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Developers Not Entitled to Return of Unused Impact Fees

Developers in Anne Arundel County that were charged impact fees before their developments received approvals sued for the return of those fees that were not used within six years, or within a three-year extension if properly made.  The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County denied the requested refunds, and the Court of Special Appeals affirmed.  Dabbs v. Anne Arundel County, 232 Md. App. 317, 157 A.3d 381 (2017).

Before the Court of Special Appeals, the developers claimed that the rough proportionality test, or rational nexus test, applied to the development impact fees.  The court relied on a Court of Appeals decision that stated that rough proportionality does not apply to an impact tax that is imposed by a legislative enactment, as opposed to a fee imposed by an adjudication.  Further, the Court of Special Appeals found that the takings clause of the Constitution was not applicable to the impact fees in this case.  It also found that Anne Arundel County legislation enacted after the fees were paid was consistent with County policy and therefore was not a retroactive change that interfered with vested rights.

For questions, please contact Ed Levin (410) 576-1900.


July 24, 2017




Levin, Edward J.


Real Estate