ANNAPOLIS, JUNE 2 -- Anne Arundel County officials said today they would introduce new impact-fee legislation to the County Council this month, calling for lower fees than those proposed by County Executive O. James Lighthizer in April.
The bill would reduce the $4,820 impact fee Lighthizer proposed for a new single-family house by 13 percent, while fees on some other types of development such as offices and hotels would be reduced by about 40 percent.
County officials said that is to account for higher state gasoline taxes and car registration fees approved by the state legislature this year. The county expects to receive an extra $2 million a year from those taxes.
But county officials said the main purpose of introducing the bill a second time is to give the County Council more time to study the legislation. Lighthizer introduced his impact-fee bill on April 6, and it automatically expires after 90 days on July 7. "It's merely a device to buy us some time," said James Cannelli, the county's assistant planning and zoning officer.
A committee appointed by Lighthizer and the County Council has been meeting twice a week to study the issue and make recommendations to the council on how impact fees should be implemented. The committee is scheduled to report by June 15. But committee members have complained that they were given too little time to study such a complex issue and that their report may not be ready on time.
While saying he was willing to consider changes to his impact-fee bill, Lighthizer has remained adamant that the fees -- calculated to raise about $15 million a year -- are necessary to pay for new roads and schools in the fast-developing county.
Several members of the committee, and several council members, have said that they approve of impact fees, but believe the rates proposed in Lighthizer's original legislation are high. They said they worry that the rates would make it difficult for moderate- and low-income families and young people to buy houses, and would encourage businesses to move to neighboring counties that do not have fees.
Cannelli said today that the county administration would probably introduce its new impact-fee legislation before the committee finishes its report, and that its recommendations can be included later as amendments.