Council to hold hearings on developers' utility fees

November 29, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The County Council will hold public hearings tonight on bills that would give developers flexibility in paying for water and sewer service and modify the county's zoning regulations.

A bill altering the county's requirements for allocating water and sewer service would allow developers to pay for those utilities when they apply for their building permits, or six years after their subdivision plat is approved, whichever comes first.

Current regulations require a developer in an industrial zone to pay for water and sewer service when the subdivision lot lines are approved. The up-front payment was a hardship for many developers, especially in a slower economy in which they might not build for several years. Many banks are reluctant to makes loans to developers until building starts.

The requirement caused a cash-flow problem for many builders and made Anne Arundel County a less attractive place to build, developers argued.

The proposed legislation would allow developers to pay the utility fees in installments over a 15-year period. The entire amount must be paid in full under current law.

Developers are charged in equivalent dwelling units -- units that equal what an average house would use in water and sewer capacity --of $2,000 for each sewer unit and $3,000 for each water unit.

Depending on the size of the building, the size of the lot, and the kind of activity in the building, charges can range from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We feel this will be a positive economic incentive, such that we'll be in a better competitive position than other jurisdictions in the area," said James Hurley, deputy director of the Department of Public Works.

The zoning bill makes technical changes in the regulations, such as adding definitions for rooming houses and hotels. One provision would allow a homeowner to build on a sub-standard-sized lot, which was subdivided before current zoning regulations came into effect, without having to secure a variance.

The council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

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