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Lewes, Delaware
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January 26, 2007     Cape Gazette
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January 26, 2007
 

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CAPE GAZETYE - Friday, January 26-Monday, January 29, 2007- 19 Impact fees topic of Lewes-BPW concern, ::discussion Panel reviews report on making fees equitable By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff The Lewes Board of Public Works is delving into the com- plexity of establishing impact fees, which developers would pay to cover the costs of capital improvements made necessary by their projects. Ken Mecham, BPW general manager, told the board at its Thursday, Jan. 18 meeting that existing customers shouldn't have to pay for utility system expan- sions and improvements required by new developments. He said the board's expanded service area master plan is being developed by George, Miles & Buhr Engineering and should be complete in May. George, Miles & Buhr is the BPW's and City of Lewes' consulting engineer. The area master plan will iden- tify the types of capital improve- ments that might be needed to support future development and the specific locations for the proj- ects. Mecham said the impact fees should be in place by October. He said the expanded service area master plan is important in setting impact fees because the fees would be "zone sensitive." Mecham said the fees would probably vary - higher in some areas and lower, by comparison, in others. He said it also isn't uncommon for impac t fees, as wellas utility serviC e rates, to be different inside city limits compared to those out- side the city. "Impact-fee calculations will be complex but a single, number _should be used," Mecham said. He said the impact fees must also be updatable and adjustable to economic change. Mayor Jim Ford suggested the board research cities similar to Lewes, compare the data, and come up with a baseline impact fee for the city. Board member Jay Carmean said whatever method is used to set the fees must be done careful- ly to avoid potential litigation based on whether the fee had been equitably determined. The interim report submitted by Mecham said the courts use one of three tests - reasonable relation- ship, specifically and uniquely attributable and rational nexus - to determine the reasonableness of impact fees. "The rational nexus test has emerged as the prime legal test of impact fee ordinances," the report states. The nexus test was first applied Creation of Lewes stormwater utility inches forward BPW looks at costs, environmental factors By Henry J. Evans Jr. Cape Gazette staff An engineering study of Lewes' beachside and Pilottown Village estimates the cost _of installing a stormwater control system in those areas would be $340,000. The study comes as the Lewes Board of Public Works continues to talk about how best to create a stormwater utility department and how to set rates and derive rev- enue from the department's serv- ices. Creation of the stormwater util- ity would require changing the City of Lewes Charter. Board attorney Tempe Steen, at the board's request, is working on a document that would make the charter changes establishing the stormwater utility. Lewes charter changes require state _general assembly approval. The board at its Jan. 18 meeting also received the Final Lewes Beach Drainage Study Report, submitted to the city and board by engineering firm George, Miles & Buhr. GMB is the city's and board'_s consulting engineer. The engiteering report summa- rizes existifig conditions at culMe- sacs on Houston and Delmar Avenues and at Milton Avenue on the city's beachside that •con- tribute to recurrent flooding caused by stormwater runoff: GMB recommended that the city and board immediately implement four actions to allevi- ate flooding costing a total of $88,770. Board-President Gary Stabley said action by the board was not taken on the recommendation because the item wasn't a meeting agenda item. He said it is also unclear where money to pay for the project would come from. The report recommended: • Installing storage trenches at each cul-de-sac at a total cost of $57,522 • Re-grading swales that drain each cul-de-sac at a total cost of $18,198 • Re-grading the main drainage ditch at little or no cost • Replacing a culvert beneath Market Street at a cost of $13,050 Stabley said the board would further examine the proposed solution after receiving additional information. He said the report didn't specify whether the project would be solely the board's responsibility, the city's responsi- bility or a shared costproject. The engineering study was paid for by a Flood•Mitigation Assistance grant to the city through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and by a grant to the BPW, also through DNREC, under the state's 21st Continued on page 20 in a Princeton, N.J., case where the court ruled there "must be a reasonable•connection between 'infrastructure need aod new growth." The court said the fees charged must not exceed a proportionate diture of the fee collected and the share of the cost of accommodat- benefits received by the develop- ing the development requiring the ment," the report found. fee. "A reasonable connection is Contact Henry J. Evans Jr. at also required between the expen- hevans@capegazette.com O Citizens of Delaware We need to act now to meet our needs and save the earth NRG's ads are misleading and have neglected important information; Please take the time to read the following: NRG falls to point out that: • They will continue and in fact increase the extraction and transportation of coal, causing continuous, serious damage to the environment. • They will continue to emit SOX, NOX, mercury, and other pollutants into our air. They will continue to be "dirty". • They will increase the release of CO2 into the air, causing global warming and acidification of the ocean. • They will continue to release fine particulate matter which, according to Dr. James Rivera, Director, DE Dept of Health, "shortens the lives of 95 Delaware residents each year; • They will continue to run the current polluting coal stacks which, if a new one is added, will make Indian River one of the two biggest polluters in the state. • They will not have developed a system for capturing, transporting and storing all the CO2, a future carbon tax for consumers and a future catastrophe for the earth. Wind is supported because: • Wind is safe, clean, renewable and quiet. • Wind is free for use: no polluting, extraction or export needed. • Wind turbines cause only minimal injury to birds according to a Denmark wind study in November 2006; and no injury to humans: • Wind is not harmful to the environment. • Wind is nearly constant 6-8 miles out: over supply can be fed into the grid to offset peak period lulls. • Wind development will create a wide variety of new jobs in Delaware. • Wind is the only choice that is healthy for our future generations. Endorsed by: Citizens for Clean Power, Citizens for a Better Sussex, Delaware Audubon Society, Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, Coalition for Climate Change Study and Action, Coastal-Georgetown American Association of University Women and hundreds of concerned citizens. For info: www.abettersussex.comlENERGY.html