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Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Pasco County raises building fees

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Developers could be paying thousands of dollars more for permits and inspections beginning next month in Pasco County, but you won’t hear them complaining. On the contrary, they’re practically begging for it.

Some permit fees will double or triple. In a few cases, such as subdivision reviews, the fees will increase nearly tenfold. Zoning Administrator Carol Clarke outlined the new fee schedule last week during a county commissioners’ workshop. She said the extra revenue will pay for more staffing and technology to speed up the county’s review process.

Pat Gassaway, president of Heidt Design, said developers would rather pay higher permit fees to get faster service.

“I know it sounds weird that we’re begging to pay more, but you’re hearing why,” Gassaway said. “The idea of going from $1,800 to $18,500 for a subdivision review — I understand you might be apprehensive about that, but you’re within pennies of what we’d pay if we were going south of the county line.”

The site plan review for a large shopping center such as Cypress Creek Town Center would go from $3,300 to $15,000. A site inspection for a large subdivision (more than 100 lots) would go from $480 to $4,000.

“That is right on par with what other counties charge,” Clarke said.

The county also will start charging for environmental reviews, street naming, transportation studies and staff meetings — all services the planning department now provides at no cost. Commissioner Ted Schrader said it’s not fair for county taxpayers to subsidize those services for developers.

Jennifer Doerfel, executive director of the Tampa Bay Builders Association, said developers support the new fees because they will speed up the government’s reviews of new projects. “We are willing to pay a fair fee for a satisfactory level of service,” she said. “Right now, (Pasco) Development Services is not competitive with other areas of the region.”

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the new fees Aug. 19. “We would like to have it effective the next day,” Clarke said.

lkinsler@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1852

Twitter @LKinslerTBO

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