Monday, April 14, 2008

Is a 90% Cut to a Developer's Fee Wise in a Tight Budget Year?

Jim Gotto introduces a bill tomorrow night to cut the fees for applications to make minor changes to "specific plan" districts from $6,195 to $470. According to the Council Office analysis:
The Metropolitan zoning code provides that standardized fee schedules may be established to partially defray the processing and administration costs for zoning applications. Such a fee schedule must be approved by resolution of the council in order to be effective. The existing fee schedule was approved by the council in June 2007 .... This fee was based upon the recommendation of an independent consultant hired by Metro to help defray the full cost of services provided.
Council should consider the merits of some sort of cut to this fee, but why the almost total elimination of it on a zoning change that requires developers to stick to a specific plan that they lay out beforehand? This looks like pandering to developers, who have various options beyond SP if they want more flexibility. I don't see anything in the bill distinguishing "minor changes" from "major changes." The fee as it stands has some credibility given that it was recommended independently and without bias. So, how does Mr. Gotto suggest that Metro recover the application and processing costs (which won't be dropping 90%)?

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