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ASSESSMENT OF COMMERCIAL CUSTOMER WATER IMPACTS
Most utilities have defined and codified the usage of water per single family unit for the purposes of estimating water demand and assessing impact fees. These values are generally based on historical usage of single family units and system peaks. Furthermore, these values are normally
not contested and are straightforward in their application and understanding. But how much water will that new office park use? If the water demand for the office park is estimated too low, then they will not have paid their fair share for plant capacity, transmission, distribution and
financing of the water system infrastructure. The courts (City of Punta Gorda v. Burnt Store Hotel, Inc., 2nd District, Case No. 93-03575) have mandated that a utility may not reassess impact fees to existing customers without substantial change. For example in the above referenced
case the utility sought to collect additional impact fees from a restaurant that had added additional seating. Therefore, it is imperative that utilities make an accurate assessment because a second chance is unlikely. Also, courts have ruled (City of Tarpon Springs v. Tarpon Springs Arcade
Limited, District Court of Appeal, 2nd District, No. 90-01731) that impact fees must not be arbitrary and capricious. In other words, there must be a rational nexus between the fee being charged and impact upon the system. Therefore, the methods and standards must be established
logically. Furthermore, such methods and standards should be properly codified such that the utility remains an administrator of laws and codes rather than becoming a lawmaker for each development.
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