Katie Thisdell reports on news from Stafford County. Contact her at email@example.com or at 540/735-1975.
Impact fee hearing canceled
Don’t show up at the Stafford board chambers tonight.
No one will be here.
After discussing the transportation impact fees and its associated Comprehensive Plan amendment during an afternoon closed session, the Board of Supervisors announced that the public hearing, planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday, would be canceled. (Since it was the only public hearing, there will be no evening session at all today.)
The board is sending the amendment back to the Planning Commission with a 60-day time limit. The reasoning behind that decision was not specified.
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 the developer and builder community has been critical of the fees, which they say are too high and will affect their industry, along with the everyday homeowner.
Local land-use attorney Clark Leming, representing the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association, sent a letter to the county on 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 writes 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 to Friday’s letter in a memo included in today’s board add-on package, explaining that the costs “for improvements are spread in a proportionate manner as outlined in the State Code.”
This will come back to the board for public hearing in about three months. The Planning Commission will have to hold a hearing in its 60 days, as well.