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Deal reached on school land

March 19, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Two proposals designed to help county schools deal with expected increases in student population were given the green light by the Jefferson County Board of Education Tuesday night.

Board members approved a recommended set of impact fees to offset the cost of new school facilities and a plan to donate 57 acres from the 1,000-acre Huntfield development for a second high school.

Impact fees are collected from developers to help pay for the cost of new public services required as a result of population growth.

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A committee has been working since September to come up with school impact fees, and Tuesday night, a spokesman for the group said the committee is recommending an impact fee of $9,238 for every house built in the county.

Other impact fees would be $9,159 per mobile home, $5,451 per townhouse, $772 per single-story duplex and $3,166 per apartment built, said Alan Sturm, spokesman for the committee.

The suggested fees are expected to be turned over to Tischler and Associates, a Bethesda, Md., firm that has been hired by the county to develop an impact fee system for the county.

Under the high school land deal, the 57 acres would be returned to Greenvest, L.C., the Vienna, Va., firm building Huntfield, if the Board of Education does not use the property in six years, Board of Education President Lori Stilley said.

Because the land used to be an orchard, Greenvest will remove a top layer of soil from the site, school officials said.

Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said the usual way to deal with properties that have been used as orchards is to scrape the top soil from them.

Residents have voiced concerns over whether there is pesticide residue at the site.

Also under the agreement, Greenvest will fill in two sinkholes on the property, said John H. Norman, coordinator of facilities management and construction for Jefferson County Schools.

No part of the school will rest on the sinkholes, Norman said.

An attorney for the Board of Education and an attorney representing Greenvest worked on the proposal, school officials said.

The proposal has yet to be approved by Greenvest officials.

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