roads.

Councilor Sorg acknowledged that and said he would like the city to work with the homebuilders and the realtors to come up with a plan and a timeline to get the projects done.

"We have already started forming a task force that will look at alternatives to the impact fees, justifications why impact fees are not the smart way to go," Chavira said.

The council voted to delay the impact fees' effective date to July 1. In the meantime, city staff members will assess the fees and determine the best way to implement them.

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