Carroll commissioners approve increase in development fees

November 05, 2003|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners continued their efforts to push a greater share of growth costs onto developers by approving yesterday a series of fee increases for various stages of the county's development review process.

The commissioners' vote wiped away their predecessors' efforts to decrease the same processing fees, which developers pay when they submit plans for commercial or residential projects.

Under the new fee structure, scheduled to take effect by the end of the year, a developer would pay a base fee of $1,600 and $100 per lot when submitting concept and preliminary plans for residential subdivisions. Under the current structure, the developer pays a base fee of $1,120 and $70 per lot.

The new fee structure passed is identical to that which existed before July 2000, when the previous commissioners began scaling back development costs.

Although the fee increases won't cost most developers more than a few thousand dollars per project, the cumulative increase could put hundreds of thousands of dollars more in county coffers, said Planning Director Steve Horn. He called the new fee structure "more realistic." He also said a review of the county's growth laws might lead to more fee increases next year.

The commissioners said the fee increases are a part of their plans to make developers and homebuyers pay for the increased infrastructure costs created by growth. This year, they passed increases to impact fees on new development and to recordation taxes on property transfers. They hope to win permission from the General Assembly to raise transfer taxes, although members of the county's delegation to Annapolis are resisting that push.

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