House OKs developer fees

The Baltimore Sun

The House of Delegates approved new fees on development yesterday to pay for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, a proposal advocates say would also help reduce urban sprawl.

The measure would charge developers based on the creation of "impervious surfaces" such as rooftops, driveways and parking lots that cannot be penetrated by stormwater, thus contributing to runoff into the bay. Development outside designated growth areas would be assessed at a higher rate, and builders could mitigate the fees by using environmentally friendly construction techniques.

The bill passed 96-41 in the House, mostly along party lines, and it has the support of Gov. Martin O'Malley. But it appears to stand little chance of being enacted this year because Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has said he will reject revenue-raising bills this year unless they are part of a comprehensive solution for next year's projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall.

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