Categorized | Education

Hearing slated on school impact fees

 

 

(Hawaii247.com map courtesty of Department of Education)

(Hawaii247.com map courtesty of Department of Education)

A second public hearing on collecting school impact fees for West Hawaii public schools is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, April 13 at Kealakehe High School Library. 

 

The state Department of Education (DOE) has the authority to collect land and construction fees from the developers of new residential housing in high growth areas. The fees can only be collected in designated impact fee districts approved by the state Board of Education (BOE). 

The West Hawaii school impact district is the first area to be considered by the BOE. The West Hawaii impact district will be used as a model for other regions of the state where future residential growth is expected to generate additional public school students and require new schools or expanded schools. 

After an initial public hearing in November at Kahakai Elementary School, DOE Assistant Superintendent Randolph Moore decided a second hearing should be held to address a number of requests for additional information. 

The large number of proposed new housing units planned for West Hawaii over the next 25 to 30 years indicates a future need for additional DOE schools. There are more than 28,000 new residential units projected in the next 25-30 years in the West Hawaii Impact Fee District, generating more than 17,000 additional public school students who will attend area public schools.

Existing schools within the proposed impact district may be able to accommodate some additional students, but most of the proposed growth areas either lack existing schools or their nearest schools will not have sufficient space for a large number of additional students.

The proposed impact fee district is a large area of West Hawaii, from Waimea to Kealakekua. The district covers those areas currently served by Waimea, Waikoloa and Konawaena elementary schools, and all Kealakehe complex schools. 

The impact fees would be charged to all new single family and multi-family housing in the proposed district. Any land and collected fees will be dedicated to new schools and facilities that will serve students residing in the new housing units.

In recent decades the requirement to provide land and money for schools was imposed by state and county agencies as a condition of urbanizing land. The DOE collected payments of school land and cash from some developers when 

their projects were required to make “fair-share contributions” by the state Land Use Commission or the counties to gain project approval. 

The DOE was granted its own authority to collect impact fees two years ago by Act 245, Session Laws of Hawaii 2007, which acted on a report prepared by Duncan Associates and Group 70 International, Inc.

The report analyzed salient issues, including “Fair Share” practices; conducted two case studies for specific areas in Central Oahu; and offered impact fee legislative language. The 2007 report also provided a framework, or procedure, for determining fee schedules for those areas of the state experiencing enough new residential development to create the need for new or expanded school facilities.  

The 2007 report determined that from 1997 to 2007, the state paid approximately $17,102 in school construction to house the additional students generated by one new unit of single-family housing.  For every 100 units of new single-family homes, the state was providing 0.856 acres of school land.   

The law requires developers to provide much of the land needed for new schools. In addition, developers are also required to contribute either 10 percent  of all new school construction costs, or 10 percent of the construction costs of expanding an existing school. The balance of school construction funds would continue to come from state tax revenues.  

At the April 13 hearing, plans for the impact fees will be reviewed. The BOE will consider public comments before the proposed district comes up for approval in May or June 2009. 

Public comments can be submitted at the meeting or e-mailed to heidi_meeker@notes.k12.hi.us. 

A map and information regarding the proposed West Hawaii impact district is available at http://doe.k12.hi.us. Copies are also available at the West Hawaii Complex Area Office (75-140 Hualalai Road, adjacent to the Kailua-Kona Public Library) or by calling the DOE Facilities Development Branch at 377-8301. 

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