Township of Lehigh, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lehigh 7-8-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-5. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 147.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 163.
Zoning — See Ch. 180.
[Adopted 7-8-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-5]

§ 74-1 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Lehigh Township Traffic Impact Fee Ordinance."

§ 74-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to establish an Impact Fee Program to ensure that the transportation system is available and adequate to support new growth and development. To advance this objective, there is hereby created an impact fee payable to the Township at the time of building permit issuance.

§ 74-3 General findings and conditions.

The Board of Supervisors hereby finds and declares that:
A. 
The conditions and standards for the determination and imposition of the impact fee set forth herein are those set forth in Act 209 of 1990,[1] and any and all amendments thereto (hereinafter the "Act"), and consist of:
(1) 
The recitals set forth above.
(2) 
The analysis, advice and recommendations of the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.
(3) 
The Land Use Assumptions Report as adopted by the Board of Supervisors by Township Resolution No. 2008-6 on April 22, 2008.
(4) 
The Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as adopted by the Board of Supervisors by Township Resolution No. 2008-7 on May 27, 2008.
(5) 
The Transportation Capital Improvement Plan, as adopted by the Board of Supervisors by Township Resolution 2008-8 on June 10, 2008.
(6) 
Such other conditions and standards as the Board of Supervisors may by resolution identify from time to time as being relevant and material to the imposition of an impact fee and consistent with the provisions of the Act and any amendments thereto.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10501-A et seq.
B. 
The collection, disbursement and accounting of impact fees shall be administered by the Office of the Manager, subject to review, oversight and control by the Board of Supervisors.
C. 
The time, method and procedure for payment of impact fees shall be as set forth in §§ 74-15 and 74-16 of this article.
D. 
The procedure for credits against or refunds of impact fees shall be as set forth in §§ 74-17 and 74-18 of this article.
E. 
Such exemptions as the Board of Supervisors shall choose to enact shall be as set forth in § 74-11 of this article.

§ 74-4 Definitions.

The terms and definitions set forth in § 502-A of the Act[1] are hereby adopted and incorporated in this article by reference.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10502-A.

§ 74-5 Imposition.

There is hereby enacted an impact fee to be imposed upon new development for the purpose of off-site public transportation capital improvements authorized by the Act and as described in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Said impact fee shall apply to all new development or subdivisions within the transportation service areas identified herein ("transportation service areas") and shall be a condition precedent to final approval of a development or a subdivision plan or issuance of a building permit.

§ 74-6 Uses.

Impact fees collected pursuant to this article shall be expended for costs incurred for improvements attributable to new development and designated in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors on June 10, 2008, for improvements within the transportation service area in which the new development will be located. Additionally, such fees may be used for the acquisition of land and rights-of-way, engineering, legal and planning costs, and all other costs, including debt service related to road improvements within the designated service area, and including such proportionate amount of the Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as is allowed under the provisions of the Act.

§ 74-7 Documents adopted by Board of Supervisors.

The following documents, previously adopted by the Board of Supervisors, are hereby incorporated by reference in this article:
A. 
Recommendations of the Impact Fee Advisory Committee to the Board of Supervisors recommending the adoption of the reports set forth in Subsections B, C and D of this § 74-7.
B. 
Land Use Assumptions Report as adopted by Township Resolution No. 2008-6, the terms and provisions of which report are incorporated herein by reference.
C. 
Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as adopted by Township Resolution No. 2008-7, the terms and provisions of which are incorporated herein by reference.
D. 
The Transportation Capital Improvements Plan as adopted by Township Resolution No. 2008-8, the terms and provisions of which are incorporated herein by reference.
E. 
The Impact Fee Schedule as established by Township Resolution No. 2008-9, the terms and provisions of which, together with such amendments thereto as may from time to time be adopted by the Board of Supervisors, are incorporated herein by reference.
F. 
The description of the transportation service areas are areas of the Township consisting of seven square miles, or less, the same being more fully set forth on Map No. 1 (TSA Boundaries), dated June 5, 2008, contained in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan and incorporated herein by reference.

§ 74-8 Special traffic studies.

Where intended to assist in determining the appropriate amount of traffic impact fees, the Township may require the preparation of special transportation studies to determine the traffic generation or circulation patterns in new developments. Any such studies required by the Township shall be submitted prior to the imposition of the impact fee and shall be considered in the determination of the fee.

§ 74-9 Applicability.

This article shall be uniformly applicable to all development that occurs within the transportation service areas identified herein.

§ 74-10 Imposition.

No zoning or building permit shall be issued for construction or occupancy in the transportation service areas, as identified herein, unless the applicant therefor has paid the impact fee imposed by and calculated pursuant to this article.

§ 74-11 Exemptions.

The Board of Supervisors, pursuant to resolution, may, from time to time, pursuant to specific criteria, exempt an applicant from the payment of traffic impact fees pursuant to the following two conditions only, as set forth in the Act:
A. 
Overriding public interest.
B. 
De minimis applications, with "de minimis" defined as when the entire proposed development will generate less than two p.m. peak-hour trips.

§ 74-12 Calculation of impact fees.

A. 
The impact fee for transportation capital improvements shall be based upon the total costs of the road improvements included in the adopted Transportation Capital Improvements Plan within the transportation service areas identified herein and attributable to and necessitated by new development within the said transportation service areas, divided by the number of anticipated p.m. peak-hour trips (exclusive of pass-by trips) generated by all new development consistent with the adopted Land Use Assumptions Report and calculated in accordance with Trip Generation, published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, 7th or subsequent editions, which is hereby adopted by the Township, to equal a per-trip cost for transportation improvements within the transportation service areas.
B. 
The specific impact fee for a specific new development or subdivision within the transportation service areas for transportation capital improvements shall be determined by the estimated number of trips to be generated by the new development or subdivision based upon Trip Generation, 7th edition (or succeeding editions thereof), as published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers. If the Township Engineer determines that the proposed use is not adequately covered by Trip Generation, the estimated number of trips may be documented by other relevant studies and/or data, subject to review and approval by the Township Engineer.
C. 
The Board of Supervisors may authorize or require the preparation of a special transportation study in order to determine traffic generation or circulation for a new development to assist in the determination of the amount of the impact fee for such development or subdivision.

§ 74-13 Establishment of transportation service area.

A. 
Transportation service areas are established as shown on Map 1 (TSA Boundaries), dated June 5, 2008, contained in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan.
B. 
Additional transportation service areas or combinations of transportation service areas may be designated by the Board of Supervisors from time to time in consideration of the following factors:
(1) 
The Township's Comprehensive Plan;
(2) 
Any standards for adequate public facilities incorporated in the Impact Fee Program;
(3) 
The projected build-out and timing of development area;
(4) 
The need for and cost of unprogrammed transportation improvements necessary to support projected development; and
(5) 
Such other factors as the Board of Supervisors may deem relevant.
C. 
Fees collected from development in each of the transportation service areas will be used exclusively to fund transportation improvement projects scheduled for that area.

§ 74-14 Nonbinding impact fee estimate.

Prior to making an application for a building permit, an applicant may request a nonbinding impact fee estimate from the Township which shall be based upon the maximum development potential of the site pursuant to existing zoning regulations, unless the applicant specified a lesser use of development.

§ 74-15 Administration of impact fee.

A. 
Collection of impact fee. Impact fees due pursuant to this article shall be collected by the Township in the manner or manners prescribed herein prior to the issuance of a building permit.
B. 
Establishment of fund. Upon receipt of impact fees, the Township Manager shall be responsible for the separate and proper accounting of such fees. All such fees shall be deposited in interest-bearing accounts in a bank authorized to receive deposits of Township funds. Interest earned by each account shall be credited to that account and shall be used solely for the purpose specified for funds of such account.
C. 
Establishment and maintenance of accounts. The Township Manager shall establish appropriate trust fund accounts and shall maintain records whereby impact fees collected can be segregated for each transportation service area.
D. 
Maintenance of records. The Township Manager shall maintain and keep adequate financial records for each such account which shall show the source and disbursement of all revenues, which shall account for all monies received, and which shall ensure that the disbursement of funds from each account shall be used solely and exclusively for the provision of projects specified in the Impact Fee Program for the particular transportation service area.

§ 74-16 Method of payment.

Payment of the impact fee shall be made by the applicant prior to the issuance of a zoning or building permit by the Township to the applicant for development on the applicable site.

§ 74-17 Credit.

Any applicant who shall perform, at his expense and with the prior consent and agreement of the Board of Supervisors, off-site improvements contained in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan as herein defined shall be eligible for a credit from the impact fee otherwise due in the amount of the actual cost of such off-site improvements as approved by the Township Engineer. Such credit shall not exceed the amount of the impact fee.
A. 
If the applicant makes such improvements, he must enter into an agreement with the Board of Supervisors prior to the issuance of any building permit. The agreement must establish the estimated costs of the improvement, the schedule for initiation and completion of the improvement, a requirement that the improvement be completed to Township and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation standards and design criteria and such other terms and conditions as deemed necessary by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors must review the improvement plan, verify costs and time schedules, determine if the improvement is an eligible improvement, and determine the amount of the applicable credit for such improvement to be applied to the otherwise applicable impact fee prior to issuance of any building permit. In no event shall the Board of Supervisors provide a credit which is greater than the applicable impact fee. If, however, the amount of the credit is calculated to be greater than the amount of the impact fee due, the applicant may use such excess credit toward the impact fees imposed on other building permits for development on the same site and in the same ownership. Any such applicant shall be required to supply financial security sufficient, in the judgment of the Township, to cover the cost of any such improvement installed by the applicant for which credit is sought.
B. 
An applicant shall be entitled, as a credit against impact fees, an amount equal to the fair market value of land dedicated by the applicant and accepted by the Township for future right-of-way, realignment or widening of existing roadways for construction of road improvements contained in the Transportation Traffic Improvements Program. There shall be no credit given for dedication of land for roads, easements, rights-of-way, recreation or other purposes required by the Lehigh Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 147, Subdivision and Land Development.

§ 74-18 Refunds.

Impact fees collected pursuant to this article shall be refunded, together with interest earned thereon, to the payor of the fees under the following circumstances:
A. 
In the event the Township completes or terminates the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan and there remain undisbursed funds, the respective payors shall be entitled to a share of the fund balance in the same proportion as the payor's impact fee payment plus interest earned bears to the total impact fees collected plus interest.
B. 
In the event any specific Transportation Capital Improvement Plan project is completed at a cost to the Township less than 95% of the budgeted cost of the project, the Township shall refund an amount equal to the excess budgeted cost over actual cost to the payors, pro rata, plus accumulated interest.
C. 
In the event the Township fails to commence construction within three years of the scheduled construction date of the project as set forth in the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan, the Township shall refund the portion of the fee paid by any payor making written request therefor which is attributable to said project, with accumulated interest, provided no refund shall be paid with respect to any project actually begun prior to the receipt of such refund request.
D. 
In the event the development for which impact fees were paid has not commenced prior to the expiration of the building permit issued therefor the impact fees paid, with accumulated interest, shall be refunded to the payor. Further, if a building permit after issuance is altered in such a way as to reduce the indicated impact fee, the difference between the amount indicated and the amount actually paid shall be refunded. The payor, at his option, may roll over the impact fee attributable to an expired building permit to cover impact fees required by a renewal of said expired permit.
E. 
With respect to refunds arising out of Subsection A or B hereof, any funds unclaimed within one year after notice as required by law shall be transferred to the general account of the Township, and the payor's entitlement to said refund shall lapse. It is the responsibility of the payor to provide the Township with the current address of his place of business.

§ 74-19 Effect on zoning and subdivision regulations.

This article shall not affect, in any manner, the permissible use of property, density of development, previously adopted design and improvement standards and requirements or any other aspect of the development of land or provision of public improvements which remain subject to applicable zoning and subdivision regulations of the Township, which shall be operative and remain in full force and effect without limitation with respect to all such development.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 147, Subdivision and Land Development, and Ch. 180, Zoning.

§ 74-20 Impact fee as additional and supplemental requirement.

A. 
The impact fee is additional and supplemental to, and not in substitution of, any other requirements imposed by the Township on the development of land or the issuance of building permits. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to alter or affect the Township's existing ordinances and regulations regarding on-site improvements.
B. 
In no event shall a property owner be obligated to pay for transportation capital improvements in an amount in excess of the amount calculated pursuant to this article; provided, however, that a property owner may be required to pay, pursuant to Township ordinances, regulations or policies, for other public facilities in addition to the impact fee for transportation improvements as subdivided herein.

§ 74-21 Liberal construction.

The provisions of this article shall be liberally construed to effectively carry out its purposes which are hereby found and declared to be in furtherance of the public health, safety, welfare and convenience.

§ 74-22 When effective.

This article shall take effect at the earliest date allowed by law.

§ 74-23 Retroactive application.

A. 
Notwithstanding § 74-22 hereof, impact fees may be imposed on those projects involving developments, subdivisions and PRDs for which an application has been filed on or after the first publication of notice of the Township's intent to adopt this article which occurred on January 26, 2007; provided, however, that such retroactivity does not exceed 18 months after the adoption of the resolution that created the advisory committee in connection herewith, which occurred on January 23, 2007.
B. 
In retroactive applications, the impact fee shall not exceed 1,000 per p.m. peak-hour trip.