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Sharpsburg raises the cost of appeals

February 08, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - The cost of filing an appeal to the Sharpsburg Board of Appeals went up more than 700 percent overnight Monday.

Town council members voted 6-0 on Monday night to increase the fee from $35 to $300, using an emergency ordinance so the change would take effect immediately.

The town might still lose money on some cases, Town Attorney Charles Wagaman said in a telephone interview after the meeting.

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The council also voted 6-0 to change how written notices for those hearings are mailed in an effort to reduce costs. That also was an emergency ordinance.

Instead of mailing the notices via registered mail, they will be mailed first class and a receipt from the post office will be received for each notice mailed, according to the law.

The mail change will reduce the cost by approximately $40 per case, Wagaman said.

The $300 filing fee is for people applying for things such as a special exception or area variance, Wagaman said.

The town's costs include $140 to place the newspaper ad for a case, $20 for a sign to post in front of the affected property, $35 in postage under the new postage method approved Monday night and $200 in attorney's fees for the typical case, Wagaman said.

Wagaman brought a proposal before the council to raise the filing fee to $200, but after a discussion of costs Councilwoman Patti Hammond said $300 would not be outrageous.

One of the council members mentioned not wanting to see someone have to pay a $300 filing fee for a $200 project.

Special exceptions normally would not involve minor changes in property, Wagaman said.

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