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Council considering tacking fire fee onto new development
photo credit: (Credit: BAKOKO)
The price of a new home in the city of Sonoma will likely to get more expensive soon. 
Sonoma city officials are considering a proposed fire protection development fee. It would bring Sonoma in line with ones approved for nearby unincorporated areas. But they aren't exactly trivial. The $1.72 per square foot amount being pondered would add close to $3,500 to the cost of a 2,000 square foot home. 
Interim City Manager Dave Kiff says housing costs are a concern, but safety is paramount.
"What hurts housing affordability just as much, is the inability to serve it with fire services, and that's the kind of consequence we're facing," Kiff said.
Officials estimate the fee would generate $130,000-$140,000 annually, depending on the pace of construction. A study commissioned by the city found, without the new fee, current services and response time could not be maintained as the city of Sonoma grows.
"As the population grows, the types of fire equipment can change, and that it seems fair to have the new development pay for the incremental cost of adding that new equipment," Kiff added.
 Other existing impact fees...on schools, water and sewer systems, along with permit fees...already tack $34,000 onto the price of a home that size.
If approved, new fees would also apply to new apartments, mobile homes, offices and retail space.
However, as is the case in unincorporated areas of the county, accessory dwelling units of 750 square feet or less, would be exempt.
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