Township ordered to refund $2.5M in impact fees to builders

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Hamilton Township in Warren County will have to return $2.5 million in impact fees it collected from area homebuilders, a judge has ruled.

Warren County Common Pleas Judge James Flannery issued the decision Friday. The township has until Dec. 15 to return the money.

Four regional homebuilders and the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati filed a lawsuit against Hamilton Township. They alleged the fees were an "illegal tax" that exceeded the powers given to townships under Ohio law.

The Drees Co. was represented in the suit by the Keating Muething & Klekamp law firm, based in downtown Cincinnati.

The township's impact fee was imposed on new residential and commercial development projects to help pay for the costs of police and fire protection, roads and parks created by the new projects.

In May, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the fees constituted a tax.

Hamilton Township has been using the fees since May 2007. Attorneys said the fees added more than $6,100 to the cost of a new, single-family house.

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