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County may cut business APFO fee

April 02, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Developers who construct office buildings in Washington County will be paying lower facilities fees to do so, and other types of businesses also may get a break on the charges.

Tim Troxell, director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, asked the County Commissioners to lower the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, or APFO, fees for specific types of businesses.

The fees are charged to developers in the Long Meadow Road/Maugans Avenue and Robinwood Drive areas. The revenue goes toward road improvements needed in those areas as a result of increased traffic generated by new homes and businesses.

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Troxell's proposal for lower fees came about after a developer told the Economic Development Commission that constructing an office building in the Maugansville area that would house 100 jobs wouldn't be feasible because of a high APFO fee, he said. Troxell said the developer would have to pay a fee of approximately $810,000 to put up a 60,000-square-foot office building.

"The developer said, 'Hey, look, this is not feasible,'" Troxell said.

The $810,000 fee is about 25 percent of the cost of the project, he said.

Troxell declined to discuss whether the office building would be for a company moving into the county or one that is relocating within the county.

He also declined to say whether the approximately 100 jobs would be new or existing jobs moving from another location in the county.

The commissioners late last year approved the fees for road improvements. The total fee varies and is based on the number of automobile trips generated by a particular residential or commercial development.

The commissioners on Tuesday agreed to allow developers of office buildings to pay 25 percent of the total fee, as proposed by Troxell.

In an effort to encourage economic development, Troxell also asked that residential and retail developments pay the full fee, warehouse and distribution centers pay 75 percent of the total fee and industrial and manufacturing pay 50 percent of the total fee.

The commissioners asked Troxell to re-evaluate some of those percentages within 45 days and make another presentation.

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