Council increases zoning hearing fees in Greencastle

July 08, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Borough residents in Greencastle requesting hearings before the local zoning board or applications for special exceptions will now be paying $350 for the privilege following a Borough Council Monday night.

The new fee, which takes effect immediately, more than doubles the old fee of $150 per hearing.

"We're playing catch up," said Borough Manager Kenneth Myers after the meeting. "We're losing money. We're trying to get closer to our costs."

Myers gave the council members a summary of costs the borough paid for zoning hearings in the last year-and-a-half. Costs have been steadily rising, he said.


According to Myers' summary, costs for hearings in the ranged from $258 to $551. Direct costs, excluding legal fees, ranged from $171 to $246, he said.

One reason for the increase is an increase in legal fees the borough pays its attorney, from $50 to $85 an hour, Myers said.

In addition, he said, the borough's new attorney, still new on the job, spends more time on the applications than attorney Mike Toms did when he did the work.

The borough is banned by law from passing legal fees on to applicants.

Lighting, heating and air conditioning in the council's meeting room, where hearings are held, plus administration costs including copies and postage, are also borne by the borough. He pegged administrative costs at $110.

Myers' summary breaks down the costs for holding hearings as legal fees, reporting and advertising fees and mailing costs.

The borough holds from six to eight zoning hearings a year, he said.

The council approved the fee increase unanimously.

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