Milton Matters, Looking to the future
With the recent surge in large development applications in Milton NH, which have included a request for up to 500 units on Elm Street, as well as a propose expansion of Mi-Te-Jo Campground, off of Town House Road, which could add up to 173 new campsites, maybe it’s time to insure that Milton has regulations in place to insure managed growth does not burden the existing tax base.
The development of land often creates an increased need for capital improvements such as new or improved roads and intersections, water and sewer extensions, and street lighting. New Hampshire towns and cities may charge the developer for these costs in two different ways: off-site exactions and impact fees.
Exaction Fees:. RSA 674:21, V(j) allows a municipality to charge a developer an “exaction” for off-site improvement needs determined by the planning board to be necessary for the occupancy of any portion of a development. In this context, “off-site improvements” are those improvements created by the development but located outside the boundaries of the property that is the subject of the site plan or subdivision application. Exactions may only be charged for highway, drainage, sewer, and water upgrades related to the development, and only in reasonable proportion to the benefit accruing to the development from those improvements. These exactions may be assessed whether or not a municipality has adopted an impact fee ordinance and are assessed by the planning board on a case-by-case basis.
Adopting an impact fee ordinance is a formal process. First, the municipality must have enacted a capital improvements program under RSA 674:4-:7. RSA 674:21, V(b). Next, an impact fee ordinance must be passed by the legislative body (town meeting, town council or city council/board of aldermen) using the ordinary process for zoning ordinances under RSA 675:2-:4. This includes drafting by the planning board, public hearing(s), and a ballot vote by the legislative body (town meeting or city council/board of aldermen). The impact fee ordinance is generally part of a zoning ordinance. This makes sense because it goes hand in hand with the planning board’s administration of subdivision and site plan review.
Impact fees are assessed at the time the planning board approves the site plan or subdivision.
I urge the Milton Planning Board and the Town of Milton to put this discussion at the Top of their list for Milton NH.