Developers pay twice, city says NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

January 22, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Taneytown and Carroll County officials say they are working to make sure developers do not pay twice for getting their plans reviewed.

Taneytown officials contended yesterday that the fees developers pay for county reviews of their building plans amount to double charging for services already provided for a fee by the city.

"We still want the county comments on the plans," said City Manager Joseph A. Mangini Jr. "But we need to know if there is a duplication in the service the developer is getting at both levels."

During a meeting with the county commissioners and county planning representatives at the Havilah Inn yesterday, Mr. Mangini said that the fees present problems for city development because the county stops the review process when developers do not pay.

"The county comments are just a courtesy and not a mandate, so we are going to continue to process plans whether the developer pays the county fee or not," Mr. Mangini said.

Frank Schaeffer, chief of the county's development and review bureau, said that Carroll towns and cities are not charged for portions of the plans they review themselves.

But the county does a comprehensive review, not just a "courtesy" review, Mr. Schaeffer said.

"While there may be some duplication in the process, I can assure you what we do is a complete job," he said.

"If there are any parts of the review that are duplicated -- other than what we must, by law, provide -- we can do away with those portions of the review."

Last summer, the county adopted a municipal review fee that requires developers to pay for as much reviewing of plans as they needed.

Recently, plans for a 22-lot Taneytown development were held up for more than a month because Taneytown's planning commission waited for county comments, which were being withheld pending payment of the municipal review fee by the developer.

"The problem is that we had those plans come back to us without comments we were waiting for, some of which are not even required," said Mr. Mangini.

"I feel that if the developer doesn't pay the fee, that's [the county's] jurisdiction. As far as the city is concerned, the developer has met our requirements without paying the county fee."

Anne Poissant, the county's town plan reviewer, said state law requires the county to approve parts of development plans dealing with sediment control and grading, forest conservation, water and sewer, and landscaping.

But other items can be reviewed by town or city engineers, or by the local planning and zoning commissions, without county input, Ms. Poissant said.

"We only charge fees for what the city does not provide," said Ms. Poissant said.

Commission President Donald I. Dell said that county and city officials need to work out a plan to ensure that developers are only charged for what the county is required to review.

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