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County considers new engineering plan fees

March 29, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Washington County is considering instituting a series of new engineering plan fees to help cover the costs of additional review required under new, state-mandated stormwater-management regulations, officials said Tuesday.

The new fees include a $200 charge for review of stormwater-management concept plans, $450 to review previously approved stormwater-management plans and $500 to review “as-built” plans, among others.

The changes are related to a new stormwater-management, grading, soil-erosion and sediment-control ordinance the county passed last summer to incorporate the new state regulations.

“We’ve already heard some questions about ... all the things the state’s required us to do, and how we will recover those costs,” County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said.

“Of course, as we move through these things, fees are necessary in many categories,” he said. “Although not palatable, we have to be able to fund some of these items.”

The proposed fees do not fully cover the cost of the plan reviews, which will be subsidized with general taxpayer funds, he said.

For example, the estimated review time for a typical stormwater-management concept plan submission is 5.5 hours, at an estimated cost of $248, but the proposed fee is $200, according to a county handout explaining the proposed changes.

Joseph Kroboth III, director of Washington County Public Works, said the use of taxpayer funds to help cover the cost of plan reviews could be justified because the process protects the community at large from adverse effects of poor grading or stormwater-management planning.

One change that will reduce costs for some builders is the creation of a new standard grading plan review option, officials said.

Under that option, someone building a single-family home and disturbing no more than 15,000 square feet will pay a flat $125 grading plan review fee, Kroboth said. Currently, grading plan review costs $150 plus $75 per acre of disturbed area.

The proposed new fees include:

  • Stormwater-management concept review, $200
  • Two-year update review, $200
  • Stormwater-management waiver review, $150
  • Revision plan review, $450
  • As-built plan review, $500
  • Standard grading plan review, $125
  • Engineering technology fee, $15

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