New revenue from home buyers considered in Jefferson County

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — With the tremendous growth in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, Jefferson County is contemplating an “impact fee” on new home construction, but the people building these new homes say the idea goes too far.

So many new residents are moving to the region that the Jefferson County Commission fears it may not be able to fund all the public services needed by the new neighbors, such as expanded emergency services, parks and recreation, schools and the court system.

Those in the housing development community dispute the study on which the impact fee proposal is based and say that school enrollment is actually declining. The region’s homebuilding association says the county will benefit from all the growth without imposing a fee on the construction of new housing.

“We hope the Jefferson County Commission will take a hard look at the figures from the impact fee calculation,” said David Hartley with the Eastern Panhandle Homebuilders Association. “We have to be sure that they are not over-inflated in terms of what residents have to pay for new homes in Jefferson County.”

The fees were calculated by a Maryland consulting firm and the county is inviting public input into the prospective new revenue source. Some in the county say new revenue is certainly needed but it is unfair to raise it through these impact fees. Hartley says they could actually be a barrier to attracting new homeowners.

“The growth has brought a lot of positive things to the eastern panhandle, and the opportunities that it creates are significant,” Hartley said.

The county commission will review public comment for the rest of this month before proceeding. The new proposed fees could double to more than $11,000 for a single-family detached home.

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