Hike in permits, inspection fees proposed

March 31, 2006|by TARA REILLY


Thinking about building a house?

Or renovating your home, or adding a deck or a pool?

In Washington County, it might get a little more expensive to do so.

The Permits and Inspections Department has proposed raising all fees - totaling about 140 - for services provided by the department.

The proposed increases are for residential and commercial building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits and inspections.

The amounts of the proposed increases vary. Included is the cost of applying for a building permit, which would jump from $30 to $65.


Permits and Inspections Director Daniel DiVito said Thursday the fee hikes would help generate $650,000 for the department. If the increases were to be phased in, which is a possibility, he said that amount might change.

The money would go toward making the department self-supportive and less dependent on the county's general fund, he said.

It also would pay for three inspectors and a plan reviewer, which DiVito said would help the department provide timely and satisfactory service to builders.

The proposed positions also are necessary to keep up with the building demand of a growing county, he said.

The county issues about 12,000 to 13,000 building permits a year, but that number has been increasing over the last several years, he said.

Debi Turpin, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Washington County, was cool to the proposed fee hikes.

She said the increases would be tacked on to the cost of building a home, renovations or other construction.

"The fact is, it adds to the cost of housing," she said.

Turpin said builders wouldn't oppose the higher fees as long as they receive efficient service that allows them to complete the house on time for the buyer.

She said the department and builders have a good relationship and she would like that to continue.

DiVito presented the proposed fees to the County Commissioners at Tuesday's meeting. The commissioners did not vote on the proposed increases.

The county's current permits and inspections fees are at least 36 percent lower than surrounding jurisdictions, according to a written report from DiVito to the commissioners.

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