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vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for fredericksburg.com and The Free Lance-Star.

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Builders plan to rally against new impact fees at public hearing

Developers and builders may be out in large numbers at Tuesday’s public hearing on a countywide transportation impact fee. The fees would be levied on new residential development and go toward offsetting costs for $206 million worth of road projects.

The Board of Supervisors has discussed different exceptions for development already in progress to avoid paying unexpected fees, as well as the amount of that fee, publicized at a maximum of $5,500 for a single family house. (Read a past discussion by the board here.) Currently, there are only fees in place in Hartwood. Fee collection wouldn’t begin until January 2014.

The Fredericksburg Area Builders Association, and many builders and developers, are fighting the change to the county code.

“Should this unfair and miscalculated fee be implemented it would have significant impact on the housing industry – both new construction and resale,” executive vice president Bea Phelps wrote in an email.

FABA commissioned an analysis from Kittelson & Associates, Inc. on the county’s proposed fee and list of roads that would benefit. Developers hope the information will convince the county to reconsider their methods.

The report states, “It is our professional opinion that the design of the program and the calculation of the proposed transportation impact fees proposed by Stafford County did not utilize acceptable professional standards and is not in accordance with Section 15.2-2217 et seq. of the Virginia Code.” (Read the entire document here.)

Justin Stonehill of Hour Homes of Forest View Estates emailed developers and builders today to encourage them to speak at Tuesday’s hearing.

“How does this affect you?  The cost to build a home goes up, profit goes down,” he wrote. “Builders wont be able to bear the brunt of this charge without affecting the amount we can pay our subs to do their work. It will also decrease the value of every parcel of land in the county.  Builders wont be able to buy land at the same price as before, which will affect the price developers pay landowners, etc. “

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