Education

Clover school leaders voted on new development fees. Here’s what they said.

State and York Co. argue in court to uphold rules allowing fees in Fort Mill school district

South Carolina and York County attorneys argued to uphold rules allowing for impact fee charges in the Fort Mill school district. State and county home builder group attorneys argues the fees should be illegal.
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South Carolina and York County attorneys argued to uphold rules allowing for impact fee charges in the Fort Mill school district. State and county home builder group attorneys argues the fees should be illegal.

The Clover school district is moving forward with charging impact fees in Clover, which means area developers may soon be paying extra to help deal with growth-related impacts on schools.

Bryan Dillon, district spokesperson, said in March that Clover was gathering information on how much it costs the system to educate a student. An information session was held May 6 at the school district office.

The Clover school district will need to spend $190 million for a new elementary school and another high school, to be completed in 2024, and land for another elementary school in 2022, according to the district.

Clover Superintendent Sheila Quinn said May 6 that more than 6,000 new homes are planned and approved in the Lake Wylie and Clover areas but aren’t yet built.

According to a 2017 census estimate, Lake Wylie’s population has increased 46% since 2010. Clover has seen a 26% increase in population since 2010 and continues a steady climb.

“We know the growth is coming,” Quinn said May 6.

The Clover school board voted May 20 to pursue impact fees, Dillon said.

“It’s a way for growth to pay for growth,” Quinn said on May 6. “This is a way for the newer people who come in to have some skin in the game towards that growth.”

Builders or developers pay impact fees at the time a building permit is issued, and typically the cost is shifted to homeowners and renters, The Herald previously reported. The fees can be used only for costs related to growth.

Carson Bise with the consulting firm TischlerBise has recommended a preliminary fee of $12,537 for each home and $6,493 per apartment unit, according to the district. Retirement communities that are deed restricted would be exempt from school impact fees.

The district is working with York County Council to charge impact fees on new residences within the district, Dillon said. An ordinance will need to be approved by the council before the fees are charged.

“We would like to have the impact fee offset some of the debt we would ask everyone else to pay,” Quinn said.

Impact fees are already in place in the Fort Mill school district. As of April, Fort Mill has collected more than $9 million in impact fees, according to the district.

York and Lancaster county leaders also are considering impact fees to address costs related to growth.

Impact fees have faced opposition.

In July 2018, York County Council approved increasing fees on new residences in the Fort Mill school district. The fees went from $2,500 per residence to more than $18,000 for each home and $12,000 for each apartment unit, The Herald previously reported.

The increase prompted a lawsuit from area builder associations. A non-jury trial is set for on or after Oct. 14.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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