On July 9, 2015, Commonwealth Court determined that pass-by trips may be included in the calculation of impact fees pursuant to Section 505-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (“MPC”).

Section 505-A(a)(1) permits the imposition of an impact fee to fund transportation capital improvements, where a municipality has adopted a Transportation Capital Improvements Plan.  Metro Bank, proposed to construct a bank branch in Manheim Township (“Township”), and was subject to such a fee.  In calculating the fee, the Township included “pass-by” trips.

Pass-by trips are associated with retail uses, and occur when a consumer stops “on-the-way” to a final destination.  Metro Bank contended that the inclusion of pass-by trips in the calculation of their impact fee was improper.  Pass-by drivers would be travelling the road regardless.

Commonwealth Court concluded that Section 505-A did not require pass-by trips to be excluded from the impact-fee calculation.  Where the General Assembly intended to exclude pass-by trips, it did so explicitly.  It did not specifically exclude them from the calculation in Section 505-A(a)(1).

This holding is important to developers and municipalities alike.  While developers must include the impact fee in their financial analysis, at the same time pass-by trips can be vital to the success of a business.  It is important to determine all locally-imposed fees at the planning stage of a development.

Click here to read: Metro Bank v. Board of Commissioners of Manheim Tp., No. 1421 C.D. 2014 (Pa. Cmwlth. July 9, 2015).

Edited by:

MEP for PAZ Website Michael E. Peters, Esq.