Menlo Park fire district to seek impact fees from developers, not cities

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District has abandoned a year-long effort to work with the jurisdictions it serves to enact an impact fee on new development.

The president of the district’s governing board at its May 16 meeting said the board miscalculated when it approved a plan in February 2016 to work directly with the town of Atherton, the cities of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and San Mateo County to implement the fee.

“We made the mistake as a board of passing a resolution that we were going to submit this impact fee proposal to these jurisdictions, and rather than acting in good faith and putting it on the agenda for their elected leaders, they’ve refused to do so,” board President Peter Carpenter said. “This takes that off the table and says, fine, we’ll do our own thing.”

Now, the district will work directly with developers to enact the fee, as it has in past years with Facebook and Bohannon Development Co., which owns Menlo Gateway.

“We’ve been more successful by going directly to the developers and talking to them,” said board Vice President Rex Ianson. “They’re business people, they understand that they’re going to have an impact on the citizens here.”

The fee would be implemented on new commercial and multi-residential construction, but waived for most redevelopments that don’t build to a larger footprint, and the money would be spent toward the purchase of new vehicles and equipment, and station improvements, according to the district. The fee would be assessed on new…

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