Zoning Ordinance Fees – ZTA 2009-017




Planning Commission Worksession to review Board Direction on Zoning Ordinance Fees




Mark Graham




AGENDA DATE:  October 7, 2009


ACTION:             INFORMATION:   X



  ACTION:              INFORMATION:   








The purpose of this work session is to review the County Board of Supervisor’s (Board) direction on staff recommended changes to Zoning Ordinance (“Ordinance”) fees prior to a Planning Commission public hearing.   Proposed changes to fees in the Zoning Ordinance were discussed with the Board at an August 5th worksession and a Resolution of Intent to amend these fees was adopted by the Board on September 2nd.  The August 5th report to the Board and Resolution of Intent are attached. 



Goal 5:  Fund the County’s Future Needs.



At the August 5th Board worksession, staff provided several attachments to help understand the issues with the fees.  Those include:


·                     Attachment B provides a comparison of the current fees and County costs associated with each item.  As noted, many of the fees represent a very small percentage of the costs. 

·                     Attachment C provides a comparison of staff’s proposed fees and the Fee Study’s recommendation. This also includes new fees recommended by the Fee Study or as a result of staff’s analysis.

·                     Attachment D provides a comparison of current fees, staff’s proposed fees, and fees imposed by several other localities for certain services. For consistency, staff has used the same localities as previously used when Subdivision Ordinance fees were considered.

·                     Attachment E provides an estimate of revenues generated from current fees.

·                     Attachment F provides an estimate of revenues generated from staff’s proposed fees. 


As noted at the August 5th worksession, there were several fees considerations where the proposed fees differed from those initially recommended in the fee study.  Those included: 


1.             Special Use Permits (SPs) - In considering SPs, staff determined it was appropriate to simplify the fee structure into two groups.  Minor SPs, which are those uses listed under a.1. and Major SPs, which are all other special permit uses listed under a.2.  In addition, staff determined it was appropriate to recognize that many SPs do not require numerous reviews.  As such, staff recommends a base fee, which includes the submission and resubmission to address comments, then a separate fee for those complex applications that require multiple resubmissions.  Attachment D shows these fees would be lower in some circumstances and higher in others.  Overall, staff believes they are comparable. 

2.                   Zoning Map Amendments (ZMAs) – Staff used a similar approach for ZMAs to that for SPs, recognizing that both larger and more complex applications will involve a higher cost to the County.  Attachment D shows the very wide range of fees for these applications.   In considering these fees, staff determined that it would be more appropriate to charge on a per review basis rather than trying to estimate the average number of reviews and charging everyone the same.  Applicants who view a submittal as a negotiation point can still make a number of submittals, but the County will recover the costs of the additional reviews necessitated by this approach. 

3.                   Appeals – Under the Board of Zoning Appeals and Final Site Plan fees, staff has listed fees associated with appeals.   Staff is recommending a much lower fee recovery than proposed in the Fee Study.  After consulting with the County Attorney, staff believes there may be due process issues associated with these fees and those fees should reflect the administrative cost of processing the application, but not any of the costs associated with reviewing or preparing staff reports for those applications.  Costs associated with required advertising would be handled separately as a new fee.  

4.                   Notices and Advertisements – Staff has included new fees for both required notifications and advertisements. The recommended fee for notifications is identical to that recently adopted in the Subdivision Ordinance.  For required legal advertisements, staff is recommending the County recover the actual cost of advertising the application.  While those advertisement costs can vary a little, they appear to average around $200-$250 each time the advertisement runs in the newspaper. As such, if an application requires two notices for the Planning Commission public hearing and two for the Board of Supervisors public hearing, the cost of advertising is in the range of $800 to $1,000.  If an applicant chooses to request deferral after an advertisement has run, the applicant would be responsible for the additional advertising cost.     

5.                   Architectural Review Board - These are also new fees proposed by staff.  With respect to revisions to a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Appropriateness required for a building permit, staff concurs with the Fees Study’s recommended fee. With respect to Site Plan reviews, staff has simplified the fee structure to include only reviews requested by an applicant or required for a Certificate of Occupancy.  Staff’s recommended fee is a compilation of several fees in the Fee Study, but lower than the Study’s recommendation. The staff-recommended fee reflects staff’s assessment of costs for these reviews and recently proposed changes that staff believes will lower review costs.  



Budget impacts were discussed in the August 5th Executive Summary.  No changes or additional information are included at this time. 



The purpose of this worksession is to review the Board’s direction in advance of a proposed November 10, 2009 public hearing. 



August 5, 2009 Board Executive Summary, with attachments

September 2, 2009 Resolution of Intent to amend Zoning Ordinance Fees

Return to memo