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Legal action still possible on impact fees

March 29, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - After a meeting between a county official and mayors of two local towns resulted in more "stumbling blocks" over the collection of school impact fees, county officials are continuing to consider legal action in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Earlier this month, the Jefferson County Commission decided to take legal action after learning that no school impact fees had been collected for new homes in Charles Town and Ranson, W.Va., since county officials began collecting the fees Jan. 26.

Ranson Mayor David Hamill has said he does not think the county has the authority to collect impact fees. Charles Town Mayor Randy Hilton said he did not realize impact fees were not being forwarded to the county from Charles Town.

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Before any legal action occurred, County Commission President Al Hooper said he wanted to meet with Hamill and Hilton in an attempt to work out differences over the collection of impact fees.

Hooper said last week that the meeting was held, but it seemed to produce more "stumbling blocks."

Hooper said he is "not real encouraged" about making progress.

Jefferson County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Michael Cassell, who is representing the commissioners on the issue, has declined to say what kind of legal action the commissioners might pursue.

Under the law the commissioners passed that implemented impact fees, cities shall not issue a building permit for a home unless a school impact fee has been paid to the county, county officials said.

In Charles Town, building permits for nine single-family homes and nine townhouses or duplexes have been approved, officials said. The new homes should have resulted in $114,156 in impact fees being collected for the school system, officials said.

In Ranson permits for five single family homes have been issued and building permits for two townhomes have been issued, officials said. Those new homes should have resulted in $46,734 in impact fees being collected, officials said.

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