, Derry, New Hampshire

October 24, 2013

Impact fee improvements move forward

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — An updated town impact fee document made its way to the Town Council Monday night.

Councilors heard a first reading of an updated impact fee ordinance that would bring Londonderry into compliance with state rules.

The Town Council will host a public hearing on the new impact fee structure Nov. 4.

The upgrades come after a Superior Court judge ruled last December that Londonderry had serious flaws in the way impact fees were handled and documented. The ruling came after the town asked for guidance on how to refund more than $1.2 million in impact fees collected erroneously or not spent within the required six-year time frame.

An audit of the town’s impact fee records revealed many discrepancies, missing records and other errors.

There were also bank documents missing, including evidence of fees being collected, but not deposited.

Town attorney Mike Ramsdell said the problems dated back many years.

Most of the changes are in language revisions and better definitions of fee structures and the collection process.

“It’s essentially an overhaul of the zoning ordinance to be in compliance with current state statutes,” town planner Cynthia May said at an earlier meeting.

The Planning Board gave its stamp of approval to the updated document earlier this month.

At that time, Chairman Art Rugg said having the revised fee document would be good for the town.

“It’s to bring us up to date so we have consistency,” he said.

The town still has some legal issues to straighten out concerning past impact fee problems.

“This is only the first step,” Rugg said.

The Town Council will take public comment about impact fees at the hearing next month and then vote on the updated document. The meeting begins Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.