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Boyd Chevrolet spent $486,000 on stormwater treatment, erosion control, landscaping, sidewalks and other improvements the city of Hendersonville required for its new dealership on Spartanburg Highway, L.C. "Cam" Boyd II said in a letter to Mayor Barbara Volk and the City Council.
Boyd wrote the letter in support of the company's request for a waiver on the city's system development charge, an impact fee that the city assesses in order to set aside money for future capacity improvements.
Boyd said that the dealership is on the site that had contained a trailer park with 48 dwellings, a restaurant, carwash, convenience store and a laundromat using a total of 342,475 gallons of water a month. The dealership the Boyds are moving from at Five Points uses 30,833 gallons a month, he said.
"Please consider any relief you can give me as I am having a difficult time justifying an impact fee when I will be impacting the system 10 times less than it was being impacted previously," he said.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to waive the impact fee.
Boyd itemized the construction, site improvement and permitting fees he said added almost a half million dollars to the cost of the dealership. Land acquisition and construction for the new dealership cost about $6 million, he said in an earlier interview.
The cost to comply with regulations, Boyd said, included:
Although Boyd described the work as "items that are required by the city" the most expensive improvements were state or federal requirements.
"That stormwater requirement is a federal program that we're required to enforce under phase 2 of the stormwater requirement of the Clean Water Act," said City Manager John Connet. "We've got no choice but to enforce it. Cities over 10,000 have to enforce that."
The stormwater requirement (71 percent of the charges Boyd described) is expensive because it forces a developer to ensure that changes to land, in this case several acres of asphalt for a car dealership, does not result in more stormwater runoff than would have happened without it. The contractor installed an underground treatment structure that filters the runoff and catches sediment. Boyd said it cost $347,000.
Erosion control is a state requirement that the county enforces. Building permits costing $20,350 are collected by the county inspections department based on state building code, Connet said.
The City Council waived the impact fee. The city charges a tap fee for all water and sewer hookups that the city manager said covers the cost. Boyd had to pay that.
The sidewalk cost, $30,000, and landscaping cost of $37,000 are city requirements, he acknowledged.
"The majority of the cost he's upset about has been outside of our control," Connet said. "He didn't pay us for the permit; he paid the county for the permit."
The system development charges became a flashpoint in the city election campaign after a developer disclosed that the city had quoted the fee for a proposed carwash at $280,000, and successful candidate said the city has charged him $25,000 to move his water service across the street.
Thirty-nine percent of water systems and 48 percent of sewer systems across the state charge a system development fee, a consultant told the City Council. The council voted to restructure the fees, slashing the commercial rate by 80 percent and tripling the one-time impact fee for new residential hookups.