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[Fwd: SG-W:/ Special assessment districts vs development impact fees]

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P.A. 116, the Township and Village Public Improvement and Public Service
Act, is the law covering this issue.

It lists all the public improvements which a municipality may make on
behalf of its residents (quite extensive).  To pay for these
improvements, it may levy and collect special assessment "to pay for the
cost of an improvement or service".  In order to do this, petitions must
be signed by the record owners of land to be made into a special
assessment district. "the record owners of not less than 51% of the land
actually created into the special assessment district...must have signed
the petitions".  Section 41.413 discusses the steps which must be taken
to determine the cost of the improvements.  Section 41.414 states that
special assessment installments for 1 year shall not exceed 15% of that
property's assessed valuation...total assessment installments for a
combination of improvements shall not exceed 45% of assessed valuation.

41.416 discusses conditions for a referendum to issue bonds, generally
for public buildings.

My interpretation is as follows:

1. Schools are outside this discussion as a separate unit of government.
2. If developers/property owners want sewers or other such utilities,
they already enter an assessment district.
3. Assessment districts would only apply to roads if the twp or village
were going to construct public roads. (Probably this is the Scio twp
case.)  Since many developers either build private roads or use the Road
Commission roads, this would not be covered in most cases.
4. Assessment districts only apply to services offered within the
district.  Therefore, impact on other services outside the district
would not apply.

Jeff Surfus wrote:
> Here in Scio, the board is considering a special assessment district for
> businesses (only, I presume) near the Zeeb/Jackson/I-94 interchange to help
> pay for improvements to the intersection needed because of the added traffic
> in the area.  My guess is that the new Meijer that will be going up is the
> primary reason for this.  They also have a special assessment district for
> the three truck stops at the Baker Rd/I-94 intersection due to the need for
> improvements to the interchange there.
> My question is, why is this legal when development impact fees are not
> legal?  Isn't this "special assessment district" another way of saying a
> "development impact fee"?
> Am I missing an important difference between the two?
> Would it be possible to create a special assessment district for a
> residential development?  Could a township do this proactively to slow down
> the development of new subdivisions?
> Anyone know the difference?
> Jeff Surfus
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