Jul 25, 2014
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Fenton's Fees for Building and Zoning Services Could Increase

Construction plan reviews for homes, commercial projects might go up; it would be the first changes in Fenton's fee schedule since 2007.

Fenton's Fees for Building and Zoning Services Could Increase

Fenton City Council could soon increase Fenton's fees for services.

Because of the poor economy, the fees haven't changed since 2007, said Brad Hissong, Protective Inspection director. Fenton administrators are being very careful and don't want to have the highest fees, he added.

The cost for construction plan review of a one-family residence could increase from $175 to $250, Hissong said.

For homes, there are many new building codes, he said. There needs to be a certain percentage of LED and fluorescent lighting for energy savings.

"I believe we are being really fair," he said. "We haven't gouged anyone. I've been working on this for quite some time."

Costs for commercial plan reviews also could increase. He spends many hours on commercial plan reviews, Hissong said, examining issues such as barrier-free, structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical requirements.

There's a lot more than meets the eye, he said, and some commercial plan reviews take 15-25 hours, such as a recent one for Hobby Lobby's proposal to move into the building that is temporarily occupying, 15100 Silver Parkway.

Increasing building and zoning fees would help offset the cost paid by taxpayers, Hissong added. With fee increases, the person or company requesting a plan review from the city would pay for it instead of the money coming out of taxes and the city's general fund.

"We were really low in some of the areas, and we've been told that at the front counter," he said. "Some of them couldn't believe the plan review fees."

There are unfinished subdivisions in Fenton, and bond money could be used to complete jobs, Hissong said.

Councilman Les Bland said Fenton needs to have some way to guarantee that roads are completed. The city could set a time limit for it, such as within two years of a project being completed.

Residents at for example are upset at how bad their subdivision's roads are, Bland said.

City Manager Lynn Markland said the city attorney can examine the issue of setting performance bond requirements.

City officials have had several meetings with a homeowners' association, about spreading the cost to finish roads in the subdivision between the properties in the development, Markland said.

A request for a special planning commission meeting is $800. A developer might ask for a special meeting if he or she wants to get going on a project quickly, Hissong said. A special meeting requires extra work for Fenton employees, and the planning commissioners, who are volunteers. Public hearing notices must be sent out, and city employees must be paid overtime to take the minutes (notes) on the meeting.

There's only been one special planning commission meeting in 14 years, he said. There have been requests for them, but Fenton had difficulty getting enough planning commissioners to attend for a vote.

Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King said it's good to have the fee in place for special planning commission meetings. People know they have a deadline to meet, she said.

Mayor Sue Osborn agreed, saying the city has always had a set fee, but now it is more. Fenton needs to ask for the fee, or there would be requests for special meetings all the time, she said.

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