Town council to offer legislation for impact fees Hampstead seeks control over development costs

February 11, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Hoping to gain control over the costs of residential growth, the Hampstead Town Council is to introduce legislation tonight that would impose development impact fees and establish public works construction guidelines.

"It's the job of this council to make sure that new development pays for its fair share," said Councilman Stephen A. Holland, who is sponsoring the impact fee ordinance.

"Most other towns in Carroll County have impact fees. We're just trying to catch up with everyone else."

For several months, council members and Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin have been discussing the proposal.

Town officials would not provide estimates of the impact fee, saying the amount will be presented tonight as part of the ordinance.

The plan comes as Hampstead officials are bracing for a wave of residential development.

The council gave final approval in December to Westwood Park, a 290-unit subdivision, and in September approved an agreement setting conditions for the first phase of construction of North Carroll Farms IV, a development that could have 220 units.

By conservative estimates, 510 new housing units would bring 1,275 new residents to Hampstead, which has a population of 4,000, said town manager Neil Ridgely.

A just-completed study of the town's water system indicates that major renovations are needed, Ridgely said. Revenue from impact fees might also be used to hire police officers and a clerk/dispatcher for the police force, to hire another town maintenance employee and to buy land for recreational use.

"I feel it is unfair to ask existing residents to absorb all the costs," said Ridgely, who has prepared a report to be presented tonight, comparing the impact fees of other county municipalities.

According to Ridgely's research, Manchester charges a $6,400 per unit impact fee. Taneytown assesses a $7,200 impact fee, which includes water and sewer benefits assessments and parkland development funds. Westminster's impact fee varies, depending on unit size, but Ridgely says the city typically collects $7,700 per unit.

Union Bridge charges a $6,800 water and sewer assessment fee, which went into effect in November. Sykesville charges a $900 fee for each new residential unit, in addition to other fees for water and sewer. Mount Airy collects a $750 capital improvement assessment fee.

The county charges a $4,500 impact fee for each new home.

Hampstead now collects a $1,000 "special benefits charge" for water services for each new residential unit.

Councilman Lawrence H. Hentz, an environmental engineer, is the sponsor of two proposals that would establish town standards for storm water management facilities and sediment control.

Such facilities now are controlled by county regulations, which Hampstead officials say are inadequate.

Pub Date: 2/11/97

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