The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

June 12, 2006

Impact fees’ ruling won’t affect county

Adequate facilities charge on sound foundation

Sunday, June 11, 2006 — A court ruling on development impact fees apparently won’t hurt the system used to collect fees on new housing construction in Stanly County.

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday Durham County's impact fees on new home construction are illegal.

The decision could affect other counties attempting to find ways to pay for new schools.

Stanly County Manager Jerry Myers said the ruling would not affect the county’s adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) fees passed by the county and all municipalities except for Albemarle.

“That is why we took that approach,” Myers said. “We thought it would stand up in court.”

The court said counties may not charge developers a fee for each new house, apartment or condominium without legislative approval.

The legislature has not granted a county’s request to charge such a fee since 1987 when several N.C. counties were granted the legislation.

Stanly County’s public facilities fees are different from the approach Durham County took, local officials say. In Durham County, the fees applied to any new home, apartment or condo.

Stanly County’s fees only apply to major subdivisions.

Stanly County Planning Director Michael Sandy said the method chosen has held up in the North Carolina court system.

“Currituck County’s adequate facilities fee has been upheld by the court system,” Sandy said.

“There is a state law that allows subdivision ordinance legislation that can require adequate facilities.”

The county ordinance uses the law as a basis for the local ordinance.

In Stanly County, a major subdivision is defined by three or more lots, other towns in the county the definition may differ according to local ordinance.

For the ordinance to work best all municipalities in a county need to sign on and enact a matching ordinance to match the county’s to prevent developers concentrating in the area that is not covered by an APFO .

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