Pa. supervisors delay decision on impact fees

April 04, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The future of traffic impact fees in Washington Township, Pa., remains undecided, as the township supervisors announced Monday they will delay further discussion until April 13.

The supervisors are considering lowering the existing fees or establishing new ones.

Traffic impact fees are assessed on new development in a defined geographic zone to fund development of Washington Township Boulevard. That relief route, last estimated at $16.7 million, would provide an east-west alternative to Pa. 16. The first section from Pa. 16 in Rouzerville, Pa., to Old Forge Road is open, and a $3 million bridge was built near Country Club Road.

Shortening the planned route of Washington Township Boulevard could allow for reduced fees, township officials said last week.

The supervisors entered into a half-hour, closed-door session during their meeting Monday to talk about impact fees. Solicitor John Lisko recommended the executive session, saying the matter concerns “potential litigation” as “claims may be filed.”

When the supervisors returned to open session, Lisko announced that the board agreed to postpone discussion until April 13.

Traffic Planning and Design Inc., a consulting firm, and members of the impact fee committee will be asked to attend the April 13 meeting starting at 7 p.m., Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

“There are legal issues that we have to be concerned about,” said Stephen Kulla, chairman of the supervisors.

Currently, each “traffic unit” created by development generates $3,147 for the township. Developers say the fees often start at $100,000 for commercial projects, which can affect what entities are willing to start doing business in the township.

Last week, Kulla questioned spending $35,000 upfront for a new study that would be necessary to re-establish fees based on a shorter relief route. Some of that study could be funded by the fees themselves.

Planning commission member Christopher Firme, a former supervisor, told the supervisors he feels the money for the study could be better spent.

“Let’s finish fixing some of the roads we started in our overlay project,” he said, specifically mentioning Furnace Road.

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