In a booming residential construction corridor southwest of Chicago, builders voted to support higher impact fees. Subsequently, the Will County (Illinois) Board in mid-July passed the initiative, which will increase construction permits in the county's unincorporated land by as much as 4 percent annually beginning in 2005. The purpose: funding school construction.
"It was one of the tougher decisions we've ever had to make, and support was by no means unanimous," says Greg Anderson, president of the combined Will-Grundy counties' home building association. Anderson is also manager of acquisitions, planning and entitlement for D.R. Horton's Cambridge Homes area division.
Supporters of the measure cited Will County's 10,000-plus home starts a year, more than one-quarter of the Chicago metropolitan market. School construction funds, they say, are needed to prevent future school overcrowding and other ill effects, including a devaluation of area housing. Anderson believes there was no workable alternative that would eliminate the need to raise funds for school "sticks and bricks," including annexation by nearby cities such as Joliet or Plainfield.