Farr West impact fees upset business owner

Jan 13 2013 - 8:52am

FARR WEST -- An unhappy commercial business owner, Steve Huntsman, complained to the city council recently about the amount of the storm water impact fees he is required to pay.

Huntsman said he has refused to pay the fees and now is being threatened with the water being shut off to his business complex at 3677 N. Highway 126.

Huntsman said he is referring to the monthly fee for the impact his business complex has on the city storm water system.

"I called the city because I remember when we were doing it, they passed an agreement to reduce the ERU's (Equivalent Residential Unit) on some businesses, and all churches and schools to a 50 percent rate," Huntsman, said. "When I got my bill it was $3 per ERU."

Huntsman said his bill went from $3 per month to $281 per month.

"This is a very steep impact. I am here to petition the council to cut the ERU's in half, based on soil conditions that we are dealing within Farr West City," said Huntman. He said he lives in North Ogden and the soil there is mostly gravel, but in Farr West it is mostly a clay base.

"All the area in there is clay-based, we had to mitigate the run of water because it doesn't go anywhere, it sits on top and freezes all winter," Huntsman said. "It doesn't percolate. It's similar to asphalt."

Huntsman said Farr West city is bearing all the burden of water flow from what communities build upstream.

"I built a nice business.Don't penalize me. Have a flat rate for businesses, churches and schools," Huntsman said.

Councilman Paul Dinsdale said the same formula is used to calculate the fees for all the businesses in the community.

Dinsdale asked city employee Sean Lambert how the fees compare with surrounding communities, and Lambert said Farr West was the lowest.

"The storm water rate is listed as an impact fee, but really is not," Councilman Tom Burkland said. "It is intended for maintenance of the storm water system."

Burkland said if each tenant of the business were charged $10 per month toward the fee, it would compare to the amount that home-owners in Farr West pay for the same service and suggested that was a way Huntsman could handle the fee.

"I think we take this under advisement and move along," Dinsdale said. "I don't think we're being unreasonable. I don't anticipate any further action."

"It is an illegal exemption," Huntsman said, "I will file a complaint. Also, I have been paying my water bill, but I got a shut-off notice. You want to shut off my water, you are a monopoly, you are going to shut off my water if I don't pay an impact fee."

"They will shut off your water if the bill goes unpaid," City Clerk Andrea Zweifel said.

"That is from Bona Vista, it's nothing to do with the city," Mayor Lee Dickemore said. "Go down and talk to them personally."

"They said it was the city," Huntsman said. "They said if you're not paying your bill or any portion of your city bill, then they can shut off the water. I am paying water and sewer and trying to get this resolved with the city. I don't think it's fair. If they shut the water off, I will be forced to get an injunction or something."

Councilwoman Ava Painter again suggested Huntsman divide the water impact fee between the tenants to offset the cost.

Huntsman responded that not all of his 28 units are being used at this time.

The city council took no action on the matter.


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