Financing Habitat Protection
Open Space Impact Fees
Impact fees equip a municipality with a mechanism to pay for future infrastructure, service and open/green space needs that grow as the local population expands. Impact fees work by requiring that private residential developments creating the need for the increased municipal services, pay a fee that helps to cover the costs for that specific service expansion. The fees collected must be used to address the need created by the new residents moving into town and should not be used to address pre-existing problems not created by new growth. Although impact fees have traditionally been used to fund new sewer systems or road projects, many communities are using impact fees to address the ever-growing need for green space, open land, and recreational facilities. Each community interested in crafting a local impact fee ordinance for open space should first complete an open space plan that assesses local desire for future facilities, inventories existing green space, and can serve as a basis for moving ahead with an ordinance.
The following examples are from the Towns of Brunswick and Saco. The Brunswick example includes links to the impact fee ordinance language as well as to a thorough explanation of the methodology used to determine the fee amount.
- Brunswick Ordinance Relating to Impact Fees
- Brunswick Open Space Impact Fee Methodology
- Saco Impact Fee Ordinance
Additional information on impact fees can be found in Financing Infrastructure Improvements through Impact Fees: A Manual for Maine Municipalities on the Design and Calculation of Development Impact Fees, a document provided through the State Planning Office.