City reduces impact fees for proposed sports training facility near airport

The training facility proposed by Phahler Sport Specific would see a peak occupancy of 96 people, not the 219 initially thought, prompting the city to reduce the impact fees placed upon the developer.

The developer of a sports training facility planned near the airport appealed the fees that come with connecting to city services and won a reduction of nearly 43 percent, a move that drew praise Wednesday from several members of the Missoula City Council.

The reduction, recommended after a review by Development Services, was approved by the council’s Administration and Finance Committee, cutting the fees owed by Pfahler Sport Specific from $79,000 to roughly $34,000.

“They have a building permit through the county, but because they were going to connect to city sewer, they were assessed impact fees,” said Don Verrue, assistant director of Development Services. “The applicant talked to me about the appeal and we suggest they do an impact fee study through an architect.”

Pfahler Sport is planning a training facility on Interstate Place near Missoula International Airport. The initial impact fee of $79,000 was based upon the facility’s square footage and its maximum occupancy load.

But Verrue said the facility’s design, which includes several basketball courts, a sprint track and an agility training area, isn’t designed to accommodate the occupancy loads projected by the International Building Code of 219 people.

The actual number of people the facility can support, even at peak hours, was far less, Verrue said.

“We came up with a maximum load of 94 people versus what the building code would say was 219 people,” said Verrue. “We determined a 43 percent reduction to the number of people that would be here. We felt it was a fair impact fee of $34,000.”

Impact fees are imposed by the city on new projects to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services, such as sewer, water and roads, to new development. The fees are generally based on development type and occupancy loads, among other guiding standards.

The reduction won praises from members of the council.

“I really appreciate the flexibility Development Services has demonstrated here,” said Ward 5 council member Julie Armstrong. “That savings in impact fees is a full-time salary for somebody. That’s a new job and I think that recognizing that, even though it doesn’t fill the city coffers, it is just as valuable.”