Meeting Date:

Raymond E. Graham, Chairman, Cedar Run District Supervisor

September 14, 2006

Staff Lead:


Frederick P.D. Carr, Director


Community Development


Transportation Impact Fee

Topic Description:

A Work Session on the Steps to Implement Transportation Impact Fees Within the Service Districts

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct the work session.

Staff Report:

Virginia Enabling Legislation.

1.      Transportation Impact Fees.  §15.2-2317 of the Code of Virginia was amended in 2006 to empower both Fauquier and Spotsylvania Counties to implement impact fees.  Due to previous legislation, Stafford County has already implemented its program in specific areas of its jurisdiction. The impact fees apply to all commercial, industrial and residential development, including by-right subdivision.  There are exclusions which staff can highlight briefly at the work session. Copies of the legislation can be provided upon request.

One should not expect the same commercial, industrial and residential transportation impact fee amounts to be assessed countywide.  For example, road improvements needed to support future development in the Bealeton, Opal and Remington Service Districts are far more extensive than those planned in the Calverton, Catlett, and Midland Village Service Districts and the Marshall and New Baltimore Service Districts.  New development needs to pay for their road network impacts within the area where it is being proposed.

2.      Committee.  Prior to the adoption of any ordinance, the enabling legislation requires the locality to establish an Impact Fee Advisory Committee (IFAC).  The committee membership size cannot be less than 5 or larger than 10, with 40% of the membership being representatives from the development, building or real estate industries.  The legislation notes that the Planning Commission or other existing committees meeting the membership requirements can serve as the IFAC.

In the work session, the Department requests direction from the Board of Supervisors on the configuration of the Committee.  There are several options available to complete this assignment, some of which are use of the Planning Commission, Transportation Committee or appointment of a new Transportation Impact Fee Committee.  The Department prefers the latter for the following reasons:

a.    Planning Commission. The Commission has a full agenda with land development applications, text amendments to the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances, the Design Standards Manual, amendments to the Comprehensive Plan (e.g., New Baltimore; Villages & Settlements) and the 5-Year CIP (Capital Improvements Program).   Use of the Commission would require the addition of at least 3 appointments from the business community;

b.    Transportation Committee. This 10-member Committee meets once a month and focuses on the 6-Year Secondary and Primary Road Plan recommendations annually, Rural Additions, local street warning signs, as well as other associated transportation projects.   It appears this Committee would need four additional appointments from the business/development community and would exceed the legislative maximum membership.

c.    Transportation Impact Fee Committee. The are several proposed appointment option variations; for example:

·        Option 1.  This alternative could include: (a) Board of Supervisor and Planning Commissioner members from the Transportation Committee; (b) three building/development/real estate appointments from the service district being assessed; and (c) Planning Commissioner from the affected Magisterial District.  An at large business appointment could also be made.

The strength of this option is that it includes three business representatives from the affected districts.  The major weakness is that three new appointments for other service district groupings would need to occur.  This option is not flexible for times when several other service districts could be under concurrent consideration, making meeting attendance requirements complicated.

·        Option 2.  This choice could include: (a) Board of Supervisor and Planning Commissioner members from the Transportation Committee; and a (b) building/development/real estate appointment from each magisterial district. This alternative provides a Committee of 7, plus membership continuity and experience, as well as the flexibility to consider concurrently the proposed impact fees from other service districts.     Refer to the “Next Steps” section for timing of work for the remaining service districts regarding the transportation impact fees.


Other Facts:

1.      Stafford County Ordinance.  Stafford County enacted its impact fee program on July 1, 2003, with its initial focus on a designated service area in the western portion of its jurisdiction, not the entire county.  Consistent with the state enabling legislation, some of the basic principles of the Stafford County ordinance are as follows:

a.       Impact Fee (Definition of Terms).  Such a fee is a charge imposed against new development contained in a designated impact fee service area in order to generate revenue to fund or recover the costs of reasonable road improvements necessitated by and attributable to new development.  Impact fees may not be assessed and imposed for road repair, operation and maintenance, nor to expand existing roads to meet demand that existed prior to new development.

b.      New Development.  Charges apply to all new uses and land development in a designated impact fee service area except for new development by religious organizations exempt from taxation and new development designated in the County’s Capital Improvements Program to be financed and constructed with public funds.

c.       Impact Fee Service Area.  Land area designated by ordinance within the County, having clearly defined boundaries and clearly related traffic needs within which development is to be subject to impact fee assessment.

d.      Application.  All uses with land development applications are subject to the impact fee exactions, and the fees are paid in full at the time of issuance of a certificate of occupancy, unless the County Administrator has agreed to accept installment payments at a “reasonable rate of interest for a fixed number of years.”  (Note that it includes all by-right residential, commercial and industrial uses.)

e.       Credits.  Credit is provided for the cost of any dedication, contribution or construction by a property owner for approved off-site road improvements within the impact fee service area.  No road impact fee is assessed or imposed if the owner or developer has proffered conditions pursuant to §§ 15.2-2298 or 15.2-2303 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, for off-site road improvements and the proffered conditions have been County accepted.

f.        Road Impact Trust Fund.  Established a specific accounting fund, interest bearing, and for exclusive expenditure in the impact fee area.

g.       Appeals.  Stafford County created an Impact Fee Appeals Board.  It included the County Administrator (or designee), the County Treasurer, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Resident Administrator (or designee), and two Board of Supervisors appointed citizens, one of whom is a representative from the development industry.

Fauquier County staff will be scheduling a meeting with Stafford County to review its program and experiences.

2.      Impact Fees.  

a.       Adequate Public Facilities.  Nationwide impact fees are charged in many states by local governments for new development projects.  Such assessments attempt to recover the government costs incurred when providing public facilities to serve new development.  Impact fees are used only to fund facilities, such as parks, roads and schools that are directly associated with new development.  These projects must pay the proportionate share of the public facilities cost that benefit the new development.  Impact fees cannot be used to correct existing deficiencies in public facilities.

b.      Impact Fees in Virginia. Adequate public facilities enabling legislation in Virginia has not been granted to local governments.  However, transportation impact fee enabling legislation has only been recently been enacted in Virginia.  Fairfax and Spotsylvania Counties have significant experience with this management tool.


Next Steps:

For rezoning applications and the pending impact fee legislation, the Department started work on two basic projects.  Over the past 18 months, the Department has:  (a) completed the Proffer Policy Update for Board of Supervisors adoption; and (b) finished the requisite transportation modeling for the Bealeton, Opal and Remington Service Districts’ proposed road network in the adopted transportation plan, as well as the new road cost estimates and draft impact fees.   This effort was completed in conjunction with Joe Mehra of MCV Associates, Inc., the County’s transportation consultant, and VDOT.  We also have initiated work for the Marshall Service District which will be completed in Fiscal Year 2007.

The Department needs to confer with MCV regarding the Calverton, Catlett and Midland Village Service Districts and New Baltimore and Warrenton Service Districts.  Staff and MCV will need to identify road improvement costs and determine the level of traffic impact analysis needed to develop impact fees for these districts. 

With Bealeton, Opal and Remington ready to go to the next step, it is recommended that the Board of Supervisors establish a Transportation Impact Fee Committee and appoint members at its October or November regular meeting.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

New commercial, industrial and residential development within all service districts.

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