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Scappoose lowers fee for new single family homes

Photo Credit: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A construction crew works on a D.R. Horton housing development site at the Dutch Canyon Estates in Scappoose. The city voted Monday to lower System Development Charges related to water meter installations.

Home developers are getting a break on system development charges, or SDCs, in Scappoose.

City councilors voted unanimously Monday, Sept. 15, to lower water and sewer SDCs for developers that install 1-inch meters on new construction.

SDC fees in Scappoose will now be the same for meters measuring 3¾ inch or 1 inch.

Prior to the council action, SDCs for a 1-inch water meter were about $4,800 more than those for a 3¾-inch meter.

City Manager Larry Lehman said over the past five years, no one in the city used a 1-inch meter because of the cost.

According to a staff report, Scappoose requires a written statement from an engineer if a home with three or more bathrooms will use a 3?„4-inch meter. The process costs an extra $300 to $500.

Now, a home builder can use a 1-inch meter without the extra fees. Lehman said the move will allow builders to decide what’s needed for a home based on size and capacity, not price.

Previous development fees for a 1-inch meter were nearly $12,000. Now, the costs will be the same as the city charges for a 3¾-inch meter — $4,703 for water and $2,485 for sewer.

The price equalization doesn’t include the actual cost of meter installation, which is done by city employees for the cost of time and materials, Lehman said.

“The philosophy behind system development fees is, new growth pays for itself,” Lehman said. “If you’re gonna use more water because you’ve got new growth, then you’ve gotta expand the system to handle that.”

Lehman said a developer brought the fee disparity to his attention.

Councilor Barbara Hayden asked if the price reduction for 1-inch meters will cause water consumption from single-family homes to jump. Lehman said city staff doesn’t expect that to happen.