Superior City Council may cut some building permit fees
Contractors spoke and Superior city councilors are listening. Members of the council's License and Fees Committee last week approved reducing the cost of some city building fees, some by as much as 75 percent, after contractors complained about t...
Contractors spoke and Superior city councilors are listening.
Members of the council’s License and Fees Committee last week approved reducing the cost of some city building fees, some by as much as 75 percent, after contractors complained about the high cost for permits in Superior.
“We’ve had some comments lately from people who pull permits on how our fees compare to other cities … why they’re higher,” said Public Works Director Jeff Goetzman, noting how contractors said they were paying four times the amount of fees for a project in Superior when compared to similar projects in other communities where they work.
“I think some of these are relatively high,” said Councilor Esther Dalbec.
Among the fees that could be changed is the fire protection and sprinkler fee, which now costs a dime per square foot but could be reduced to 2.5 cents per square foot to align the fee with surrounding communities.
“For some reason, this one came through being way too high,” said Peter Kruit, a building inspector for the city. “We thought it would be appropriate to drop it back.”
Also proposed is changing the commercial remodeling and altering fee from 5 cents per square foot to 2 cents per square foot, and reducing the base fee from $100 to $30 for projects with a value less than $5,000. The $100 base fee would still apply to projects $5,000 or more in value.
Under the existing system, Kruit said, it could cost someone $110 for a permit for a $500 project.
The panel also approved a $100 fee for filing an appeal for one- and two-family dwellings.
While commercial properties are required to pay a filing fee to appeal a building inspection decision, the same requirement wasn’t made for residential properties, which generate most of the appeals, Kruit said.
The committee adopted the appeal fee for residential properties with the condition that those who successfully appeal a decision have the fee refunded to them.
The fee schedule was adopted about 2½ years ago when the city changed its permitting structure from value-based to area-based.
Under the value-based system, the variance in the costs of permits did not reflect the nature of the project or the need for inspections of the projects. A do-it-yourselfer could get a permit based on the value of materials alone while someone who paid a contractor would pay higher permit fees for similar projects because labor was included in the cost.
The full council will consider the changes to the fee schedule at its Tuesday meeting.