This fall, the Ohio Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether townships and counties have the statutory right to levy impact fees on builders and developers. An appeals court had found in favor of Hamilton Township, which in 2007 became the first township to impose a fee on each lot developed. With fees starting at $6,000, the township has since collected about $2.3 million, which is in escrow pending the high court’s ruling.
- An Ohio statute endows home-rule townships with the power to charge fees for services rendered. But what service justifies this development fee?, asks Dan Dreesman, executive director of the HBA of Greater Cincinnati. The HBA contends the fee is a tax in sheep’s clothing, and townships have had extremely limited taxation authority.
- Dreesman and Vince Squillace, executive director of the Ohio HBA, think a ruling upholding the fee would “open the floodgates” for more townships to take similar action. That’s what happened when the Supreme Court in June 2000 upheld the right of Ohio municipalities to levy impact fees to offset public-service costs for development. By November 2003, 40 municipalities had imposed fees.