Township of Bethlehem, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Bethlehem as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 230.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 252.
[Adopted 10-2-2000 by Ord. No. 4-00]

§ 116-1 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Bethlehem Township Transportation Impact Fee Ordinance."

§ 116-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to establish a transportation impact fee program to ensure that the transportation system is available and adequate to support new growth and development. To advance this objective, there is hereby created a transportation impact fee payable to the Township at the time of building permit issuance.

§ 116-3 General findings and conditions.

The Board of Commissioners hereby finds and declares that:
A. 
The conditions and standards for the determination and imposition of the Transportation Impact Fee set forth herein are those set forth in Act 209 of 1990, Article V-A, "Municipal Capital Improvement," of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. § 10501-A et seq., and any and all amendments thereto (hereinafter the "Act"), and consist of:
(1) 
The recitals set forth above;
(2) 
The analysis, advice and recommendations of the Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Committee;
(3) 
The Land Use Assumptions Report as adopted by the Board of Commissioners;
(4) 
The Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as adopted by the Board of Commissioners;
(5) 
The Transportation Capital Improvements Plan, as adopted by the Board of Commissioners; and
(6) 
Such other conditions and standards as the Board of Commissioners may by resolution identify from time to time as being relevant and material to the imposition of a transportation impact fee and consistent with the provisions of the Act and any amendments thereto.
B. 
The collection, disbursement and accounting of transportation impact fees shall be administered by the office of the Township Manager, subject to review, oversight and control by the Board of Commissioners.
C. 
The amount of the per-peak-hour-trip transportation impact fee shall be as set forth in § 116-13 of this article.
D. 
The time, method and procedure for payment of transportation impact fees shall be as set forth in § 116-18 of this article.
E. 
The procedure for credits against transportation impact fees shall be as set forth in § 116-19 of this article.
F. 
The procedure for refunds of transportation impact fees shall be as set forth in § 116-20 of this article.
G. 
Such exemptions as the Board of Commissioners shall choose to enact shall be as set forth in § 116-21 of this article.

§ 116-4 Definitions.

The terms and definitions set forth in Section 502-A of the Act, 53 P.S. § 10502-A, are hereby adopted and incorporated in this article by reference.

§ 116-5 Enactment and imposition.

There is hereby enacted a transportation impact fee to be imposed upon new development for the purpose of off-site public transportation capital improvements authorized by the Act and as described in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners. Said transportation impact fee shall apply to all new subdivisions and land developments within the transportation service area established pursuant hereto and the imposition and payment shall be a condition precedent to final approval of a subdivision or land development plan and issuance of a building permit.

§ 116-6 Uses.

Transportation Impact Fees collected pursuant to this article shall be expended for costs incurred for improvements attributable to new development and designated in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan for improvements within the transportation service area in which the new development will be located. Additionally, such fees may be used for the acquisition of land and rights-of-way, engineering, legal and planning costs, and all other costs, including debt service related to road improvements within the transportation service area, and including such proportionate amount of the Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as is allowed under the provisions of the Act.

§ 116-7 Documents adopted by Board of Commissioners.

The following documents, previously adopted by the Board of Commissioners, are hereby incorporated by reference in this article:
A. 
Recommendations of the Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Committee, including those set forth in the documents identified below.
B. 
Land Use Assumptions Report as adopted by Resolution No. R093-00.
C. 
Roadway Sufficiency Analysis as adopted by Resolution No. R118-00.
D. 
Transportation Capital Improvements Plan as adopted by Resolution No. R119-00.
E. 
Transportation Service Area Map prepared by Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., attached as Exhibit 1 to the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan, and incorporated herein by reference.

§ 116-8 Special traffic studies.

Where intended to assist in determining the appropriate amount of traffic transportation impact fees, the Township may require the preparation of special transportation studies to determine the traffic generation or circulation patterns in new nonresidential developments only; provided, nevertheless, that no studies may be required where the proposed development will not require a deviation from the land use assumptions used to create the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan. Any such studies required by the Township shall be submitted prior to the imposition of the transportation impact fee and shall be considered in the determination of the fee.

§ 116-9 Uniform applicability.

This article shall be uniformly applicable to all development that occurs within the transportation service area.

§ 116-10 Imposition and payment as condition to issuance of building permit.

No building permit shall be issued for a development in the transportation service area hereto unless the applicant therefor has paid the transportation impact fee imposed by and calculated pursuant to this article.

§ 116-11 Method of calculation.

A. 
The transportation impact fee for transportation capital improvements shall be based upon the total costs of the road improvements included in the adopted Transportation Capital Improvements Plan within the transportation service area which are attributable to and necessitated by new development within the transportation service area as calculated in accordance with the Act and herewith, divided by the number of anticipated peak-hour trips generated by all new development consistent with the adopted Land Use Assumptions Report and calculated in accordance with the Trip Generation Manual published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, 4th or subsequent editions, which is hereby adopted by the Township, to equal a per-trip cost for transportation improvements within the transportation service area.
B. 
The specific transportation impact fee for a specific new subdivision or land development within the transportation service area for road improvements shall be determined as of the date of preliminary subdivision or land development approval by multiplying the per-trip cost established for the transportation service area by the estimated number of peak-hour trips to be generated by the new subdivision or land development using generally accepted traffic engineering standards.
C. 
The Board of Commissioners may authorize or require the preparation of a special transportation study in order to determine traffic generation or circulation for a new nonresidential development to assist in the determination of the amount of the transportation fee for such subdivision or land development.

§ 116-12 Establishment of transportation service area.

A. 
A transportation service area is established as shown on the Transportation Service Area Map prepared by Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., attached as Exhibit 1 to the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan, and incorporated herein by reference. Additional transportation service areas or subareas or combinations of transportation service areas or subareas may be designated by the Board of Commissioners from time to time consistent with the procedure set forth in this article and in consideration of the following factors:
(1) 
The Comprehensive Plan;
(2) 
Any standards for adequate public facilities incorporated in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan;
(3) 
The projected build-out and timing of development areas;
(4) 
The need for and cost of unprogrammed transportation improvements necessary to support projected development; and
(5) 
Such other factors as the Board of Commissioners may deem relevant.
B. 
Fees collected from development in each transportation service area or subarea will be used exclusively to fund transportation improvement projects scheduled for that area or subarea.

§ 116-13 Calculation of per-peak-hour-trip fee.

The amount of the per-peak-hour-trip fee for the transportation service area shall be $717 until and unless revised or amended in accordance with the provisions hereof and the Act, calculated in accordance with Section 503-A(e)(1)(iv)(C) and 505-A(a)(1) of the Act[1] and § 116-11 hereof, as follows:
Total costs of road improvements included in the adopted Transportation Capital Improvements Plan attributable to and necessitated by new development within the transportation service area including 50% of the estimated cost of improvements to highways, roads and streets qualifying as a state highway or portion of the rural highway system as provided in Section 102 of the State Highway Law[2]
$7,300,085
Pro-rata share of costs of Roadway Sufficiency Analysis Report pursuant to Section 503-A(d)(5) of the Act (88% x $27,400 = $24,112)
$24,112
Total
$7,324,197
$7,324,197 divided by 10,221 total per-peak-hour trips = $717 per peak-hour trip
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. §§ 10503-A(e)(1)(iv)(C) and 10505-A(a)(1).
[2]
Editor's Note: See 36 P.S. § 670-102.

§ 116-14 Large subdivision and land developments.

There is hereby imposed an additional transportation impact fee upon new developments which generate 1,000 or more new peak-hour trips, net of pass-by trips as defined by the Trip Generation Manual published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, 4th or subsequent editions, during the peak-hour period designated in this article. The applicant for such a development shall perform a traffic analysis of development traffic impact on highways, roads or streets outside the transportation service area in which the development site is located but within the boundaries of the Township. Any such highways, roads or streets or parts thereof outside the transportation service area which will accommodate 10% or more of development traffic and 100 or more new peak-hour trips shall be studied, and the applicant shall mitigate the traffic impacts of the development on such highways, roads and streets to maintain the predevelopment conditions after completion of the development.

§ 116-15 Projects not contained in Transportation Capital Improvements Plan.

Any other provisions of this article to the contrary notwithstanding, in accordance with the provisions of Act, the Township may expend transportation impact fees paid by an applicant on projects not contained in the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan or may provide credit against transportation impact fees for the value of any construction projects not contained in the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan which are performed at the applicant's expense if all of the following criteria are met:
A. 
The applicant has provided written consent to use of its collected impact fees or the provision of such credit against the applicant's impact fees for specific transportation projects which are not included in the transportation capital improvement plan.
B. 
The alternative transportation projects, whether highway or multimodal, have as their purpose the reduction of traffic congestion or the removal of vehicle trips from the roadway network.
C. 
The Township amends its Transportation Capital Improvement Plan components required by Section 504-A(e)(1)(vi) of the Act to provide replacement of the collected impact fees transferred to transportation projects outside the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan from sources other than impact fees or developer contributions within three years of completion of the alternative projects to which the transferred fees were applied or for which credit was provided. All interest earned on such funds shall become funds of that account. The Township shall make an accounting annually for any fund account containing impact fee proceeds and earned interest. Such accounting shall include, but not be limited to, the total funds collected, the source of the funds collected, the total amount of interest accruing on such funds and the amount of funds expended on specific transportation improvements. Notice of the availability of the results of the accounting shall be included and published as part of the annual audit required of the Township. A copy of the report shall also be provided to the Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Committee.

§ 116-16 Nonbinding estimate.

Prior to making an application for a building permit, an applicant may request a nonbinding transportation impact fee estimate from the Township, which shall be based upon the maximum development potential of the site pursuant to existing zoning regulations, unless the applicant specifies a lesser use of development.

§ 116-17 Administration.

A. 
Collection of transportation impact fee. Transportation impact fees due pursuant to this article shall be collected by the Township in the manner or manners prescribed herein prior to the issuance of a building permit.
B. 
Establishment of fund. Upon receipt of transportation impact fees, the Township Manager shall be responsible for the separate and proper accounting of such fees. All such fees shall be deposited in interest-bearing accounts in a bank authorized to receive deposits of the Township funds. Interest earned by each account shall be credited to that account and shall be used solely for the purpose specified for funds of such account.
C. 
Establishment and maintenance of accounts. The Township Manager shall establish appropriate trust fund accounts and shall maintain records whereby transportation impact fees collected can be segregated for each transportation service area.
D. 
Maintenance of records. The Township Manager shall maintain and keep adequate financial records for each such account which shall show the source and disbursement of all revenues, which shall account for all monies received, and which shall ensure that the disbursement of funds from each account shall be used solely and exclusively for the provision of projects specified in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan for the particular transportation service area.

§ 116-18 Time, method, and procedure for payment.

The transportation impact fee for a specific subdivision or land development shall be paid prior to the issuance of the building permit for the development. The fee shall be paid to the Township in cash, bank cashier's check, certified check, or electronic fund transfer approved by the Township Manager and shall be administered by the Township in accordance with the provisions of § 116-17 hereof.

§ 116-19 Credit.

Any applicant who shall perform, at its own expense and with the consent and agreement of the Board of Commissioners, off-site improvements, as herein defined, shall be eligible for a credit from the transportation impact fee otherwise due. Such credit shall not exceed the amount of the transportation impact fee.
A. 
If the applicant makes such improvements, he shall enter into an agreement with the Board of Commissioners prior to the issuance of any building permit. The agreement shall establish the estimated cost of the improvement, the schedule for initiation and completion of the improvement, a requirement that the improvement be completed to Township and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation standards and design criteria, as applicable, and such other terms and conditions as deemed necessary by the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners shall review the improvement plan, verify costs and time schedules, determine if the improvement is an eligible improvement, and determine the amount of the applicable credit for such improvement to be applied to the otherwise applicable transportation impact fee prior to issuance of any building permit. The amount of such credit for any capital improvement constructed shall be the amount allocated in the Transportation Capital Improvement Plan, including contingency factors, for such improvement. In no event shall the Board of Commissioners provide a credit which is greater than the applicable transportation impact fee. If, however, the amount of the credit is calculated to be greater than the amount of the transportation impact fee due, the applicant may use such excess credit toward the transportation impact fees imposed on other building permits for development on the same site and in the same ownership. Any such applicant shall be required to supply financial security sufficient, in the judgment of the Township, to cover the cost of any such improvement installed by the applicant for which credit is sought.
B. 
An applicant shall be entitled as a credit against transportation impact fees an amount equal to the fair market value of land dedicated by the applicant to the Township and accepted by the Township for future right-of-way, realignment or widening of existing roadways. The fair market value of any land dedicated to and accepted by the Township shall be determined as of the date of the submission of the subdivision or land development application to the Township.

§ 116-20 Refunds.

Transportation impact fees collected pursuant to this article shall be refunded, together with interest earned thereon, to the payor of the fees under the following circumstances:
A. 
In the event the Township terminates or completes the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan and there remains at the time of termination or completion undisbursed funds, the respective payors shall be entitled to a share of the fund balance in the same proportion as the payor's transportation impact fee payment plus interest earned bears to the total transportation impact fees collected plus interest. The Township shall provide written notice by certified mail to each person who previously paid the fees which remain undisbursed that such person's proportionate share of the fund balance is available for refund to such person. Such notice shall be provided to the last known address provided by the payor of the fees to the Township. In the event that any of the funds remain unclaimed following one year after the notice, the Township shall be authorized to transfer any funds so remaining to any other fund in the Township without any further obligation to refund said funds. It shall be the responsibility of the payor to provide the Township at all times with a current address for such notice.
B. 
In the event the Township fails to commence construction within three years of the scheduled construction date of the project as set forth in the Transportation Capital Improvements Plan, the Township shall refund the portion of the fee paid by any payor making written request therefor which is attributable to said project, with accumulated interest; provided, nevertheless, that no refund shall be payable or paid with respect to any project actually commenced prior to the receipt of such refund request and the failure of a payor to make such written request prior to the commencement of such project shall be deemed a waiver of any right to such refund.
C. 
In the event that, upon completion of any road improvements project, the actual expenditures for the project are less than 95% of the budgeted costs for such project, the Township shall refund the pro rata difference between the budgeted costs and the actual expenditures, including interest accumulated thereon from the date of payment, to the person or persons who paid the impact fees for such improvements.
D. 
In the event the development for which transportation impact fees were paid has not commenced prior to the expiration of the building permit issued therefor, the transportation impact fees paid with accumulated interest shall be refunded to the payor. Further, if a building permit after issuance is altered in such a way as to reduce the amount of the transportation impact fee, the difference between such amount and the amount actually paid shall be refunded. The payor, at its option, may roll over the transportation impact fees attributable to an expired building permit to cover fees incurred by a renewal of said expired permit.

§ 116-21 Exemptions.

(Reserved)

§ 116-22 Effect on other provisions.

This article shall not affect, in any manner, the permissible use of property, density of development, previously adopted design and improvement standards and requirements or any other aspect of the subdivision or development of land or provision of public improvements which remain subject to applicable zoning, subdivision and land development, and planned residential development (PRD) regulations of the Township, which shall be operative and remain in full force and effect without limitation with respect to all such development.

§ 116-23 Transportation impact fee as additional and supplemental requirement.

The transportation impact fee is additional and supplemental to, and not in substitution of, any other requirements imposed by the Township on the development of land or the issuance of building permits. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to alter or affect the Township's existing ordinances and regulations regarding on-site improvements. In no event shall a property owner be obligated to pay for transportation capital improvements in an amount in excess of the amount calculated pursuant to this article; provided, nevertheless, that a property owner may be required to pay, pursuant to Township ordinances, regulations or policies, for other public facilities in addition to the transportation impact fee as provided herein.

§ 116-24 Construction.

It is hereby found and declared to be the intention of the Township that the public health, safety and welfare be protected and furthered by the provisions of this article, and it shall be interpreted and construed liberally to effectively carry out its purposes and in such manner as to favor such public interest as opposed to any private interest.

§ 116-25 Retroactive application.

A. 
Notwithstanding the effective date hereof, transportation impact fees shall be imposed on those projects involving subdivisions, land developments, and planned residential developments (PRDs) for which an application has been filed on or after the first publication of notice of the intent of the Township to adopt this article; provided, nevertheless, that such retroactivity does not exceed 18 months after the adoption of the resolution that created the Transportation Impact Fee Advisory Committee.
B. 
With respect to such retroactive applications, the per-peak-hour-trip fee shall be $400 as set forth in Section VI of Resolution No. R040-99, duly adopted at a regular public meeting held on April 19, 1999, and pursuant to which the Board of Commissioners declared its intention to adopt this article.