Impact Fee Amendment Passes First Reading

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to accept the first reading of a new impact fee ordinance, as recommended by the Planning Board to make the ordinance more in compliance with state statute.

“We are introducing a new impact fee ordinance and will hold a public hearing at a later date,” Town Councilor Tom Dolan said. Dolan acted as chairman in the absence of John Farrell.
The Council decided to hold the hearing Nov. 4.
Dolan said the ordinance is “an amendment to the zoning ordinance to replace section 1.2 impact fees in its entirety with the revised language, consistent with revisions to New Hampshire state law NH RSA 674:21and recent court orders pertaining to impact fees, and that the town attorney was charged with amending the entire section to ensure the town’s regulations are in compliance and consistent with the intent and specifics of the revised state statute.”
The impact fee amendment to the ordinance stemmed from a December 2012 court order that the current impact fees be audited. The resultant audit showed flaws in the collection, handling and maintaining of collected fees and said the ordinance should be brought up to state statute.
In a Superior Court decision dated Dec. 31, 2012, the court found the impact fee program in place in Londonderry since 1994 had at times been illegal and that refunds were due to parties who paid the illegal fees. The court also said that “The court sees that a full accounting of the impact fee program to be the only solution to the town’s widespread misfeasance.” The court then ruled that the town employ an independent auditor to fully audit the town’s impact fee collections and expenditures since the program’s creation in 1994.
Following completion of the forensic audit, Town Attorney Michael Ramsdell presented to the Planning Board his revisions to the ordinance; the Planning Board accepted and recommended the changes to the Town Council.

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