April 17, 2001 |
The 2000 census shows that Gloucester County is one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. Once the farm capital of New Jersey, Gloucester County is now a semiagricultural, suburban, bedroom community where people move to raise their families in a safe, affordable, clean environment. According to the census, Gloucester County's population grew more in the last 10 years, 10.7 percent, than the statewide average, 8.9 percent. The reason is that Gloucester County combines the appropriate mixture of farmland and open-space preservation, business and economic development, and residential growth.
May 17, 2000 |
What happens when your neighbor is about to approve a 100,000-square-foot office complex near the town border, and the only thing you get is more traffic? If you're Lower Makefield Township and your neighbor is Newtown Township, you ask PennDot to reject Newtown Office Commons' application for an access permit on the northwest corner of the troubled intersection of Lindenhurst Road and the Newtown Bypass (Route 332). At least until the traffic plans are improved. The developer, Brandywine Realty Trust of Newtown Square, awaits final approval from the Newtown Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, said Thomas Harwood, Newtown Township's zoning officer and public works director.
February 14, 2000 |
Wary after losing revenue to changing tax laws for public utilities, Limerick Township has rewritten its zoning laws and negotiated a $5 million payment from the company building a natural-gas power plant here. PowerWorks, a private firm from Connecticut, agreed last month to pay the maximum spelled out in a new zoning ordinance, $3.5 million in impact fees for emergency services and $1.7 million to the Municipal Authority for sewers, said Township Solicitor Joseph McGrory Jr. Township Manager Ed Fink said the revenue might go toward building public parks, improving roads, relieving the debt of the township, and bringing public water to the Linfield area, near where the plant will be built.
February 12, 2000 |
Now everybody wants to fight suburban sprawl. Earlier this week, Gov. Ridge proposed changes to state law that he called "Growing Smarter. " Yesterday, Pennsylvania's biggest builders' group made its own suggestions, dubbed "How to Grow. " Both sets of proposals include incentives for local governments to cooperate in land-use planning. And both would protect municipalities from lawsuits that developers have used to circumvent local zoning laws. One new twist, from the Pennsylvania Builders Association, is a road-improvement plan that might cost its own members - and consequently home buyers - more to get their projects built.
November 18, 1999
Impact fees, builders and development in Jersey The editorial (Inquirer, Nov. 3) on a New Jersey bill authorizing impact fees for new construction failed to acknowledge the real reason why the legislation was sent back to committee. The senators realized it was a badly written piece of legislation and that impact fees are too significant an issue on which to vote without more consideration. The Builders League is supportive of reasonable impact-fee legislation that would put in place the planning and administrative procedures necessary to assure that the fees are correctly calculated and appropriately assessed.
November 16, 1999 |
The New Jersey Senate passed a bill yesterday that would allow municipalities to collect impact fees from the builders of homes in order to help cover the costs of new schools, sewers and other structures and services that result from development. The vote was 29-7 with four abstentions. Passage in the Assembly, however, is not likely before the end of the legislative session Jan. 10 due to concerns among Republican leaders, which means the process of enacting the measure into law would have to start anew next year.
November 15, 1999 |
For 10 years, builders have been busy in rural Harrison Township, putting up houses at the rate of roughly 100 a year. Partly as a result, the school district is poised to break ground on a new school for fifth and sixth graders. "Probably, if we didn't build another house, we'd still have to build that school," said Deputy Mayor Phil Rhudy, who bought one of the new houses himself 10 years ago. "People are having children. " But there will be more houses, especially with a new sewer plant due to open in October 2001, and that means officials in Harrison and other fast-growing communities will pay close attention to a bill before the New Jersey Senate today.
November 3, 1999
Last month, New Jersey seemed near a legislative breakthrough over a controversial but smart proposal to allow property-tax-stressed towns to charge developers "impact fees" for new housing tracts. Put that under the well-worn category of too good to be true. State Sen. President Donald DiFrancesco (R., Union) sent out a press release on Oct. 18 praising a compromise impact-fee bill as "a giant step in our continuing effort to provide municipalities with the tools to hold down property taxes.
October 26, 1999 |
State Senate leaders postponed a vote yesterday on a bill that would allow towns to charge home builders for some of the cost of new schools and sewers. Known as impact fees, such payments have long been touted by school and municipal officials as a means of keeping the lid on property taxes. Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco (R., Union) said he still intended to put the bill up for a vote on Nov. 15, after a committee review. But supporters warned that the delay might jeopardize the measure's chances of passing the Assembly before the legislative session expires at the end of the year.
October 18, 1999
In New Jersey and across the nation, builders often put up houses faster than towns can build schools, roads, ballfields and sewage plants to serve them. The public costs of all that often outpace tax revenues from the new development. In New Jersey, where the governor has made a career of shifting costs from the state income tax to local taxes, developments that don't pay their own way put even more pressure on the property tax. One solution to all this is the "impact fee" - which lets towns assess developers for some of the "ripple effect" costs of their building.