West Chester Borough Council agreed to increase real estate taxes by 20 percent for 2011 instead of implementing a 7 percent tax increase and new trash fees. Council agreed to eliminate its proposed “pay as you go” trash bag system in exchange for a 20 percent property tax increase along with various parking alterations. The bonus of this system, according to residents and some on council, is that residents can write off property taxes in their federal filings. The approved tax increase would move the real estate millage rate from 5.8 mills to 6.96. A mill is $1 of tax paid for each $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The tax hike equates to an additional $130 for a total of $828 a year for the average single-family residence with an assessed value of $119,000. Council also agreed Wednesday to extend business district parking meter hours until 10 p.m. on weekdays and implement business district meter hours from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. In order for council to make the new tax rate official for 2011, council must hold a special meeting by Dec. 31 to approve a millage rate ordinance.’
New one- and two-family dwellings must be constructed with sprinkler systems, effective January 1, 2011. There are two exceptions: 1) If a design contract or a construction contract for a one-or two-family dwelling was executed prior to 12/31/2009, then that building would be subject to the International Residential Code 2006 requirements (which do not include a sprinkler requirement); 2) If an application for a UCC building permit was submitted prior to January 1, 2011, then the sprinkler requirement found in the International Residential Code 2009 will not apply (but all other requirements found in the 2009 version of this code will).
The Methacton School Board was able to reduce the expected tax increase for 2010-11 from 6.4 percent to 5.53 by refinancing part of the Skyview Upper Elementary School construction debt. The board also decided to continue the Transitional-First Grade program after parents expressed concern over the loss of the program. If adopted, the school property tax millage will be 25.58, which amounts to an increase of $235.08 in the tax bill of the average home assessed at $176,235 in the district. The expected homestead/farmstead credit is $234.20 for those enrolled. The final budget is set for adoption at the June 22 meeting. The Methacton School District has also announced a public budget forum on June 4 at 11:00 a.m. to allow the community to discuss the proposed budget with the superintendent. Please visit the Methacton School District website for more information.
Tredyffrin Township Supervisors are considering an ordinance to regulate student housing. Either a by-right or special-exception ordinance could be enacted. A by-right zoning ordinance would state that use of a property would be approved as long as it was in compliance with the ordinance, and special exception means that the Zoning Hearing Board would decide if an applicant is complying with the ordinance. The special exception would require the applicant to go through the ordinance and show how their project achieves compliance. The township has received complaints about problems near homes being rented to students relating to noise, traffic, parking and property maintenance.
Pennsylvania will be the first state to make automatic fire sprinkler systems mandatory in all newly constructed one- and two-family houses beginning, Jan. 1, 2011.
The state updated the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code last year. The action is expected to add $1 to $1.50 per square foot to the cost of new construction.
Firefighters support the code change saying that the death rate of firefighters in sprinklered homes is 80 percent lower. And the American Insurance Association says property/casualty losses in sprinklered homes are about 45 percent to 70 percent lower compared to nonsprinklered homes.
Neither the National Association of Home Builders nor the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® support mandatory sprinkler systems.
“We believe that mandatory sprinklers are yet another unnecessary and expensive government mandate for Pennsylvanians,” said PAR spokesperson Samantha Krepps. “Mandatory sprinklers in new one- and two-family construction will drive up new home prices in Pennsylvania and stall the recovery of the housing sector.”
One Liberty Properties Acquires 194,000-SF Shopping Center
One Liberty Properties Inc. has acquired the Lakeview Shopping Center in Royersford, PA, from R.J. Waters & Associates for $23.5 million or about $121 per square foot.
The 194,451-square-foot shopping center at 947 S. Township Line Road was built in 2002 on 33 acres. The center is anchored by Giant and Kohl’s, and features a number of other tenants including Blockbusters, Marshalls and Lakeview Cleaners. It was 100 percent occupied at the time of sale.
Home buyers hoping to snag a really good deal on a foreclosed home are finding it increasingly difficult because supply is shrinking.
The number of foreclosures that are available for sale nationwide fell to 617,000 in December, down from 845,000 in November 2008, reports Barclays Capital.
Not only have attractive homes in popular neighborhoods already been snapped up, but also government help for distressed buyers is delaying more foreclosures.
Demand is driving up prices. Investors say typical prices have climbed from 75 percent of appraised value to 85 percent or higher when there are bidding wars.
The US 422 Corridor Master Plan Summary Report is now available for public comment at www.422corridor.com. The report, which explores current conditions and long-term possibilities for the corridor, addresses each challenge of the corridor, and identifies strategic steps and investment decisions to sustainably accommodate growth and mobility for the long-term future – across a corridor spanning 24 municipalities in Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties. The report, which was researched and written by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and McCormick Taylor, is helpful for inventorying existing plans, programs and projects and outlining future needs of the corridor.
Jenkintown Borough announced a community presentation of the newly revised revitalization plan to be held Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jenkintown School auditorium. Key economic development initiatives will be presented. Borough council is scheduled to vote on the plan draft at the March 1 council meeting. Click here for the Jenkintown Borough notice of the presentation.
Upper Providence council will now consider a 0.5% increase in the real estate transfer tax (RTT) at its rescheduled meeting on Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 pm. The meeting will take place the Upper Providence Municipal Building, 935 N. Providence Rd., Media, PA 19063. This would bring the total real estate transfer tax to 3% in Upper Providence. If passed, Upper Providence would have the highest RTT rate of any suburban Philadelphia municipality. The Suburban REALTORS Alliance is calling on all Upper Providence REALTORS and homeowners to come to the February 25 meeting to voice their concerns about raising this tax on homeowners.