COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Building Regulations Ordinance Amendment, BRTA 2008-1, and

Water Protection Ordinance Amendment, WPTA 2008-2

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Amend fees in Building Regulations and Water Protection ordinances

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Schlothauer, and Brooks

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

August 6, 2008

 

     ACTION:     X          INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

     ACTION:                 INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

In December 2007, staff presented a comprehensive fee study for Community Development to the Board.  (Attachment A)  The study considered all fees currently collected by Community Development and tasks related to reviews and inspections where the County has never collected fees but had the opportunity to charge fees to recover costs.  As part of that presentation, staff included a recommendation that fees generally be set to recover the County’s cost for providing the service and regular adjustments to fees be established to assure the fees maintained parity with the County’s costs over time.  The Board was supportive of the recommendation and indicated a desire to implement revised fees, but expressed an interest in comparing costs to nearby localities as well as the comparison localities used in the fee study. 

 

Following this direction from the December 2007 worksession, Community Development staff presented the Board recommended fee changes for the Building Regulations and Water Protection chapters of the County Code in April 2008, along with listings of comparable fees in neighboring localities. (Attachment B)   Based on this report, the Board directed staff to bring back ordinance amendments that incorporated the recommended fee changes to these two ordinances.     

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 3:  Develop a comprehensive funding strategy/plan to address the County's growing needs.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

The proposed ordinance amendments are provided as Attachments C and D.   Staff notes one change from the fee recommendation presented to the Board in April.   The April report neglected to include revised fees for Zoning inspections under Section 5-207 of the Building Regulations Ordinance.  Two fee amounts in this Section are recommended to be increased from $10 to $15 in the proposed ordinance amendment.   The other changes in the Building Regulations Ordinance are housekeeping items that eliminate an outdated reference to the National Building Code, change the department name from “building code and zoning services” to “community development,” and revise the residential use group to reflect “R-5” rather than “R-4,” in keeping with the current building code. 

 

The amendment to the Water Protection Ordinance also proposes to add and amend several definitions and provides for variances to plans.  Variances are allowed under the State Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations for the purpose of modifying measures to fit particular site conditions, but the Water Protection Ordinance has never implemented fees to capture the cost of variance reviews. To address this, a new definition was added and sections 17-204 and 17-208 were revised to recognize variances.  Next, the definitions for an amendment to a plan and reinspection were revised to remove uncertainty as to when the County charges the fee.  A definition for a plan review was also added as the fee for plan reviews will be charged per review.  Finally, the definition of a stormwater management/BMP plan was revised to reflect variances and mitigation plans.  

 

Staff notes that with approval of the two ordinances, we will proceed to work on revising the fees in the Subdivision and Zoning ordinances to be brought back to the Board at an upcoming meeting.  A Board worksession on the Subdivision ordinance will be the first step. 

 

Staff anticipates immediately implementing the proposed fees and has already advised the public of the changes.  If the Board desires to modify any of the proposed fees, staff recommends deferring the implementation of the ordinance amendments to September 1, 2008.  This will provide staff time to adjust applications and advise the public.  Alternative ordinance language with a deferred implementation date will be available for the Board at the meeting, if needed.    

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

As noted in the April 9th Executive Summary, the proposed fee changes are anticipated to increase County revenues by $380,000 in FY 08/09, which assumes permit fees will be at 80% of an average year.  In the future, it is anticipated the proposed fees would increase to $480,000 per year in an average year.  Based on previous review of these proposed fee increases, the Board authorized and staff proceeded with filling two additional staff positions that were previously frozen due to the overall budget shortfall.  

 

Staff also intends to implement biennial fee adjustments, using the County’s merit pool rate increase as the basis for fee adjustments.  The fee study noted that approximately 80% of the County’s costs for reviews and inspections are associated with salaries.  .  

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends:

  1. The Board adopt the Building Regulations Ordinance as provided in Attachment C.
  2. The Board adopt the Water Protection Ordinance as provided in Attachment D. 
  3. The Board direct staff to process biennial fee adjustments using the County’s merit pool percentages for the two years as a basis for adjusting fees.     

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

A – December 5, 2007 Executive Summary

B – April 9,2008 Executive Summary

C – Building Regulations Ordinance Amendment

D – Water Protection Ordinance Amendment

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