Builders awaiting decision on fees
BY KATIE THISDELL
Developers won’t know for a few more months if they’ll have to pay fees for every house they build in Stafford County to help fix the county’s roads.
A public hearing on these transportation impact fees was canceled last week after the Stafford Board of Supervisors convened in closed session to discuss possible legal issues.
The board is sending the amendment to the comprehensive plan back to the Planning Commission with a 60-day time limit. The reasoning behind that decision was not specified.
The commission will hold another public hearing on the fees before the matter goes back to the board later this spring.
If adopted, the proposed impact fees would make Stafford the first county to collect money on new development to pay for road improvements necessitated by that growth. But developers and builders have been critical of the fees, which they say are too high and will affect their industry, along with homeowners.
Local land-use attorney Clark Leming, representing the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association, sent a letter to the county Feb. 1 outlining “serious flaws in the methodology utilized
by the county’s consultant, Tischler–Bise, and several respects in which their approach violates the specific requirements.” He wrote that FABA would like to ensure that the fees are calculated “correctly and lawfully.”
FABA’s traffic experts recommend a maximum fee of $1,833, rather than the county’s current proposal of $5,427.
Keith Dayton, assistant county administrator, replied in a memo to the board at its meeting this past Tuesday, explaining that the costs “for improvements are spread in a proportionate manner as outlined in the State Code.”
Currently, fees exist in the Hartwood area of the county. The board recently repealed fees in the George Washington District after Supervisor Bob Thomas said they were discouraging new businesses from getting established.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975