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More fee hikes proposed

April 04, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Planning Department has proposed new building fees and significant increases to others to help cover the costs associated with reviewing and drafting reports on site plans, zoning requests and other planning documents, Planning Director Michael Thompson said Monday.

It's the second time in as many weeks that an increase in building-related fees was proposed.

Last week, the Permits and Inspections Department asked the County Commissioners to raise about 140 fees, including the cost of building permits and various inspections.

Thompson plans to pitch the proposed planning fees to the commissioners at today's meeting. About 30 fees are proposed to increase or be created.

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The fees would generate an additional $250,000 to $300,000 for the department, which would help decrease the amount of money the commissioners allocate from the county's general fund, according to information included with the agenda for today's meeting.

Thompson said the commissioners asked for adjustments to the fees so the revenue covers the staff costs associated with reviewing plans.

"These fees weren't done to try to be a moneymaker," Thompson said.

The proposed fees still would be less than those in the City of Hagerstown and in Frederick County, Md., Thompson said.

The Home Builders Association of Washington County has expressed concern that raising permits, inspection and planning fees would increase price of homes.

Thompson said the fees wouldn't greatly affect home prices.

For example, if a developer proposes a residential, multi-lot subdivision with 10 lots, the cost would be $500 plus $20 per lot under the proposed fee schedule.

The existing fee is $100 plus $15 per lot.

Under the new fee, the total fee would be $700, or $70 per lot, Thompson said.

"Our fee is probably a drop in the bucket than what they're going to make off it," Thompson said.

The county discussion of the proposed fees will be today at 2:20 p.m. in room 226 at the County Administration Building at 100 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.




Proposed fees and increases



Some of the Washington County Planning Department fees proposed to be created or increased include:

  • Raising the cost of residential site plans from $100 plus $10 an acre to $750 plus $10 an acre.

  • Raising the cost of commercial site plans from $100 plus $50 an acre to $750 plus $50 an acre.

  • Charging $2,000 plus $20 per acre for rezoning requests, also known as map amendments, up from the existing cost of $200.

  • Raising the cost of special exception requests from $175 to $500.

  • Charging $500 for site plans approved by staff.

  • Charging $500 plus $20 per acre for preliminary consultations.





If you go



What: Discussion of proposed building fee increases

When: Today, 2:20 p.m.

Where: Room 226 of the County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

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