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Council approves building fee plan

January 21, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Beginning Feb. 3, home builders in six developments in Charles Town will have to start paying a $9,605 fee for every home they build to help pay for new schools and other public services.

Charles Town City Council members unanimously approved the so-called "proffer" fee during their meeting Monday night.

The council had originally considered a proffer fee of $13,430.

For every $9,605 fee collected, $7,122 will go to Jefferson County Schools for new schools. City council members considered setting aside $8,300 for schools, but decided Monday night to reduce that to $7,122, the same amount adopted recently by the Jefferson County Commission.

When the commissioners passed school impact fees, they said agreements would have to be drawn up for the collection of the fees in the county's towns and cities.

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Council members agreed to reduce the school impact fee after Jefferson County Board of Education President Lori Stilley suggested Tuesday that the city and county fee be the same to insure there is no disparity in the system.

The remaining $2,483 from Charles Town's proffer fee will be used to help pay for expanded police and fire protection, public works facilities, parking, park facilities and the Old Charles Town Library, officials said.

Some residents have raised concerns about how the county's impact fee and the city's proffer fee will affect people's ability to buy affordable housing in the county.

Council member Matt Ward suggested that the proffer fee either be eliminated for each affordable housing unit sold or reduced by 75 percent.

The proffer fees only apply to developments on properties that have been annexed into the town and subdivisions whose developers have agreed to pay some level of proffer fees to the city, council members said.

Those developments include the proposed 3,800-home Huntfield development along U.S. 340 south of the city; Norborne Glebe, a proposed 1,427-home development near the intersection of W.Va. 9 and the Charles Town bypass; the Wu property; Spruce Hill; Winchester Cold Storage; and Green Meadows.

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