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Washington Township supervisors can't decide on impact-fee refund policy

January 22, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Washington Township Supervisors reached an impasse Monday when determining whether to establish a policy that would refund all or some of a developer's traffic impact fees as he builds Washington Township Boulevard.

Those fees are assessed at $2,714 per lot when a land-use permit is issued in new township housing developments planned along the route of Washington Township Boulevard. Some developers have an agreement to build a portion of the road in exchange for the impact fees.

Accent Developers, which is responsible for the Spring Run development, has asked for the return of approximately $50,000 being held by the township. Representatives of Accent Developers said they have built more than $50,000 worth of the boulevard, although their section near the intersection of Stottlemyer and Gehr roads is not complete.

"There's going to be the same situation with the next guy," Supervisor John Gorman said. That's why it's important to understand that granting Accent Developers' request will set a precedent, he said.

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Solicitor John Lisko recommended that the supervisors hold all the money until Accent Developers' portion of the road is done.

"My opinion of the agreement is that you don't get credit until all the work is done. ... You're never required to give them any credit until all the work is done," Lisko said.

Some of the supervisors changed their positions on the matter throughout Monday's discussion, but they ultimately ended up divided.

Gorman and Carroll Sturm said they were in favor of returning all the impact fees to Accent Developers. Chris Firme and Elaine Gladhill said they would support returning half.

Stephen Kulla, who was absent from the meeting, said in an e-mail that he would follow Lisko's advice, meaning that he would not approve refunding any money.

Dave George, a representative of the developer, said that his understanding was "we could either build it or provide financial security to build it."

George questioned why it has taken more than a month for a response to his request, saying it should either be a full refund or nothing at all based on legality.

"We can't even get an answer out of these folks," he said.

The matter was tabled until the Feb. 4 meeting.

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