GARNER — Altering construction fees and other ideas designed to spur growth will be discussed as Garner hosts the second in a series of meetings on economic development at 9 a.m. Sept. 12 at White Deer Park.
On Aug. 22, developers, town officials and other business leaders gathered at White Deer Park to throw out ideas to ensure that Garner would get its fair share of the county’s coming growth. The conversation aims to produce a report and recommendations by the Oct. 29 work session.
Mayor Ronnie Williams said his main takeaway from the first meeting was that fee structures could be changed.
“We’ve had some preliminary discussions with (town) staff. They’ve said it could be reasonable to adjust fees a little,” Williams said.
Town manager Hardin Watkins concurred, and said that after gathering the lay of the land, the next meeting will involve getting deeper into specifics of what might work.
“I think we will dig into the meat of it,” Watkins said. “We wanted to get an idea of what people were thinking in the last meeting.”
Town staff has been working this week to provide research and details that will better inform the next meeting as ideas solidify into proposals. Though he hadn’t worked out an agenda, Watkins said he envisioned groups to discuss different areas to propose ideas.
“My guess is we maybe break up into smaller groups, and begin to sort of brainstorm ideas, solutions, recommendations they want to work toward,” Watkins said.
In particular, the amount and the timing of the fees could be changed. At the first meeting civil engineer Keith pointed out that the developer of a 90-home project in Garner on which he was working would have to pay millions in fees on the whole development up front before building a home.
It has been suggested that fees be paid as individual houses were completed, among other ideas.
“We need to be competitive and the fees need to be in line” with what and when other municipalities in the county charge, Williams said.
The meeting’s participants also agreed on five themes for future research and study: transportation, land availability and infrastructure, policy issues, marketing and promotion and best practices from other communities.
Another meeting will be held Sept. 29, also at White Deer Park.
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