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Jefferson County Commission discusses the elimination of impact fees on commercial structures

December 02, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Mark Dyck, president of the Jefferson County Development Authority, pleaded Thursday with the Jefferson County Commission to eliminate impact fees on commercial structures, saying the fees deter new business investment.

Dyck wants the fees stopped for two to four years to "give the county a competitive edge in recruiting new business."

Impact fees on nonresidential construction property have netted only about $300,000 in the last six years compared to the $16 million from fees for residential construction, Mark Schiavone, the county's impact fee coordinator, said after the meeting.

Nonresidential impact fees only go to fire, emergency service and police agencies. The county can "find other ways" to support those agencies, Dyck said.

Schiavone said he knows of no business that did not move to the county because of impact fees.

"They realize it's the cost of doing business," he said.

Debbie Royalty, a local activist who frequents commission meetings, told the commission that she has seen no data supporting the notion that impact fees deter industries locating in Jefferson County.

"I am quite sure industry expects to be provided police and emergency services and expect that they should have to pay for these services," she said.

Commissioners Walt Pellish, Dale Manuel and Patsy Noland supported the proposal.

"We need to do this now," Pellish said.

Commissioners Lyn Widmyer and Frances Morgan pushed for a public hearing before voting.

Stephanie Grove, the commission's attorney, will check to see if the county can legally split its impact fee program. If so, the commission will hold a public hearing on Dec. 7 followed by a vote on Dec. 15.

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