Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Lebanon considers new-home fees

Money would slow growth, pay for classrooms

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Warren County commissioners are still pursuing a plan to charge $5,000 to $10,000 impact fees on new homes.

        They discussed their options Tuesday with the county's state representative.

        “It's a good step toward slowing down growth in Warren County,” said Commissioner Pat South.

        Commissioner Mike Kilburn proposed the fees in discussions with county school superintendents in May. The fees would be used to build class space for new students.

        However, state Rep. Tom Raga, R-Deerfield Township, told commissioners Tuesday it might not be constitutional for them to collect impact fees for schools because they do not fund the school districts.

        Commissioners will discuss the idea with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio next week but are open to the idea of having individual school districts levy the fees, they said.

        Had even a $5,000 fee been in place on new single-family homes last year, it would have brought in $10 million, provided it did not prevent anyone from building here. A total of 2,025 single-family building permits were issued, the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati reported.

        The fees also would be levied on new multi-family units, which added 681 residences to the county in 2000. Specific dollar figures haven't been mentioned for them, however.

        Superintendents support commissioners' efforts, but Mr. Raga is less enthusiastic. “I certainly understand the goals of the commissioners, but I'm not sure this is the best way to go about it,” he said. “High (fee) levels would severely depress both residential and commercial development, in my opinion.”


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