Ken Larsen's website -  Stormwater Impact fees in Chapel Hill ruled illegal


In 2013 Chapel Hill Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett gave several pitches to Town citizens and the Town Council on the proposed Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment plan.  In those pitches he stated that $ 100,000 would be collected from each site owner to pay for stormwater improvements.  Click here to hear that segment from his October 28, 2013 pitch to the Town Council. 


Later the $ 100,000 fee was ruled illegal by the Town Attorney.  This raises several issues:


  1. Dwight Bassett gave his pitch many times.  Citizens were left with a rosy picture of Ephesus Fordham finances because of the promise to collect $ 100,000 from each site.  That was one of the few things I liked about Ephesus-Fordham.  When I learned about the illegality, I felt that I had been duped by Dwight Bassett. 

  2. Why was the $ 100,000 fee ruled illegal?  I think it has something to do with North Carolina General Statutes restricting "impact fees" to only school costs.  That's according to Councilman Ed Harrison; however when I did a search on "impact fees" in the NC General Statutes I couldn't find any mention of "impact fees".

  3. Lobbying by the NC Home Builder's Association succeeded in restricting impact fees to schools only.  Click here for details.  This surely makes all development costly to taxpayers, since without impact fees, property taxes must go up to absorb the cost of parks, roads, etc. for new development. This makes "spreading the tax burden" a complete myth.

  4. Whoever succeeds in getting elected to the Town Council should have skills in overcoming the restrictions on levying impact fees on developers.  They will have to work closely with NC legislators.

  5. October 14, 2015 comment by Del Snow:  "The chances of the current NC Legislature granting Chapel Hill the authority to levy impact fees are non-existent."

  6. October 15, 2015 comment by Julie McClintock:  "I recall his claim that each developer would be charged $100k to do a project, thus we would have the money to solve all the problems. Unfortunately he did not check with the town attorney who later said that the only fees that can be charged are the ones to reasonably cover the costs of maintaining stormwater facilities on site."


Do North Carolina local governments have the authority to assess impact fees for water and sewer public enterprises?


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