Bill eliminating proffers, expanding impact fees passes Senate of Virginia

The Free Lance–Star: Impact-fee bill clears Senate:

On a vote of 21-19, the Senate approved Sen. John Watkins’ bill that eliminates the proffer system for residential development, replacing it with an increased ability to charge impact fees on development.

Proffers are technically voluntary payments that developers pay to localities to cover the cost of services to those new houses, like water and schools. Impact fees do essentially the same thing, but are currently limited to road improvements.

Watkins’ bill would eliminate proffers on residential development, but apply impact fees to emergency services and schools as well as roads. It would also allow localities to charge impact fees on “stale zoning”–i.e., development of lots that are already zoned. Current law only allows fees or proffers to be charged on development that requires new zoning.

Does that mean they can double dip and charge the owners of lots that have already paid proffers, impact fees as well?

It originally capped the impact fees at $5,000 per house, $8,000 in Northern Virginia. Watkins amended the bill to raise that cap to $7,500 per house, $12,500 in Northern Virginia, as local officials opposed the bill in part because they said the caps were too low.

Ouch, that’s going to hurt the Caroline County government since they currently charge $17,632 per lot.

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