2/27/08 * Loudon Times-Mirror [ full story ]

House committee could kill impact fees bill

A bill that would take the right to negotiate the amount builders and developers contribute to schools, fire and police protection and roads out of the hands of local government has been sent to the Virginia House of Delegates rules committee where opponents believe it may be sidetracked by the Republican majority.

The bill, which narrowly passed the Virginia Senate 21 to 19 on Feb. 12, was directed away from a committee on local government, where home builders are strong, to House rules committee, chaired by Speaker of the House Bill Howell (R-28), where the bill’s opponents believe it may be diverted for at least one year. The bill was scheduled for the rules committee’s Feb. 26 agenda.

“WE NEED a year to study this bill,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “Let’s study the cost of proffers under the proposals in this bill and under ways that local governments have been operating and reach an agreement on the fairway to pay for new growth.”

The bill, Senate SB 768, sought to limit the amount of contributions for local needs that builders and developers had to make to $8,000 for each single-family home in Northern Virginia and $5,000 in other parts of the state. These contributions, called “proffers,” are sought so builders and developers can defray costs they impose on a county or a city when they open a new development to thousands of new residents.