New homes built in Churchill County will be assessed a $2,300 fee to construct new roads to ease traffic caused by growth in the valley.
Churchill County Commissioners voted 3-0 Wednesday to approve a capital improvement plan, including a fee to pay for critical traffic needs to avoid the potential for gridlock as area subdivisions are developed.
After months of study and analysis of growth areas in the region, the county is focusing on two possible road extensions to move traffic without impacting the Reno Highway. County officials said road improvements are essential to handle traffic from eight subdivisions planned in the northwest section of the county.
One option is the extension of Wade Lane from US 95 to Soda Lake Road. That alternative would ease traffic on Rice Road and the Gummow Drive/York Lane intersection. The cost estimate to extend Wade is $7.5 million.
The second proposal would extend Moody Lane to Gummow Drive at a cost of $10.1 million.
The exact locations of the proposed roads have not been identified and depend on obtaining rights-of-way and how much money is collected from the new development impact fee.
A public hearing on the construction fee is set for Dec. 21.
The fee will apply to all new residential dwelling units, including the placement of manufactured homes, stick-built houses and multi-family residences. It will also be added to new commercial or industrial structures.
The $2,300 fee will not be charged when a resident is replacing an existing home with a new home, or when a mobile home is placed on property through a special-use permit. Residents or business owners who build an addition to an existing building will also not be billed. Nor will it apply to guest houses, garages or barns.
Large developments will be required to contribute to street improvements beyond the $2,300 road fee as part of approval.
"This is one of the necessary things to keep up with growth in our area," Commissioner Norm Frey said before voting for the new developer fee. "It's something that will be revisited after a short period of time and can be adjusted. This is not something we're going to set and forget."
Commissioner Lynn Pearce said the county needs to work closely with the Nevada Department of Transportation because state roads will also be affected by county growth.
"If we're dumping all the traffic on US 95 we need to keep NDOT's feet to the fire to make sure they keep up with us," Pearce said.
The impact fee applies to new construction anywhere in the county.