Welcome to ImpactFees.com, the nation’s most comprehensive and current collection of online information relating to impact fees and infrastructure financing. This website is provided as a public service by Duncan Associates, one of the nation’s leading impact fee consulting firms.
Over the past quarter century, impact fees have become an integral part of local government infrastructure financing. As an offspring of the negotiated exaction and the fee-in-lieu of land dedication, impact fees have done more to change our approach to paying for public facilities than any other single financing technique. Because of them, the phrase "growth should pay its own way" is now part of our national vocabulary.
Impact fees come in many forms and flavors. They first appeared on the American scene in the 1950s and 1960s as capital recovery fees for the funding of water and wastewater facilities. With the decline of Federal and State grants to local governments and the ascension of the anti-tax revolution in the late 1970s, their use was expanded to several non-utility facilities, such as roads, parks and schools. It was not until the 1980s, however, that impact fees began being universally used for a broader array of municipal facilities, such as fire, police and libraries.
After a series of court cases in Florida, California and Utah validated their usage in the early 1980s, impact fees quickly spread throughout the rapidly-urbanizing Sunbelt and Rocky Mountain West. These cases collectively set forth the "rational nexus" legal doctrine, which established a regulatory road map for the drafting of impact fees at the local level.
In 1986, Texas adopted the first impact fee enabling act. Since then, over half of all states have adopted such acts. Cities and counties in other states generally adopt impact fees under home rule authority or private acts. In 1988, the American Planning Association published the first comprehensive collection of scholarly and practitioner essays on the impact fee phenomenon. The book became an immediate best-seller.
This website is dedicated to several former Florida colleagues tthat were primarily responsible for the birth of impact fees as we know them today. In the early 1970s, Broward County was witnessing extraordinary growth and rapidly declining service levels. Led by County Commissioners, Anne Kolb, Ken Jenne and Howard Forman, the County adopted a new Charter, mandated land use planning, passed a major capital bond issue, drafted a new land development code and adopted a new financing tool called an "impact fee". It was their vanguard efforts that reshaped the way that American cities and counties now pay for public infrastructure.