Frederick County Council Votes In Favor Of Impact Fee Bill -Later Ruled ‘Null And Void’

Council President said substantive changes were made, and it needs to go back to a public hearing.                                                             


Frederick, Md (KM) It’s back to square one for a bill  which makes changes to Frederick County’s impact fee ordinance. The Council approved the bill on Tuesday night. But Council President MC Keegan-Ayer ruled the vote “null and void” because the board also approved an amendment which is a substantive change to the legislation, and it must go back for another public hearing.

Impact fees are collected from residential construction. The revenue is used to pay for school and library construction.

The amendment in question sponsored by Councilman Phil Dacey would exempt accessory dwelling units under 1,000 square feet from the school  impact fee. “I still feel there’s a strong disincentive to take advantage of those accessory dwelling units so long as the impact fee remains so dramatically different between the 800-square-foot dwelling  unit and the 1,000 square-foot dwelling unit,” he said.

Accessory dwelling units, often known as in-law suites, are tiny homes attached to a larger house, and are built on the same property as the primary home.

Councilwoman Keegan-Ayer said in some cases, school age children live in these accessory dwelling units which would not have to pay the impact fee for schools. “Nobody’s saying we don’t want people with children in these units. I just think if we’re going to have children coming out of these units, there needs to be a fee that is paid,” she said.

But Councilman Kai Hagen, said there won’t be a lot of these types of housing being constructed. “There’s no flood of this. There won’t be that many with kids, and there will be no flood of them anywhere at any one time,” he said. “We need to look at impact fees broadly and start to  re-arrange them to accomplish other goals and incentivize   things properly. This is a good example.”

Councilman Jerry Donald, whose also a teacher, opposed the amendment, saying it will mean reduced revenue to solve school overcrowding. “I taught in portable classrooms for seven years. They smell. The heat’s terrible. The cold sometimes works, sometimes it doesn’t. They’re the least secure place around the building. There’s going to be a problem with them at some point, and the quicker we get rid of those, the better,””he said.

A public hearing on the main impact fee bill is expected to take place at a future date.


By Kevin McManus