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Proposed impact fees raise concerns

May 16, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Charles Town, W.Va. - Two people associated with Jefferson County's home building industry appeared before the Jefferson County Commission Thursday to voice concerns about the possible implementation of impact fees.

Alice Chakmakian appeared before the commission as a representative of Jefferson County Citizens for Economic Preservation, which represents people involved in the housing industry.

Chakmakian said her organization does not oppose impact fees, but it is concerned about a wide range of estimations that have been presented about the average number of children generated for each house in the county.

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The numbers have ranged from .15 children per house to .7 children per house, Chakmakian said.

The figures are being studied to determine how much a possible school impact fee for the county should be.

Chakmakian said there also is concern about the school impact fee that is being proposed for mobile homes.

The Jefferson County Board of Education is suggesting a mobile home impact fee of $9,159. Chakmakian said mobile home dealers are concerned about being able to make a living in the business with a fee that high.

Ken Lowe, who helped build the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va., along with other projects in the area, said he also is concerned about the effect of high impact fees.

Lowe said he is concerned that high impact fees will make it difficult for working families to buy a home and thereby create a climate of the "have and have-nots."

Impact fees are fees collected from housing developers to pay increased services needed because of population growth.

Although impact fees can be used to pay for services in a number of areas, one that has been getting a lot of attention is public education.

At last week's commission meeting, Commissioner James G. Knode raised several issues about the county's ability to pass impact fees.

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