Friendswood City Council will continue its consideration of introducing new water and wastewater impact fees at its next council meeting Feb. 5.

The backstory

At Friendswood City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting, Director of Engineering Jil Arias recommended the city adopt a maximum water impact fee of $3,721 and a wastewater impact fee of $1,675, for a total of $5,396.

Friendswood currently assesses water and wastewater impact fees per Texas Local Government Code Chapter 395.

City Council voted unanimously to approve the city’s proposed impact fees but also voted to consider an amendment made by council member Robert Griffon to consider lot threshold at the next City Council meeting Feb. 5.

Those opposed

Griffon introduced a motion to waive all water and wastewater impact fees on infield development lots, as well as large lots that can be divided into four or fewer lots.

Griffon said he opposed infield lots and larger lots having to pay the wastewater and water impact fees because their size indicates that they are situated in areas that have existing infrastructure and have likely already paid an impact fee, meaning they would be charged twice.

“Friendswood is rapidly approaching build-out,” Griffon said. “We should incentivize the development of these infill developments and larger lots and not penalize [developers] by forcing them to pay impact fees twice.”

Community Impact reported in August that the city only has 1,900 acres left to build out.

Those in favor

City Manager Morad Kabiri pointed out that the costs to operate Friendwood’s water infrastructure simply "are what they are."

Friendswood currently has agreements with both Houston and the Gulf Coast Water Authority for use of their surface water and wastewater treatment plants, which would cost more than $100 million if Friendswood were to build its own infrastructure, Kabiri said.

“So theoretically, of our 14,000 active connections we have today, 12,000 of thereabouts are residential,” Kabiri said. “If all of them were to subdivide into two, not four, you would be doubling the demand on our system, and we wouldn’t have the financial resources to provide the services to all of them.”

Next steps

City Council will consider Griffon’s amendment to consider lot threshold at the next meeting Feb. 5.