Winner refutes claims

November 07, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commissioner-elect Greg Corliss disputed claims by his Democratic challenger that the county is going to become an "elitist community" if the county adopts high impact fees and requires bigger building lots to offset growth.

As he was conceding victory to Corliss Tuesday night, Democrat Greg Lance said he is worried that high impact fees and large lot sizes will make housing so expensive that people on medium incomes will not be able to live here.

"No one is there to represent their interests," Lance said.

Corliss argues that it is the middle class he is concerned about.

If the cost to expand services needed because of population growth is not passed on to developers through impact fees, county residents could be stuck with the bill through tax increases, Corliss said.


"It's just a question of who is going to pay," said Corliss, who supports full-cost impact fees, which are fees that reflect the full cost of providing services.

Lance said Corliss supports limiting development to one house per 10 acres, but Corliss said he never stated that.

Corliss defeated Lance Tuesday in a race for the Harpers Ferry district seat on the county commission.

Corliss received 6,011 votes, or 57 percent of the vote, and Lance received 4,474 votes, according to complete, but unofficial returns.

In the race for the Kabletown district seat, Republican Rusty Morgan received 5,517, or 52 percent of the vote, to overcome Democrat G. Warren Mickey, who received 5,015 votes, or 48 percent, according to complete, but unofficial returns.

Both races had centered around growth-related issues such as making sure there are enough schools to serve the county's growing population in coming years and setting up impact fees to help pay for them.

The candidates also debated how to manage residential growth.

Corliss said Wednesday he supports the commission working with Tischler and Associates to determine the amount of the fees.

The commissioners entered into a $53,100 contract with the Bethesda, Md.-firm in July to have the company set up a impact fee system for the county.

Some commissioners believe an impact fee system could be approved for the county by the beginning of 2003, when Corliss and Morgan take office.

In addition to impact fees, Corliss said it is important for the county to determine what kind of population density requirements it wants in growth areas.

That work will be done as part of a new comprehensive plan for the county, Corliss said.

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