As the Small Business Liaison for BDS, I help small businesses anticipate the regulations and fees for a project they may be considering. That means that “breaking the news” about System Development Charges (SDCs) often falls to me! SDCs are one-time fees that several city bureaus charge to help pay for the facilities (such as street and sewer systems) required to meet growth-related needs for our city. These charges can add up! And restaurants, especially, have felt the bite…
Earlier this month, City Council approved changes to the Transportation System Development Charges. Among those changes was one that went into effect immediately, and allows small restaurants to be charged as generic retail space..
The day after the ordinance was approved, I excitedly called Rich Eisenhauer, Rich administers PDOT’s SDC program -- and he was pretty happy, too. Rich said to me, “This is a great change to help small business. I have already helped save thousands of dollars in SDCs for three people today!” He went on to explain that the rate change had been recommended by PDOT staff and their consultant team and was based on data showing that restaurants above 3,000 square feet generate more trips per 1,000 square feet than smaller restaurants. Also, that restaurants in mixed use urban areas “generate less trips” than stand alone restaurants. PDOT is still coming up with the exact language for their administrative rules, but staff has begun reviewing restaurants with 3,000 square feet or less, that are within a small strip shopping center or mixed use building, as miscellaneous retail. For an idea of what this means: Prior to the change, most small restaurants going into a space that had previously been used as retail could expect a Transportation SDC of close to $15 per square foot of gross floor area. Under the new rates, this would be $0.
These welcome changes to Transportation SDCs come close on the heels of this summer’s reduction in the Bureau of Environmental Services’ Sanitary SDCs for restaurants. Having recently studied the actual flow data on restaurants, BES decided to reduce the rate at which restaurant charges are determined. And that change reduced those SDC rates by almost half!
BDS Small Business Liaison
Please review our Code of Conduct rules before posting a comment to this site.
Report Abuse, please include specific topic and comment for the fastest response/resolution.
Note: This blog posting has been closed and is no longer accepting new comments.