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Impact fees could be ahead for Lower Pottsgrove developers

6/21/2013 | Real Estate Blog

Lower Pottsgrove and other towns in Montgomery County are in a pushmi-pullyu relationship with residential and commercial real estate developers. As much as officials want housing, shops and offices in place of vacant land, they want new developments to bring in, not chew up, tax dollars.

The challenge for town leaders is to find a way to offset the costs of supporting the new development without continuing to raise property taxes. Tax increases would put too much of a burden on existing property owners to foot the bills for more police protection, higher highway and street maintenance costs, park support and similar services paid for through property tax revenue.

Earlier this week, the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission looked at how other Montgomery County townships are handling the challenge and decided to reconsider instituting impact fees for new development.

The planning commission has forwarded its non-binding recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. The board will then determine if the proposal is worth exploring further. The next step would be a study to determine how much the fees would be and which developments would have to pay them.

The fees could be quite steep but would only apply to larger development projects; home additions and smaller projects would be exempt. Once the study gets underway, any developments that have not received final approval will be eligible.

While opinions of the proposal differ among planning commission members, they and the full board agree that there is one major hurdle: the cost of the study. The work will likely cost $100,000 or more. With more and more developers finding their way to Lower Pottsgrove, though, the real question for the commissions is whether the town can afford not to move ahead with the study.

Source: Sanatoga Post, “Township Planners Recommend Exploring Impact Fees,” June 19, 2013