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City Council to examine residential system development charges June 6

Funds would go toward local trail upgrades

The Sandy City Council at its Monday, June 6, meeting will consider raising residential system development charges (SDCs) to developers as a way to pay for area trail improvements.

The projected SDC increase would be $1,406 for new-construction, single-family homes. The current SDC for residential single-family home construction is $2,311, bringing the new single-family SDC fee to $3,717. Residential developers pay the fees, meaning that current homeowners aren’t expected to subsidize new growth, explained Mike Walker, the city’s director of public works.

The funds would be devoted solely to Sandy city trails, including hiking and biking trails.

Developing and expanding Sandy’s trail network has been a goal of the council since its 2013-15 budget cycle, Walker said. City leaders surveyed Sandy residents and found that trails were one of the top amenities they desired. But no funding source then existed, which led planners to consider SDCs as one way to pay for the projects.

The city hired a Lake Oswego consulting firm to determine the best way to calculate the SDC fees. At the June 6 meeting, the council is likely to vote on whether it approves the fees. In addition to single-family home SDCs, there is also a proposed SDC increase of $954 for residential multifamily structures.

Even with the hike, Sandy’s SDCs still remain some of the lowest when stacked up to comparable cities.

Planners have identified seven trails they hope to build at a total cost of $4,083,300.

Money from the projects will not come entirely from SDC fees, but the fees can also be used to garner matching dollars from other funding sources such as grants, said Nancy Enabnit, community services director.

Two projects are considered priority. The first, Bell Street fields to Kate Schmitz Avenue, located by Sandy High School, involves an area owned by the Oregon Trail School District. It’s already a walking trail, but because of security reasons, it’s not accessible during school hours. Also, wheeled vehicles and pets aren’t allowed. The city would like to purchase that area and make it part of its own trail system, allowing residents greater use.

The second priority project, OR-211 to Jacoby Road, is on the southern side of Sandy.

“Our vision is to do a full loop around town,” Enabnit said.