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County extends deferring construction fees

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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has extended a program that defers impact fees from developers of residential tracts and commercial buildings.

The program was first approved in March 2009 and was most recently extended in July 2011. The unanimous vote Jan. 29 means that impact fees related to transportation, a park lands dedication ordinance, and drainage and sewer for developers will be deferred another two years.

From April 2009 to October 2013, customers were able to defer about $4.5 million in impact fees, with an average deferral period of 165 days, according to the county.

"This policy has helped the building continue in San Diego, meaning more jobs and more economic activity," North County Supervisor Bill Horn said before the vote. "We're still in a soft recovery here in San Diego, and ... they announced that housing prices fell for the first time in a year. We're not out of the woods, and I think the county is helping by deferring these fees until a project is ready."

The deferral program would maintain progress, he said, without "risking the livelihoods of tens of thousands of construction workers."

Deferring the fees will mean losing revenue that would otherwise be generated by interest on the fees if they were collected earlier in the process, county staff said. At the same time, it's thought to stimulate the regional economy by deferring the burden on developers and allowing projects to advance.

The ordinance creating the extension leaves the previously adopted administration fee — which will be charged for each commercial permit issued and for each grouped phase of homes for tract developments — at $170. Unchanged administration levels were recommended.

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