A proposed Allen County ordinance would require neighboring property owners to pitch in a share of the costs when a developer makes improvements to a public road as part of new construction.
The county already requires reimbursement for road and utility improvements that it makes for developers, such as on Diebold Road at the entrance to Parkview Health's new north campus. Under the proposed bill, other developers who later want to build on – and benefit from – the improved road would pay a fee to help defray those costs.
“It's really a fairness issue,” County Commissioner Nelson Peters said Friday during discussion of the bill. “It's really an idea where those who created the improvements can reap some repayment.”
Road improvements can cost millions of dollars for some projects. As an example, Parkview paid more than $5.1 million for improvements to Diebold Road from Dupont Road north to Norarrow Road, said Dan Allen, chief construction manager with the Allen County Highway Department.
County attorney Bill Fishering said the proposed reimbursement fees would be assessed only to developers applying for rezoning and would be based on the road-facing square footage of their properties. The ordinance would not affect properties already zoned correctly for building, he said.
Commissioner Linda Bloom questioned the fairness of demanding a fee from new developers but not from those who already have the right zoning for construction.
“How can we now charge for new development and not for what's already in there?” she said.
New developers would simply need to factor the reimbursement into the cost of doing business, Peters said.
Neither Peters nor Commissioner Therese Brown expressed opposition to the bill but at Bloom's request agreed to table it until further notice to look more closely at the issue.