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Fenton's Fees for Building and Zoning Services Could Increase

Construction plan reviews for homes, commercial projects might go up; it would be the first changes in Fenton's fee schedule since 2007.

Fenton City Council could soon increase Fenton's fees for services.

Because of the poor economy, the fees haven't changed since 2007, said Brad Hissong, Protective Inspection director. Fenton administrators are being very careful and don't want to have the highest fees, he added.

The cost for construction plan review of a one-family residence could increase from $175 to $250, Hissong said.

For homes, there are many new building codes, he said. There needs to be a certain percentage of LED and fluorescent lighting for energy savings.

"I believe we are being really fair," he said. "We haven't gouged anyone. I've been working on this for quite some time."

Costs for commercial plan reviews also could increase. He spends many hours on commercial plan reviews, Hissong said, examining issues such as barrier-free, structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical requirements.

There's a lot more than meets the eye, he said, and some commercial plan reviews take 15-25 hours, such as a recent one for Hobby Lobby's proposal to move into the building that is temporarily occupying, 15100 Silver Parkway.

Increasing building and zoning fees would help offset the cost paid by taxpayers, Hissong added. With fee increases, the person or company requesting a plan review from the city would pay for it instead of the money coming out of taxes and the city's general fund.

"We were really low in some of the areas, and we've been told that at the front counter," he said. "Some of them couldn't believe the plan review fees."

There are unfinished subdivisions in Fenton, and bond money could be used to complete jobs, Hissong said.

Councilman Les Bland said Fenton needs to have some way to guarantee that roads are completed. The city could set a time limit for it, such as within two years of a project being completed.

Residents at for example are upset at how bad their subdivision's roads are, Bland said.

City Manager Lynn Markland said the city attorney can examine the issue of setting performance bond requirements.

City officials have had several meetings with a homeowners' association, about spreading the cost to finish roads in the subdivision between the properties in the development, Markland said.

A request for a special planning commission meeting is $800. A developer might ask for a special meeting if he or she wants to get going on a project quickly, Hissong said. A special meeting requires extra work for Fenton employees, and the planning commissioners, who are volunteers. Public hearing notices must be sent out, and city employees must be paid overtime to take the minutes (notes) on the meeting.

There's only been one special planning commission meeting in 14 years, he said. There have been requests for them, but Fenton had difficulty getting enough planning commissioners to attend for a vote.

Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King said it's good to have the fee in place for special planning commission meetings. People know they have a deadline to meet, she said.

Mayor Sue Osborn agreed, saying the city has always had a set fee, but now it is more. Fenton needs to ask for the fee, or there would be requests for special meetings all the time, she said.

Josh Latimer September 06, 2012 at 07:17 PM
They have a spending problem not a income problem. More prudence and less taxes/fees
Sean Rosekrans September 06, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Just another way for the City to take more of our money. Budget a little and spend less like the rest of us.
Sean Rosekrans September 07, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I find it hard to believe that more people are not upset by this.
stephanie pytlowanyj September 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
The economy isn't that much better. The fee raises should wait.
J.S September 08, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Maybe the city manager and the other crucial " decision makers" that live in other cities should move to Fenton like the rest of us and feel the wrath of their own actions..
Dibbleville Resident September 08, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Increasing this fee makes sense if the cost of conducting the reviews for the city are greater than the fees charged. User fees such as this one are useful in allocating gov't costs directly to the person who is using them. Mr. Hissong's responsibility is to make sure the cost is as low as possible and the process is an efficient as possible. If both of these criteria have been achieved, then it is perfectly justifiable to raise the fee to its true cost to the city.
Sean Rosekrans September 08, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Sorry but I respectfully disagree. Charging someone to put up a fence or add a deck to a house does not cost the city much. Someone drives buy and OK's it. I ask about building a shed and told I needed a permit which I purchased. Upon further investigation I found that I did not need one as it was less then 200 sq. feet. Extra work digging a rat barrier and paying a fee I was not responsible for. Of course when I ask for my money back I could not get it. I have always been a liberal but too much intrusion by our government is becoming rampant.
Barry September 08, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I still can't believe the cost of sewer and water, this is incredibly high. The City couldnt get some money from elsewhere a grant, something from the federal government? Instead they put a extravagant sewer system in and expect the people of fenton to take on the bill. Then after questions are asked were just told to be quiet and pay the bill? Sounds like we have some lazy people running the City/township that dont want to go though the effort of doing the paper work and legalities. They would rather take the easy route and give us the bill! Poor leadership..what ever happened to taking care of your own?
Dibbleville Resident September 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Sean, for the situation you described, I couldn't agree more. It sounds like the amount of time spent on your project by the city does not justify the fee charged. The challenge here is that a flat fee has been established for all reviews irrespective of the work involved. A variable a fee might bring an element of fairness to the fee structure.
Dibbleville Resident September 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Its not just missing opportunities to secure federal funds for the sewer system. Its also spending $100,000 to hide a pump in someone's front yard because of an engineering mistake.
Sean Rosekrans September 08, 2012 at 08:40 PM
AMEN. I have paid as high as $700 for water and sewage. We can thank Mr. Anglewsi for this mess.

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