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.