Lower Dorchester County property owners will get refund of transportation impact fees | News

More than a thousand property owners in unincorporated parts of lower Dorchester County will soon get refunds of unspent transportation impact fees.

County Council unanimously agreed Sept. 5 to refund all transportation impact fees collected through June 30 with interest. The refunds will be paid to the owner of record within three months, according to the motion.

A lawsuit filed July 3 on behalf of resident Keri Moore claims that the county failed to spend money it collected to help pay for road improvements and new roads.

“State law imposes a mandatory three-year ‘use it or lose it’ rule on local governments who charge impact fees,” said lawyer Ross Appel of McCullough Khan. “Our lawsuit claims Dorchester County collected millions of dollars in impact fees, but failed to timely spend them on specific road projects.”

The S.C. Development Impact Fee Act requires that the fee must be refunded to property owners if the fees have not been spent within three years of the date on which they were scheduled to be spent.

In 2010, County Council voted to impose a fee on all new development that connected into the county water system or its sewer system from Four Hole Swamp south.

It was based on a complicated formula that considered the type of development, square footage and potential traffic. Fees ranged from $863 for mobile homes to more than $42,000 for fast-food restaurants.

The maximum fee for a single-family home was $1,655, according to the county’s Transportation Impact Fee Ordinance.

The county identified 21 construction projects to be funded by the fee, including more than $6 million for widening Ladson Road from Harrison Road to the Charleston County line and almost $2.7 million for widening Orangeburg Road from Mallard Road to U.S. Highway 17A. Both projects were planned in the 2013-14 fiscal year, but that money still has not…

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