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Impact fee ordinance adopted in Washington Township

July 20, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Two ordinances that will affect the lives of Washington Township residents - one to ban leaf and brush burning, the other establishing an impact fee on new building units - were acted on this week by the Township Supervisors.

The supervisors voted to table the burn ordinance pending further study, while impact fees of $2,714 per unit to finance part of the construction of a seven-mile bypass around Waynesboro became law, Township Manager Michael A. Christopher said Tuesday.

The ordinance to ban leaf and brush burning is being forced upon the township by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the supervisors said Monday night.

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According to Christopher, the township applied for a $292,000 grant from DEP, but the state has tacked on the rule that leaves and brush are to be recycled, not burned.

The issue, which has been in the public forum for about two months, has drawn the ire of many residents who oppose it. Several spoke against it again Monday night.

Residents are still allowed to burn trash in home burn barrels, although things like garbage, plastics or any petroleum-based products are banned by the township's nuisance ordinance, Christopher said.

"Nothing can be burned in a barrel that produces black smoke," he said.

The proposed ordinance that disallows the burning of leaves and brush or any recyclables like paper is separate from the rule that allows burning trash in barrels.

"DEP wants them recycled, not burned," Christopher said.

Farmers and contractors burning brush at construction sites are excluded from the ordinance.

The supervisors instructed Christopher to seek a compromise with DEP that would allow residents to burn brush, leaves and limbs following major windstorms.

The township started the process for the impact fee ordinance in February 2004.

Few municipalities in Pennsylvania have such a law.

A study was needed to determine how many homes might be built in the eight or nine new housing developments served by Washington Township Boulevard, the official name of the bypass.

Also needed was an analysis on the amount of traffic the developments would generate, along with a capital improvements budget on the cost of the new roadway and other improvements.

The cost is estimated at $14 million; all but $1.3 million would be paid through the impact fees. The township will fund the rest with local funds and grants, Christopher said.

When all three - the housing study, traffic analysis and capital improvements budget - were considered, it was determined that an impact fee of $2,714 per unit would be needed.

Developers will add the impact fee to the cost of the homes and commercial buildings at the time of sale.

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