Nipomo church asks county to waive $96,000 road fee

UPDATE: Supervisors refuse to waive road fee for Nipomo church »

A Nipomo church wants the county to let it escape a fee of nearly $100,000 that the government charges to pay for increased road use.

The Department of Public Works levied the so-called “road improvement fee” of $96,892 on the City Church of the Central Coast.

The congregation intends to build a 28,907-square-foot, two-story church with atrium, multipurpose rooms, day care, nursery, stage and an outdoor playground. It is located at 135 Cimarron Way, near Thompson Avenue and the Highway 101 interchange.

In asking that the fee be reduced or waived, the Rev. Fred Kropp wrote the county that “we are a nonprofit church and have been serving the county for 12 years with free public events and help for basic needs for ... families.”

Kropp also wrote that the church’s traffic impact is “minimal, as we meet on Sunday mornings on off-peak traffic hours.”

The Board of Supervisors is set to adjudicate the appeal, which cost the church $513, when it meets Tuesday morning.

In a report to supervisors, public works said that being a nonprofit tax-exempt organization is not a valid reason under the ordinance to waive a fee.

“The county has applied fees on the nonprofit entities since the inception of the program,” wrote Dave Flynn, deputy director of public works, and Mark Davis of development services.

They added that Sunday is not the only day the church will generate traffic. “The proposed day care, nursery and office staff will generate trips during weekly p.m. peak hour and represent an increase of traffic on the area roads.”

To provide context, the public works staff wrote that since 1991, 32 road improvement fee appeals have been filed in the two South County road regions in question. The Board of Supervisors has adjusted or waived 10, resulting in a loss to the county of $159,000.

Twenty-five of the 32 appeals have been on residences, but there also have been two church appeals, four commercial appeals and one industrial filing.

The four commercial interests that have appealed have fared well with the Board of Supervisors, securing three adjustments and one waiver for a total loss to the county of $100,000.

Of the 25 residential appeals, 22 were denied.

Two South County churches have appealed the road impact fees, with one having them waived and the other adjusted. Countywide, four churches have appealed the fees. The other two were in Templeton, and both were denied.

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