Leopold’s Deep Impact

This story about the impact fees in Anne Arundel County is not going to go away anytime soon. There is plenty below the fold on this……

The county charges fees for planning reviews, permits and water and sewer hookups that can exceed $20,000 per single-family home. Factoring in a proposal by County Executive John R. Leopold to boost impact fees by as much as fourteenfold, homebuilders would be saddled — before the first nail is driven through — with up to $57,000 in county charges per home site, based on data assembled by the Homebuilders Association of Maryland.

That’s more than triple the fees in Harford County and quadruple Howard County’s fees, according to the analysis released this month.

Great planning. Let’s really drive up the cost of doing business in Anne Arundel County by making the cost of building a home (you know, before any part of the home is built) more than most new BMWs.

Trending: Thank You

Thankfully, my friend and my County Councilman Ron Dillon is a voice of reason on this particular matter:

“It’s very concerning,” said County Councilman Ronald C. Dillon Jr., a Pasadena Republican. “This isn’t something that developers are going to absorb. This is going to absorbed by the consumer, and most of these consumers are county residents looking to move up.”

Of course, this is a very common sense approach considering anybody who understands basic economics know that consumers are the ones who are going to wind up footing the bill on this thing.

Fortunately, the County Council is not rolling over and playing dead for Leopold, and we are actually going to get some actual debate and legitimate consideration of this issue:

The County Council decided last night to form a work group to study the issue.

This council’s going to leave this hearing open … to help members of the council address some of both the policy issues and practical matters that have been raised in the past weeks in the discussion over impact fees,” Council Chairman Cathy Vitale, R-Severna Park, said at the end of the second public hearing on the topic last night….

…Ms. Vitale said the work group, whose members will be announced by the end of the week, will help the council “continue to take a deeper look” into the best way to make development pay for itself. She said the group will have people from the business community, the environmental community, citizens, school advocates, and members of the nonprofit and affordable housing sector.

Obviously the composition of this work group will greatly impact the group’s results. But I am glad to see the Council take appropriate measures to study the issue first. The fact of the matter is that John Leopold wants to continue to do everything that he can to make it less affordable to live and work in Anne Arundel County. His constant calls for higher taxes and higher fees are particularly distributing given the fact that he is Republican (even if it is in name only).

We as conservatives need to make sure that we do our part to make our voices heard and say no to higher costs and higher fees that will severely impact middle and working class taxpayers. Principle is more important than party on this critical issue.


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