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Ranson not giving up on fight over impact fees

September 17, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.Va. - The City of Ranson is not giving up in its fight over Jefferson County's impact fees.

The Jefferson County Commission passed impact fees to raise money for new schools.

When a developer applies for a building permit in the county, the builder pays a certain impact fee based on what type of project it is.

School impact fees went into effect Jan. 26, 2004, but some of the money initially collected in Ranson was not forwarded to the county, officials said.

Ranson Mayor David Hamill has said he did not think Ranson had the right to deny someone a building permit if an impact fee has not been paid.

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Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes recently ruled that the county can collect impact fees in Ranson and a "voluntary proffer" process Ranson was using instead of the fees was not allowed.

Hamill voiced frustration over the issue during a Ranson City Council meeting Tuesday night and said the city expects to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court of Appeals.

Hamill said the city was told when state impact fee legislation was being formulated that the system would only apply to counties. Hamill said he expects the city to seek help from the West Virginia Municipal League, which represents the interests of cities, in the court battle.

"Personally, I'm disappointed in Judge Wilkes," Hamill said.

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