PHOENIX-Some impact fees for developers in Arizona may be on their way out, thanks to a preliminary opinion from an Appellate Court judge.

The judge issued a preliminary opinion that cities have no constitutional right to impose the fee. In his opinion, the judge found no constitutional or statutory authority for leaders in the community of Apache Junction to impose a development fee “for school finance purposes.”

Developers filed their appeal of a lower court’s ruling that allows cities to charge builders. Apache Junction has been charging home, apartment and mobile home park developers impact fees since 1998: Developers pay an extra $1,368 for each new house, $366 for a mobile home and $276 for each new apartment unit.

While Apache Junction is the only city that mandates school development fees, other school districts collect voluntary funds. Still other communities, including the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, plan to make voluntary donations a mandatory practice if the courts eventually rule in favor of Apache Junction.

The preliminary ruling came from one of three judges who will hear the case starting next week. A final ruling is expected to be issued soon after.

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