Council Oks Fee Deferral

Final Vote On Developer Charges Delayed To April 20

April 12, 2009|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

The Anne Arundel County Council has approved amendments to a bill that would allow developers to defer fees they pay to support water and sewer plant construction.

The amendments include an increase in the deferral fee from 4 percent of the so-called "capital facility connection charges" to 8 percent. Other amendments reduced the immediate costs to the developers.

"This just allows the people who need the assistance to get the assistance," said Robert Loomis, assistant director for public works.

FOR THE RECORD - A headline in the April 12 edition on an article about a measure that would defer development fees for builders incorrectly stated that the bill had been approved. Amendments were approved, but the county council has not yet voted on the bill.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

The bill was introduced in February as an emergency ordinance to help keep some developers' properties out of a June tax sale.

About 30 developers are currently delinquent in the county. In tax sales, the county sells liens on delinquent properties. To have the liens removed, property owners must pay outstanding fees with interest and penalties.

Two councilmen expressed concern during the meeting on Monday that the bill was too harsh.

"To me it seems pretty strict," said Ron Dillon, of Pasadena.

Council Chairman Edward R. Reilly, who represents South County, said the bill seems "awfully draconian," as developers can put up hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering for a project that may not be able to go through because of the connection fees, despite the fact that the building's not ready to use facilities.

Representatives from local chapters of the home builders' association said they support the bill, but would like to see more long-term changes made to the county code in the future.

The council decided to hold its vote on the bill until its next meeting on April 20.

Also at Monday's meeting, the council heard public testimony on a bill that would place restrictions on "predatory" towing, which has caused concern for many constituents in the first district. Towing companies were represented at the meeting and expressed the problems their companies could see as a result of the bill.

"If this bill got passed, we would have to relocate our impound lot," said Anthony Kirkpatrick, of ABC Towing in Odenton. The bill would place a restriction that towed cars can't be taken more than 10 miles to an impound lot, and ABC does towing from Annapolis, Kirkpatrick said.

Two bills were also introduced on Monday, one that would permit owners of private water and wastewater facilities to petition for projects, and another that would require publicly funded buildings to meet energy efficiency requirements established by the United States Green Building Council.

The latter half of the five-hour meeting was mostly used for further public testimony on a bill that would allow electronic slots in the county. The council decided to hold its vote on that bill, which is expected to have several proposed amendments, at the April 20 meeting.

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