Not all recreation fees collected in Chester

Because of an oversight, four projects paid fees at the old, pre-2013 rate, building inspector says


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  • Chester Village Hall (Photo by Odeya Pinkus)



Recreation fee schedule

Chester village trustees on May 13, 2013, increased recreation fees as follows:
Applications to the planning board for residential site plan approval or amendment of an approval require a recreation fee of $1,500 per dwelling, increased from $500 per dwelling.
Applications to the planning board for a minor subdivision or lot line change approval require a recreation fee $2,000 per approved lot, increased from $1,000 per approved lot.
Applications to planning board for a major subdivision or commercial subdivision require a recreation fee of $2,000 per approved lot, increased from $1,000 per approved lot.


By Frances Ruth Harris

— The Village of Chester has not collected the full amount in recreation fees it's entitled to since increasing the fees in 2013.

Applicants are obliged to pay recreation fees when the village approves their residential site plans or subdivisions. The money is put into a fund that pays for recreational facilities like parks and sports fields.

The village's building inspector, John Orr, has collected fees at the old rate since the increase. He told The Chronicle this was an oversight, but that only four applicants since 2013 paid less than they should have. The increased fees do not apply to subdivisions, like Meadow Hill, already underway before the rate went up, he said.

The fees are collected for residential development, whether for a single-residence site plan, a minor subdivision (land subdivided into four or fewer lots in a year), or major subdivision (more than four lots).

Orr week provided the Chronicle with the following statement explaining the fees situation:

"The Village of Chester provides an applicant with an application packet to be filled out and returned to the Village. In that application packet are listed all fees that would be associated with different projects including application fees, escrow request, approved project fees and recreation fees. When an applicant submits an application, they are aware of all fees the Village intends on collecting and thus creates a 'contract' with the applicant. A project may take years to go through the planning process before it is approved by the Village Planning Board. If fees are changed by the Village Board during this time, the Village cannot change fees that have already been explained and agreed upon on with an applicant. At the Village Board meeting held May 13, 2013, the Village Board voted to increase the recreation fees it charges to Planning Board applicants. It was never the Village Board’s intention to change fees for projects currently being reviewed by the Planning Board and, furthermore, it would be unethical to do so. Meadow Hill Apartments paid the Village $54,000, which is $500 per unit for the 108 units built, in accordance with the fee schedule in place at time of application. Payments were made at the time each of the 6 buildings were ready to be occupied. Since 2013, the Village has collected $60,000 in Recreation fees, all of which were from projects started with the Planning Board prior to 2013. The Village has determined there was an oversight since 2013, where the application packets given to applicants were not updated with the new fee schedule. This has been corrected and all forms have been updated. Since 2013, the Village has accepted 38 applications of which only 4 would have been affected by the new fee schedule. In the future the Village will be diligent to insure the proper fees are collected for all projects."

One subdivision that may be built in the village in the future is BT Holdings, which is located on 60-plus acres of land annexed from the town in 2013. A appeals court last week struck down the developer's quest to build up to 340 residences on the site and upheld the village's new zoning, which limits development on the site to 140 single-family houses. If the developer goes ahead with a scaled-down subdivision, the village could, at $2,000 in recreation fees per lot, reap up to $280,000 from the project.

Related storyPlease see related story at chroniclenewspaper.com:

"Village approves developer's zone change request"





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