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Letter: Fees, regulations make housing unaffordable
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New home construction Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in the Mundy Mill subdivision in Oakwood. - photo by Scott Rogers

There are no doubt many reasons for the shortage of affordable housing. One very large factor is government fees and regulations.

If you wish to build a home on your own land in Hall County, you must buy a building permit, electrical permit, sewer or septic permit, water permit, driveway permit and perhaps others, along with water or sewer tap-on fees.

You may have to pay a fee to get permission to build from the zoning commission or building official.

If on septic, you will have to pay hundreds of dollars to test the soil. You will also have to pay an impact fee to supposedly help the county/city pay for infrastructure costs.

If you live outside the city, your water/sewer tap-on fees are double.

All of these costs can easily total 10-15 percent of the home’s cost.

If you are building on a subdivision lot, the fees and regulations on the developer adds at least 15-20 percent to the cost of the lot.

These costs might make the home better in some cases; however, they do not make it more affordable.

Impact fees are especially onerous as they add nothing to the house’s value. The abysmal economic ignorance of those city/county leaders who imposed impact fees is appalling.

A new home in Hall County immediately generates $10,000 to $15,000 in new sales taxes on building materials, furnishings, etc. It adds economic benefits to workers, business professionals, even newspapers.

It creates a 75- to 100-year income stream to local governments, plus sales taxes paid by the residents. The total value of this income stream over the life of the home is more than the home originally cost.

Sometimes we hear that a new home does not generate enough funds to educate the children who may live there. This ignores the fact that schools have many other sources of revenue, not just residential property tax. Besides, almost 60 percent of the residential units in Hall County do not have school age children living in them.

We could also debate the humanitarian side of the affordable housing issue, which is probably more important than the economic issues.

Jimmy Echols


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