Big Building Incentives Could Be On The Way For Fruitland - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Big Building Incentives Could Be On The Way For Fruitland

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FRUITLAND, Md. - Between water contamination in their Morris Mill Community, and a struggling economy, the past year has not been easy for the city of Fruitland.

However, with two big plans up for discussion, city leaders are hoping to turn all of that around.

"it's been a challenge," says Lee Outten, Fruitland City Council President. "We have to provide some kind of advantage or incentive for those businesses to decide they want to come to Fruitland."

One of those big incentives on the table is to address the $9,000 impact fee that comes with buying a piece of land.

"The impact fee is a huge consideration," says Outten. "That's a lot of money to put out."

City Council wants to put a hold on the fee, and some local realtors feel the move could be huge for the city.

"That fee gets passed down to the end consumer which is the buyer," says Donna Harrington, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salisbury. "It makes the price points a little difficult for them to swallow, and actually it affects their affordability. I think this is critical to be able to get building again in town limits."

Outten says the total revenue of their properties, known as the "assessable base," was $20 million lower in the 2013-2014 fiscal year than in the 2008 to 2009 fiscal year. While the fee generally covers capital items in their budget, he says it is worth the incentive.

"It would come back to us in the long run by building our revenue base," says Outten.

Another topic up for discussion is an equivalent dwelling unit (EDU) policy amendment. Currently, the city is charged capacity for every EDU, which covers water and sewer, whether or not the property is actually in service. Now, council hopes to eliminate those that are never used.

"The idea is kind of that you either use it or lose it," says Outten. "It allows us to open up those EDU's and apply them to a place where hopefully they will be used."

Outten says the unused EDU's take up about 50 fifty percent of the capacity in the wastewater treatment plant, and if it forces them to expand their capacity, it could mean significant costs for Fruitland.

He says the EDU amendment will take more time to implement, but if the impact fee passes a second reading, it could go into effect immediately after.

"There's a lot of vacant land sitting out there not being utilized and I think this is one critical step to getting us there, and getting people back and excited about buying a new home," says Harrington.

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