Ruling sends impact fee lawsuit to Circuit Court

August 23, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The Court of Special Appeals ruled recently that a lawsuit filed by a developer and homeowners seeking to claim fees that developers paid to Anne Arundel County should be heard in Circuit Court.

Homeowners and a developer in the West County community of Seven Oaks contend that the county has wrongly spent impact fees -- charges levied to pay for infrastructure improvements to accommodate growth -- or has held them for more than six years.

Attorneys for the county have argued that property owners should seek a refund through county administrative routes and, if dissatisfied, take up the issue in state tax court.

John R. Greiber Jr., an attorney for the plaintiffs, said yesterday, "We feel confident that we will be able to prove that the county misused these funds."

If the court rules for the plaintiffs, the county could be forced to refund $27 million or more to current homeowners, Greiber said.

He added that the refund should pose no financial hardship for the county because officials are holding $40 million in impact fees in reserve today.

County Attorney Linda M. Schuett, who received a copy of the ruling yesterday, said the county might ask the Court of Appeals to review the case.

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