Lancaster SC impact fee vote on Indian Land home, business

Lancaster County could take a step Monday night in deciding whether to increase costs for new Indian Land homes and businesses.

Lancaster County Council has first reading scheduled on proposed new panhandle impact fees. The fees would apply to the Pleasant Valley, Indian Land, Charlotte Road, Riverside, Shiloh Zion and Camp Creek fire districts.

The proposal requires three readings before possible approval and must go through a public hearing. It’s possible council could vote against the fees or ask for significant enough changes to send proposal back to consultants.

Council started a study in early 2020 for possible impact fees to help pay for law enforcement, fire, EMS and recreation. The county planning commission twice reviewed them in November before recommending new fees. Council has final say.

Impact fees are charges on new construction. They are designed to offset growing costs on county services due to new construction, which brings more people and businesses, and more demands for law enforcement, fire, emergency services and recreation to cover.

The cost

As written, the charge on a new home would be a little more than $2,200. An apartment would be a little more than $1,500 per unit. Residences in the Pleasant Valley fire district, the northernmost tip of the panhandle between the fellow high-growth Fort Mill and Ballantyne areas, would be slightly less.

Retail, office, industrial, warehouse and other construction would vary. Impact fees would be from about $100 to $1,800 per 1,000 square foot of new space, depending on business type. Retail would cost the most. As with homes, the Pleasant Valley district would see slightly lower charges.

Fees would be reviewed annually. It’s possible council could choose different amounts.

Impact fees have become common in the area in recent years. Fort Mill and Tega Cay added them. The Fort Mill School District increased its fee. Rock Hill, the Clover School District and others also have fees.

The Fort Mill school fee, set up by York County, caught the attention of homebuilders when it increased from $2,500 per residence to more than $18,000 per home and $12,000 per apartment. State and local homebuilder groups sued, claiming the fee itself and the state law that allows impact fees are flawed and shouldn’t be allowed.

The school district and county won court decisions, but the South Carolina Supreme Court heard an appeal in January. The high court hasn’t yet decided on the case. Should that court rule the state act that allows impact fees is unconstitutional as the homebuilders allege, it could impact funding for numerous public services throughout York County and the state.

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John Marks graduated from Furman University in 2004 and joined the Herald in 2005. He covers community growth, municipalities, transportation and education mainly in York County and Lancaster County. The Fort Mill native earned dozens of South Carolina Press Association awards and multiple McClatchy President’s Awards for news coverage in Fort Mill and Lake Wylie.
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