Friday, January 04, 2008

Leopold Proposes Bold Hike in Impact Fees

According to today's Capital, last night the County Executive unveiled a sweeping proposal to raise impact fees on new development to make it cover its full cost, as recommended by a consultant to the County. The impact fees would be raised for both residential and commercial projects, with residential development having to pay for increased school, road, and public safety infrastructure costs, and commercial having to pay for roads and public safety.

In practical terms, that means the impact fee for an average home will increase from about $4,500 to $20,500. The fees on commercial development will be significantly more, likely weighted towards meeting traffic needs. The money collected through these fees is used to provide additional infrastructure to accommodate growth.

Predictably, the Homebuilders' lobbyist, and vice president of Ribera Development, Eric DeVito cried wolf, saying, "the new fees are so high that it may shut down building in Anne Arundel." We should all be so lucky to see such a day.

Once introduced, the future of the bill is in the hands of the County Council. Let's hope they don't gut this important piece of legislation in favor of pandering to the development community. It's about time that new development started to pay its own way, rather than relying on subsidies from the public-at-large.

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