[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Wells 4-27-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: The provisions of former Ch. 174, Residential Growth Management, adopted 3-7-1986, as amended 11-2-1993, expired 6-20-2003. For current provisions on residential growth management, see Ch. 175, Residential Growth Management.
This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Impact Fee Ordinance of the Town of Wells, Maine," and will be referred to as "this chapter."
This chapter is adopted pursuant to 30-A M.R.S.A. § 4354 and pursuant to the Town of Wells' home rule authority as provided in Article VIII-A of the Maine Constitution and Maine statute.
The Town of Wells finds that new development places demands on municipal government to provide new services and expand and improve public facilities. In order to provide an equitable source of funding for these new services and facilities, the Town of Wells has established a capital improvement program which charges a proportionate share of the costs of facilities improvements to those who are creating the demand for these improvements.
Impact fees may only be used for financing infrastructure improvements needed due to demand caused by new development.
The following costs may be included in determining the capital cost of infrastructure improvements:
Acquisition of land or easements including conservation easements;
Engineering, surveying, architectural, and environmental assessment services directly related to the design, construction and oversight of the construction of the improvements;
Legal and administrative costs associated with the improvements, including any borrowing necessary to finance the project;
Debt service costs, including interest if the Town borrows for the acquisition of the improvements; and
Similar costs that are directly related to the improvements.
Funds collected as impact fees shall be expended only for the infrastructure improvement for which the fee was collected.
Impact fees may not be used for any of the following:
Operations and maintenance costs, such as, but not limited to, paying salaries, day-to-day operational costs, or replacement of existing equipment;
The cost to improve facilities to meet existing deficiencies, such as, but not limited to, relieving existing congestion or overcrowding; or
The cost to construct or improve facilities that are not needed to serve new development or which do not benefit new development. There must be a reasonable connection between the need for additional facilities and growth due to new development and between spending the fees collected and benefits received by the development paying the fee.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall require the applicant for a building permit to pay an impact fee as specified in the fee schedule determined by the Board of Selectmen. The impact fee shall be paid prior to the issuance of a building permit and shall be paid separately from, and in addition to, any other fees required by this chapter. The impact fee shall be payable to the Town of Wells, care of the Office of Planning and Development.
The Board of Selectmen shall establish the initial impact fee schedule and shall review and revise the impact fee schedule annually and as necessary to reflect changes in planned improvements, current budget levels, and compliance with the Town of Wells Comprehensive Plan and the Town's Capital Improvement Program. Prior to the establishment or revision of the impact fee schedule, the Board of Selectmen shall hold a public hearing on the proposed fee schedule. Notice of the public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town no less than seven days prior to the public hearing.
The impact fee schedule shall indicate the improvements to be financed; the anticipated schedule for construction; and the characteristic of new development by which the fee shall be calculated such as, but not limited to:
The amount of the fee shall be reasonably related to the development's share of the cost of the facilities improvements made necessary by the development or, if the improvements were previously constructed at municipal expense prior to the development, the fee must be reasonably related to the portion or percentage of the improvement used by the development.
The Board of Selectmen may, by formal vote following a public hearing, reduce or eliminate the payment of a required impact fee if it finds:
The developer or property owner who would otherwise be responsible for the payment of the impact fee voluntarily agrees to construct the improvement for which the impact fee would be collected or an equivalent improvement approved by the Board of Selectmen; or
The developer or property owner is required, as part of a development approval by the Town or a state or federal agency, to make or to pay for infrastructure improvements that are of the same nature as the improvement to be funded by the impact fee.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall record the name of the individual paying the impact fee, the Tax Assessor's map and lot numbers for the property for which the impact fee is being paid, the amount of the fee paid for each facility for which fees are collected, and the date the impact fee was paid.
Upon collection of an impact fee, the Code Enforcement Officer shall transfer the funds to the Town Treasurer who shall deposit the impact fees in special non-lapsing accounts dedicated for funding the improvements for which the fee is collected.
Impact fee funds shall be maintained separately from and shall not be combined with other municipal revenues.
Impact fees shall be refunded in the following cases:
If an approval or permit lapses or expires, the permit holder or developer shall be entitled to a refund, without interest, of any impact fee paid in conjunction with that approval or permit. A request for a refund shall be made in writing to the Office of Planning and Development and shall occur within 90 days of the lapse of the approval or the expiration of the permit. After 90 days, no request for a refund of the impact fee shall be permitted.
Any impact fees collected that exceed the Town's actual costs or that were not expended or obligated by contract within 10 years of the date they were collected, shall be returned to the current record owner of the property for which the fee was paid.
This chapter shall become effective upon its adoption by the Town.