Building Permit Fees to Rise in Brick After Month of Amnesty
Some fees will double over two years
But before the new rates begin to be phased in, the township will offer a month of amnesty for those who previously undertook building projects without permits. All of the fees will begin increasing July 1.
"A number of homes have been renovated, pre and post Sandy, without getting the proper permits from the building department," said Mayor John Ducey, leading to the introduction of an amnesty program.
"As long as you come in and apply for your permit, you’re still safe from the fines and the penalties," he said. "We want to make sure it’s safe so there’s not a fire, water damage, or a whole number of things that can happen if the work wasn’t done properly. There are no fines, no penalties, we’re not going to hold it against you."
The amnesty program will apply to any residents who voluntarily visit the Building Department, between June 1 and June 30 and apply for permits, pay the required permit fee, and successfully receive all required inspections for any and all renovations, or construction undertaken without proper permitting. Residents will be required to complete all necessary paperwork, and provide a full disclosure of all work completed.
Normally, a resident could be fined up to $2,000 per violation, township officials said.
The amnesty does not extend to commercial properties, owners who have permitted occupancy in properties without a Certificate of Occupancy, applicants who are already the subject of an investigation, or with violations discovered by the Building Department. Potential fines and penalties will not be waived for anyone who applies, and does construction work while waiting for a permit to be issued.
Increased Fees Coming
The township council, separate from the amnesty program, introduced an ordinance outlining a new fee structure for building permits, aimed at closing the budget gap in the money-losing Building Department.
Councilman Jim Fozman said he led a subcommittee of the council that looked into building fees statewide and brought Brick's in line with other municipalities.
"The building department [is] losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and the last time the fees were reviewed was 2005," said Fozman.
The fee hikes will be phased in from July 1 through January 2016.
For example, demolition permits will rise from $100 to $200 between the passage of the ordinance and Jan. 1, 2016. The abandonment of a septic tank will rise from $75 to $150 by the same date, and pool permits for above ground pools will rise from $100 to $200. Similarly, many per-foot building fees will rise, such as a hike from 4 cents per foot to 5 cents per foot for new construction for certain usage groups.
"Permits are good for two years, so if you’re thinking of working on your house three months from now, go now because it’s at the lower cost," said Ducey.
Fozman said the time to raise fees was now.
"The council responded to the needs of the people by not charging people for months after the storm," he said. "It’s been a year and a half of rebuilding and it’s time to keep moving ahead."